The Purpose of Bond 2013
Curt Theune, Trustee
October 10, 2013
Dear SLPS Community Members,
I write to you to discuss the purpose of Bond 2013...
Spring Lake Public Schools is a huge asset to our community. In 2012, the State of Michigan listed Spring Lake among its top ten public school districts. In survey after survey, community members describe Spring Lake Public Schools as “first-class,” “top-notch,” “excellent,” “phenomenal.” As alumni, current students, parents, relatives, and neighbors know, Spring Lake Public Schools provides an array of pleasurable opportunities for all. From presentations and plays to concerts and athletic events, the community is treated again and again to the tremendous achievements of Spring Lake’s students. Even those with little direct involvement with Spring Lake Public Schools benefit from such district-wide accomplishments: because Spring Lake is an academic destination for families, property values go up.
However, excellence cannot be maintained without stewardship. While Spring Lake Public Schools is blessed with excellent students, staff, and current community support, the same cannot be said regarding all of the district’s buildings, infrastructure, technology, and transportation. Bond 2013 will address needs in these areas by:
- creating a new elementary school campus that puts the two K-4 buildings under one roof and so creates equity for, and allows for collaboration among, all current and future elementary students and staff, and results in savings in annual operating costs in the range of $175,000, conservatively;
- providing for facilities and site upgrades, with the intermediate and middle schools seeing the most infrastructure improvements to practicality, energy efficiency, and safety;
- allowing for enhancements of learning stations and safety at the high school;
- building a new athletic complex with Grabinski Field, Hickman Field, Wanrooy Field, and the Hall Cross-Country Course re-established at the current location of the high school;
- making technology a part of every classroom, K-12, to prepare students to communicate and compete in today’s world; and
- replacing 10 buses, each of which is over 15 years old and has over 200,000 miles, helping to ensure students’ safety.
Bonds cannot be used to fund salaries, operational costs, or classroom materials.
Some of you have asked, “Why are we asking for all of these projects at once? These improvements throughout the district are huge undertakings with a large financial price tag.” The reason is simple: the School Bond Loan Fund makes funding these projects practical and fiscally responsible, but we must access these funds now. Years ago, the State of Michigan created the School Bond Loan Fund; however, in December, 2012, the state legislature capped this fund at $1.8 billion. $1.5 billion already has been provided to other school districts on a first come, first served basis. Thus, as districts throughout the State of Michigan explore their needs, Election Day (November 5, 2013) becomes critical to allow Spring Lake Public Schools to be part of the School Bond Loan Fund.
This Loan Fund allows the $59.8 million Bond 2013 project to be possible with a minimal increase of .569 mill to the current millage rate. This means that for a house with a home market value of $200,000 the additional cost per year would be just $57. However, if we do not provide Spring Lake Public Schools the opportunity to participate in the School Bond Loan Fund, this same project would require a 4.97 mills increase—over 8.5 times higher—and the cost for that homeowner would be $484.50…over $400 dollars more per year. Obviously, the increase from .569 mill to 4.97 mills would be an extreme burden for our community. Decisions must be made now.
The Spring Lake community expects educational excellence, but expectations require commitment from students, staff, and the community. The staff and students of Spring Lake Public Schools have done tremendous work with given resources. But the future brings with it new challenges and demands. We members of the community must provide 21st-century learning environments and facilities to help our students and staff continue to excel, to strive for their fullest potential. Bond 2013 is resource-rich and cost-effective.
I hope you will contact me or any one of the SLPS board members, staff, or community advocacy team members if you have any questions about Bond 2013.
Curt A. Theune
Member, Spring Lake Public Schools Board
Parent of Spring Lake Intermediate and Jeffers Students
Proud Laker Alumnus