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Cedar Springs Public Schools Bond Proposal

From Cedar Springs Public Schools

It has been nearly twenty years since voters in the Cedar Springs Public Schools community passed a bond to support significant building improvements. The District is asking the community to vote on a school bond proposal in an election to be held on August 4, 2020. 

Rather than increasing taxes, the District is asking voters to approve a bond proposal that would extend the District’s current tax levy of 7.0 mills through 2036. After that, the tax levy would decline steadily through 2052. The sale of these bonds would generate $68,000,000 for improvements to each school impacting every student. The cost of the new proposal is 16 percent less than the proposal that failed in November 2019.

If voters approve the bond proposal, there would be no expected tax rate increase for property owners. Based on county tax records, property values in Cedar Springs have increased consistently over time.  

“As long as this historical trend continues, the millage rate would remain capped at 7 mills to pay off these new bonds,” according to Scott Smith, Cedar Springs Superintendent.  

 “We don’t expect a tax rate increase because we don’t expect property values to decline in Cedar Springs,” continued Smith. “I can’t promise that the tax rate won’t ever increase because I can’t look into the future of property values in our community. This wording is simply the most honest language we can use for our voters.” 

Typically, an investment in school facilities makes a community more attractive to families which results in an increase in property values. Some districts choose to say, “this bond will not increase your taxes.” According to Smith, “that statement is simply not true if the property values within a community decrease.” 

Safety and security at each of the schools will be enhanced if this proposal passes in August. The District will construct secure building entrances at schools that currently do not have them. It will also make improvements to the traffic flow, parking, and sidewalks at select locations on campus for safety and increased circulation of people and vehicles.

The proposal on the ballot allows the District to invest in capital improvements needed in each building. Proposed projects include the replacement of boilers, unit ventilators, roofing, and carpeting as needed, to extend the useful life of facilities. It will also provide energy efficient climate-control systems including air conditioning for each classroom to keep students cool when it is hot outside and warm when it is cold outside. 

Overcrowding at the High School would be addressed through an addition of 12 classrooms and other support spaces.  The District is not asking voters to approve a new school for our 8th and 9th graders like it did back in November. The existing 1960s academic wings at Beach would be replaced with new classrooms as they have outlived their useful lives. Lastly, the District would use bond funds to replace outdated educational technology.

While the District does not have a long-term use plan for the Hilltop Administration Building, it is committed to being creative in its efforts to find a cost-effective solution for that building that adds value to the District and the community.

To learn more about the August 4th bond proposal, please  visit the CSPS website at csredhawks.org, attend one of their upcoming virtual community forums through zoom (see calendar on their website), or email Scott Smith, Superintendent of Schools directly at scott.smith@csredhawks.org. 

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Kent County Credit Union
Ray Winnie


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