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Kelloggsville voters to decide sinking fund request

Parents attending a Family Night in February at Kelloggsville High School were greeted near the entrance by East Elementary Principal Jeremy Palmitier and Early Childhood Learning Special Education Director Kim Stevens.

Both were on hand to make sure those attending got a copy of a brochure explaining the district’s upcoming 1.0-mill sinking fund request.

The brochure notes that if approved, the May 5 request would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about 96 cents a week, and would allow the district to fund a long list of already-identified projects without borrowing or paying long-term interest debt. The total of the sinking fund will be approximately $4.2 million, including some $370,000 annually at the beginning, and growing to around $450,000 annually by the tenth year.

Eric Alcorn, auxiliary services director, notes that a sinking fund cannot be used for operating expenses such as salaries and benefits, textbooks or routine building maintenance, but can be used for renovations and repairs to existing buildings, as well as safety and security upgrades.

Projects identified include new carpeting, playground upgrades, parking lot resurfacing and new roofs. Still, says Alcorn, there is a significant value to the planned projects.

More Than Just Cosmetic Improvements

“New carpets, roofs and parking lots may appear to be only cosmetic improvements,” he says, “but there is more to it. The improvements will bring equity to all of our buildings. Several of our playgrounds are dated and in need of repair, so we have an opportunity to provide safe playgrounds with current equipment that students will enjoy playing on. And the structural improvements of our buildings will help minimize substantial costs associated with larger repairs if left unattended. That leaves more room in the budget for additional services and programs for our students. We have an opportunity to provide the best possible learning we can for our students.”

Improvement Timeline

West Elementary (Year 1)
New carpet
Playground upgrades
Parking lot resurfacing

Southeast Elementary (Years 2-3)
Playground upgrades
Parking lot – creating bus loop
Classroom remodel 

Early Childhood Learning Center, Southeast Elementary, High School (Year 4)
Parking lot – ECLC
Remodel – SE
Parking lot – HS west lot

Middle School, Southeast Elementary, Bus Garage (Year 5)
Roof – SE
Roof – MS
Asphalt – Bus Garage

Middle School (Year 6)
Roof – D wing/Tower/Cafe/Office

High School, Administrative Building (Year 7)
Roof – HS
Parking lot – Admin

Early Childhood Learning Center, Southeast Elementary (Year 8)
Roof – ECLC
Roof (remaining) – SE

54th Street Academy, District Wide (Year 9)
Roof – 54th Street
Classroom Updates – district-wide

54th Street Academy, District Wide (Year 10)
Parking Lot – 54th Street
Classrooms – district-wide

Eric Schilthuis is the principal of West Kelloggsville Elementary, in line the first year for new carpet, lockers, playground upgrades and parking lot resurfacing.

Each improvement, he says, will make a difference.

“The new playground will allow for much better supervision, keeping our students safer. New carpet and paint gives a much needed facelift to the inside of the building, freshening up the classrooms and hallways.”

Southeast Elementary principal Kelly Farkas agrees.

“Here at Southeast Kelloggsville,” she says, “part of the plan is to make a separate bus loop for drop-off and pick-up. This will ensure a much safer area for the students to get on and off the bus. And the last time anyone recalls getting new playgroup equipment was in the late 90s, so it’s much needed! Without the support of our voters, these improvements will not be possible.”

Election Info-graphic

If approved on May 5, the request would mean about 96 cents a week for a $100,000 home but would allow the district to fund a long list of already-identified projects without borrowing or paying long term interest debt

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Phil de Haan
Phil de Haan
Phil de Haan covers East Grand Rapids and Kelloggsville and is the lead reporter for Grand Rapids. He hails from Exeter, Ontario (but has called Grand Rapids home since 1985) and is the son of a longtime public school teacher who taught both English and machine shop. Phil took both classes at South Huron District High School, but English stuck, and at Calvin College, where he met his wife, Sue, he majored in English and minored in journalism. His background includes both journalism and public relations, including teaching an advertising and PR course at the college level for almost a decade. In the summer of 2019, he began his own writing and communications business, de Haan Communications. In his spare time, Phil plays pick-up hockey and pickleball and tries to keep tabs on his two adult children. Read Phil's full bio


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