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Tag Archive | "school board"

Pull together for our kids


Post Scripts NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.


 

Pull together for our kids

So I went to the school board meeting last week and have to say, I left there deeply saddened. What happened to a community that pulls together to help each other? Not a single one of us can say that we have never done anything wrong or made a poor choice. That’s why God gives us forgiveness and compassion. We need to put aside whatever wrongs we each think happened and pull together as a community for our kids! We need to move forward with caring hearts instead of tearing each other down. It was so sad to sit there through that meeting and hear everyone talking against each other. You could literally feel the line of tension between each side. There should not be any sides—only all of us working together for the betterment of our children!

Sue Norton, Cedar Springs

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School board votes to privatize transportation


CSPS-logo-vertical

By Judy Reed

The buses transporting students to school next year will still say Cedar Springs Public Schools; the drivers will still be the same familiar faces; the supervisor and dispatcher will be the same; and the buses will be housed at the same bus garage. What will be different is that the buses will no longer belong to and employees will no longer work for Cedar Springs Public Schools. Ownership will shift to Dean’s Transportation, after the Cedar Springs Board of Education voted 6-1 Monday evening to privatize transportation and to go with Dean’s.

The one lone no vote came from board member Ted Sabinas, who said he had too many concerns. “Once we make that decision there will be no turning back—ever. We will never be able to buy buses again,” he explained.

Last year Excel Consultants did a transportation study and recommended the school district sell some of their old buses and compare what the cost would be to privatize versus keeping it in-house. In the end, they chose Dean’s, after the majority of the bus drivers decided that’s what they wanted to do.

The Cedar Springs 2016/2017 Transportation Budget is $2,943,208, The 2017/2018 Transportation Budget is set at $3,683,314, which includes six new buses and two mechanics instead of just one, because they cannot keep up with the repairs.

The proposed budget from Dean’s will be $1,774,274, without fuel. The school will still be responsible for the fuel ($270,000) and payments to other schools ($1,146,000), for a total of  $3,190,274. That’s a savings of $493,040.

Dean’s will also purchase their bus fleet at blue book value, which causes a one-time infusion into the budget of $638,600. Between the savings and the purchase of the bus fleet, the school would see a financial impact of $1,132,640.

Dean’s will automatically replace nine buses next year that are past their prime.

“Let’s look at the safety of the students,” said board member Patricia Eary. “The average age of a bus is 12-1/2 years old. Our oldest bus is 22 years old. Who drives a 22-year-old bus?” she remarked.

Bus drivers met with administration and with Dean’s before voting on the issue. Sabinas asked driver Becca Fisk, who spoke on behalf of the drivers, if there was more than one vote held. Both she and Supt. VanDuyn said no. Sabinas had tried to attend one of the meetings, but was denied entrance.

“Some of the drivers were uncomfortable about you being at the meeting,” VanDuyn told Sabinas. She noted that his truck was still parked there in the lot, and some of the drivers felt like they were “being stalked.”

Board VP Brooke Nichols then asked that they stick to the agenda.

Fisk explained the procedure they took of voting by paper ballot, and that there were 16 yes votes, 3 no, and 2 undecided. She also knew of a couple people that weren’t at the meeting who said they would be leaving.

One person told the Post she knew of nine drivers that wouldn’t be back.

“”It is not ideal for every transportation employee but rather the great majority; hence their request to privatize. We regret any employee will leave our CSPS if it was not of their choosing,” said VanDuyn, in a letter to parents in the district. “We value every employee and the time they each have served here.”

Dean’s said they will hire the drivers and requested a letter of recommendation from the school district for them. CS drivers will have super seniority, which means that another driver from Dean’s who drives for another district but has more seniority won’t be able to bump them. They will also have the opportunity for more hours with Dean’s.

Cedar Springs transportation has been short staffed for several years, and going with Dean’s will also alleviate that problem. “With our recruiting practices, we have better resources to fill those shortages as soon as possible,” said Kelly Dean, owner of Dean’s Transportation.

Dean’s has transported Cedar Springs special education students for several years, and other area districts use them, including Sparta and Tri County.

The board will vote on the contract with Dean’s Transportation at their next meeting on May 22.

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January is School Board Recognition Month


 

As citizen leaders, individual school board members face complex and demanding challenges. They are alternately described as having the most important volunteer jobs in the country and facing the toughest challenge in elected American government. Yet school board members are just ordinary citizens with extraordinary dedication to our nation’s public schools. All Michigan citizens should recognize the vital contributions of these men and women and the crucial role they play in the education of our children.

The month of January marks the annual observance of School Board Recognition Month. This is a time to show our appreciation and begin to better understand how local trustees work together to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. In January, join with others from throughout our district and state to salute the men and women who provide grassroots governance of public schools.

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Year in Review: School board takes heat


Heidi Reed is one of two new faces on the Cedar Springs Board of Education this year.

Heidi Reed is one of two new faces on the Cedar Springs Board of Education this year.

Ted Sabinas is one of two new faces on the Cedar Springs Board of Education this year.

Ted Sabinas is one of two new faces on the Cedar Springs Board of Education this year.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education was under fire this year as many school staff members and residents took to the podium at school board meetings and wrote letters to the Post asking why four administrators had left since Supt. VanDuyn took over and expressing displeasure at the way certain matters were being handled by the board and administration. Many other residents and school staff took the opposite view, and said that they were supportive of the changes happening in the district.

Overflowing attendance at board meetings became the norm, as people on both sides of the issue yearned to have their voice heard.

The administrators in question had all resigned. Then two more administrators—elementary principals Andy Secor and Ken See—left last summer.

Later in the summer, the board released the Rehmann Report, a forensic audit that appeared to be targeted mainly at the athletic department. The forensic audit into record keeping in the athletic department at Cedar Springs Public Schools did not show any intentional misuse of funds or fraud, but did show that the district needs to have stricter policies and procedures on procurement cards and ensuring employees have the guidelines on how to use them. The report stated that they did not note any purchases under former Athletic Director Autumn Mattson that were inherently inappropriate.

“The investigation was a reflection of concerns brought to us about athletic accounts,” explained Dr. Laura VanDuyn, Superintendent at Cedar Springs Public Schools. “When several concerns mounted, the board decided to go ahead with the investigation. We are accountable to the community, staff, and parents. We are stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

Things got even more heated as the school board election campaign got underway. Incumbent Jeff Gust decided not to run again. Challengers Ted Sabinas (a former teacher and track coach) and Mistie Bowser campaigned together for two seats, and while challenger Heidi Reed and incumbent Joe Marckini campaigned separately, they were often promoted together by those writing letters to the editor. So it appeared there were two camps—Sabinas and Bowser (who questioned changes), and Reed and Marckini (who supported current administration). (A fifth candidate, Rita Reimbold, dropped out, saying she didn’t want to run against Marckini.) The election results showed, however, that it wasn’t quite so simple. Sabinas won his seat with 3,789 votes, and Reed won the second seat, with 3,602 votes. Bowser came in third with 2,789, and Marckini fourth, with 2,366.

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Thank you


Thank you to everyone that worked tirelessly with me throughout the campaign for Cedar Springs School Board. I was surrounded by the most dedicated, creative and collaborative people that are all for #kidsfirst. That support was key to the success of the campaign. My family and I have gained friends and faith throughout this endeavor. I am humbled by the kind words and confidence from the public.

Heidi Reed

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From the Board of Education


 

Dear CSPS Staff & Families:

Fall:  cooler nights, crisp air, colorful leaves, apples, cider, pumpkins, and a host of other things which hopefully signify fond memories of the season for you.   Your child has settled into a familiar routine of attending school and being involved in related activities.  Just as your child is learning new things in class every day, we as adults should also be learning something new every day.  We have staff members who are learning about Responsive Classrooms, the new math curriculum or attending college classes to further their education.  Education never ends.  Your school board members are also taking classes to increase their knowledge of their job as a member of the school board.

The Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) offers many classes for our Board members.  By taking classes and being involved in certain activities, Board members can receive credits which are applied to seven different levels of Certification/Awards.  Three of our Board members have completed Levels 2 or 3.  Board trustee Joe Marckini has completed Level  6 and is very close to completing the highest achievement of Level  7, the President’s Award of Recognition.  He has also received the Advocacy Skills Specialty Certificate and the Data Specialty Certificate from MASB.   Joe has spent thousands of hours in consistently increasing his knowledge as a school board member.  The education he has received continues to be an asset to the Cedar Springs’ School District.

Joe has served faithfully on the Board since 2007.  He has advocated on the local, state and national level on behalf of all CSPS students to get their educational needs met.  He has continued to push for  free early-childhood education and that a STREAM (Science, Technology, wRiting, Engineering, Arts, Math) education is a necessity for our students.  Joe has gone to Lansing and Washington DC several times to advise our legislators that they are not meeting the needs of the students of Cedar Springs.  We should all thank Joe Marckini for all he has done and will do for the students of Cedar Springs.   Congratulations on your achievements and passion with regards to the students of Cedar Springs Public Schools!

Sincerely, Patricia Eary, 

CSPS Board of Education President

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Another vote for Reed and Marckini


NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.

 


 

 

Another vote for Reed and Marckini

Dear Community Members of Cedar Springs,

I am voting for Heidi Reed and Joe Marckini because I believe in healthy change and district advancement. We all want Cedar Springs Public Schools to grow and for our students to succeed. Change is essential for growth.

I am the daughter of David and Heather Wolfe. Both of my parents were born and raised in Cedar Springs and graduated from Cedar Springs Public Schools. I was born and raised in Cedar Springs and also graduated from Cedar Springs Public Schools. I love our district, and am proud to be a lifetime Red Hawk. I want to see our district succeed, and the election of our board members is a key component to that success.

The Michigan Association of School Boards outlines Indicators of Effective Board Members. Heidi Reed and Joe Marckini possess all of the traits valued by the association. They both have decades of experience collaborating with people of all different backgrounds and viewpoints. Our district thirsts for additional board members who are willing and able to work well with others.

Heidi Reed is focused on staff morale and student achievement. She is an advocate for curriculum that supports children of all learning styles and backgrounds. She is an active community member and can be found at nearly all fundraisers and events within our community. Heidi has seen the issues our community faces first hand, and will use her voice to ask questions consistent with the present issues.  She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, and will be a warrior for our school board.

I am excited about the direction our district is heading. I choose to look forward, and think positively about our district’s future. I choose to believe in, and support our leadership. Cedar Springs Public Schools’ students deserve the best.

Please join me in voting to make kids our district’s top priority by voting Heidi Reed and Joe Marckini.

Bayley Wolfe, Nelson Township

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Familiarity can be dangerous


NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

 

Familiarity can be dangerous

John Mellencamp’s song, Small Town, is now 30 years old. It’s strange to think that I’ve spent more than half that time as a coach, teacher, minister, friend, and family member here in this “small town.”

I’ve sung it many times myself, “I can breathe in a small town.” And this town, with all of its “big sky,” as a friend of mine says, is still a great place to live, work, and play.

But I’ve seen it all in a small town.” That’s a line one could hear in any town USA. More recently in this town, some have felt emboldened to proclaim that line in protest. We’ve become a community of division, dishonesty, suspicion, and spite. Indeed, we need unity, integrity, togetherness, and support. That is why school board elections are so important.

As a business owner, I know that the longer one is a client of mine, the less they know about what I do. Whether familiarity or comfort, I need to remind them often of the scope of my practice for the same reason I tell my wife and kids that I love them. Familiarity can become dangerous. Being comfortable with personnel and systems and objects so woven into our daily routine can make most things invisible. It takes a wise friend to uncover the blind spots—lack of skill for a position, ineffective procedures, or character trumped by convenience.

We are a community standing at a precipice where the “sky is big” but the bottom is one misstep away. Having consistent, balanced, and engaged leadership, better financial focus, and community centeredness through true collaboration are critical. I believe Heidi Reed represents these commitments. Returning to the “glory days” is always a mirage. Instead, let’s create something strong and pioneering, the basis for building an educational legacy for years to come. That is something worth voting for, and maybe one day worth writing a song about.

In the chorus Mellencamp says, “I cannot forget the people who love me.” This small town would do well to join that chorus, and remember Heidi Reed on Election Day.

Chad Wight, Courtland Township

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We owe positive change to school board


NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

 

We owe positive change to school board

My sons received an excellent education at Cedar Springs Schools. Even though they graduated several years ago, I still attend school board meetings to keep abreast of the strides our district is making. There are so many things happening which are benefitting all our children. The district is moving in a positive direction and we owe much of that change to our school board. Children are always the first consideration when our board members make decisions.

I have great pride in knowing the Cedar Springs School district has high standards and is very passionate about the education of our students. With such a responsibility, it is important to carefully vote for candidates who will continue to help improve our educational system. This is exactly why I believe Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed are the perfect choices for Cedar Springs School Board. On November 8, make the right decision and vote for our students—vote for Joe and Heidi.

Sally Smith, Nelson Township

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Marckini and Reed the best candidates


NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

 

Marckini and Reed the best candidates

I am fairly new to the Cedar Springs area. Prior to this summer, I knew nothing about ANY of the School Board candidates. I was a relatively blank slate.  I recognized that I needed more information, so I researched the candidates and the politics surrounding the School Board.

As part of my research, I attended two Sabinas & Bowser Meet & Greet events.  I had hoped to hear them speak about their student centered vision.  Instead, I heard Ms. Bowser & Mr. Sabinas misrepresent information regarding district finances and the administration.

The outcome of this election will have a direct impact on my child’s/our children’s education and future.

Therefore, I want to share with you the truthful FACTS I have learned from my research.

Sabinas & Boswer False Statement:  Between January and August 2016, 55 Staff have left.

Truth:  I have reviewed every BOE Minutes from January through August 2016, and have identified only 53 names that have gone before the board. Of those 53, 6 were internal moves, and still employed by the district, while 7 were temporary positions and/or coaches. The remaining 40 names I have categorized for analysis.

Licensed Staff – 6 (15%); Certified Teachers -7 (18%); Non-Certified Roles -16 (43%); Retirees -11(28%)

As you can see, the actual number of TEACHERS who have left the district is 7.  ONLY 7!

Sabinas & Bowser False Statement: The Board does not meet with community members.

Truth:  Mr. Sabinas sent an email to the board, and requested a meeting with each board member.  However, it is a violation of the Open Meetings Act for board members to individually meet with the same person on one issue.

For additional examples how they have misrepresented the facts, including “Where is the 1.3 Million over budget”, please email CedarVote@gmail.com with subject line – Post Article.

My research has proven to me that Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed are BY FAR the best candidates for our children, our school board, and our community!

Please vote for Joe Marckini and Heidi Reed on November 8th!

Thank you, Linda Keim, Nelson Township

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