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Upcoming Election Filled with School Board Candidates, Tax Requests

Get ready to vote. All 20 public school districts in the Kent ISD are having school board elections on Tuesday, Nov. 4, and several seek tax renewals.

Though in a majority of districts school board candidates are running unopposed, eight districts are seeing races for contested seats.

For those contested elections, we’ve provided links to information on the candidates, either from the MLive Media Group Voter Guide or the districts’ own web sites.

Five districts also are asking for renewals of their non-homestead operating millages. This is a property tax on land and buildings, such as businesses and vacation homes, which are not voters’ primary residence. Proposal A, a school-funding reform package approved by state voters in 1994, authorized school districts to levy a non-homestead tax of 18 mills. Approval of these renewal requests will not raise voters’ current tax rates.

Here is a breakdown of the Nov. 4 ballots for all 20 Kent ISD districts, which will elect those who run the districts and help pay for their ongoing operations.

Byron Center (contested)
Five candidates are running for three, four-year terms: incumbents Bruce Dennett, Jason Pierson and Chris Shride, and challengers Chuck Fedewa and Karina Weider.

Candidate profiles

Caledonia (contested)
Incumbents Mike LoMonaco and Marcy White are seeking re-election to two, four-year terms. Candidates Jody Avery and Chris Behm seek one, six-year term.

Candidate profiles

Cedar Springs
Incumbents Shannon Vanderhyde and Matt Shoffner and interim board appointee Michelle Bayink are seeking three, six-year terms.

The district seeks a non-homestead tax renewal of 18 mills from 2015 through 2024, estimated to generate $2 million in 2015 for classroom operating purposes.

Comstock Park
Incumbents Terry Benjamin, Michael Brown, Kevin McLellan and Ted Spangenberg are running unopposed for four, four-year terms.

East Grand Rapids
Incumbents Natalie Bernecker and Bob Wolford and write-in candidate Brian Coles are unopposed for three, four-year seats. Mark Hessler is unopposed for one, two-year partial term.

Forest Hills
Incumbents Martha Atwater and Susan Lenhardt seek re-election to two-year terms, and incumbents Walter (Chip) Perschbacher III and Michael Seekell seek two, six-year slots.

Godfrey Lee (contested)
Incumbents Robert Baker Jr. and Tammy Schafer face challengers David Blok, Josephine Coleman, Reta Hendriksen and John Ter Beek for three, six-year seats.

Candidate profiles

Voters will also be asked to renew a 19.5-millage rate levy on all non-homestead property through 2025. However, 1.5 mills of that are only available to restore millage lost as a result of a reduction required by the Headlee amendment. The 18-mill levy would bring in approximately $810,000 for operating purposes in 2016.

Godwin Heights
Incumbents seeking re-election are Kenneth Hornecker and Allen Johnston for six-year terms; Kathryn Crow DeYoung and David Drake for four-year terms; and Lee Ann Platschorre for a two-year partial term.

Grand Rapids (contested)
Seven candidates seek five, six-year terms: incumbents Tony Baker, Wendy Falb, John Matias and Maureen Slade face challengers Jose Flores, Jamie Scripps and Milinda Ysasi.

Candidate profiles

Grandville (contested)
Incumbents Robert Blitchok and Barbara Palmer and challengers Michael Moll and Bob Persky seek three, six-year terms.

Candidate profiles

Kelloggsville (contested)
Incumbents Tim Pomorski, Crystal Reidzans and Laura Tanis and challenger Marie Groters seek three, six-year terms.

Candidate profiles

Kenowa Hills
Incumbents Matthew Rettig and Stan Truskoski and write-in candidate Daniel Stockel seek three, six-year terms.

Kent City
Incumbents Rick Stockhill and Dan Winell and candidate Robert Sarachman seek three, six-year terms.

Incumbents Peter Battey, Brian McKenzie and Sandy Theisen are unopposed for three, six-year seats.

Incumbents Gary Blough, Patrick Nugent and James Turner seek three, four-year terms.

Northview (contested)
Incumbents Tim Detwiler and Douglas LaFleur and challenger Scott Kohsel seek two, six-year terms. Candidates Michelle Gallery, Michael Henshaw and Jeff Lambert seek two, four-year terms.

Candidate profiles

The district is asking voters for a non-homestead tax renewal of 18 mills from 2016 through 2027. It would generate approximately $3 million in 2015 for general classroom operations.

Three incumbents seek re-election to three, four-year terms: David Keller, Timothy Lewis and Miles Postema.

The district is asking voters for a non-homestead tax renewal of 18 mills from 2015 through 2018. It would generate approximately $5 million in 2015 for classroom operations.

Sparta (contested)
Incumbents Kim Eluskie, James Kerby and Pamela May and challenger Callie Melton seek three, six-year terms.

Candidate profiles

Thornapple Kellogg
Incumbents David Smith and Anne Hamming and candidate Kristen Cove seek three, six-year terms.

The district is asking voters for a non-homestead tax renewal of 18 mills from 2015 through 2024. It would generate approximately $2.2 million in 2015 for classroom operations.

Incumbents Mary Vandewater and Craig Popma and newcomer Paul Huizinga are running unopposed for three, six-year terms.


A guide to all Kent County school and municipal elections

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