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Categorized | Post Scripts

School bond proposal vague on how money will be spent

I received my absentee ballot two days ago. The bond asks for $81 million but the plan for the money (on the ballot) is very vague. Case in point: the third bullet statement on the ballot talks about athletic facilities. It starts out by saying the money can go to “constructing” athletic facilities. Many types of buildings can be an “athletic facility.” Is it a soccer field, an indoor pool, a stadium? Remember it is what is on the ballot that will limit them for the next 30 years. What the current leadership tells you in the town halls is not legally binding—what is on the ballot is! Labeling something an “Athletic Facility” can mean a soccer field, or a stadium the size of Michigan’s “Big House,” an indoor pool—they get to decide. As a voter I want to decide but that is not the way the ballot is written. It is not just the third bullet down. The entire ballot is written very broad. Looking at it, it feels like we are giving the school 30 years’ worth of money and authority for them to “fill in the blank” with what they want to do with it. 

In the past when given this kind of authority, the school has built without a plan to maintain (or enough money to maintain) and came back to the voters for more money. The sinking fund of 2012 is a perfect example of this. I would encourage everyone to vote no and make the board go back and put SPECIFIC language on the ballot for what the money is for, and have us vote again. If you want the bond, ok—but let’s get a specific plan with specific language on the ballot. An example would be “add an addition of X number of rooms to Beach elementary for X amount of dollars” not “build new facilities.” Do not give them a blank check. Vote no and ask them to give us a better plan.

Charlie Towns

City of Cedar Springs

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