- Sponsorship -

District approves $68 million bond by 12 votes

Planning moves forward on high school renovation

Voters narrowly approved — with 2,371 yes and 2,359 no votes — a $68 million bond issue Tuesday to fund district-wide building improvements.  

Now the district will move forward on preparing for construction of 12 new classrooms at Cedar Springs High School, part of a $15.49 million project, with plans to break ground in March or April, said Superintendent Scott Smith. The high school addition is to be completed in two phases and also includes a new multipurpose room, cafeteria, counseling center additions and other projects.

The 30-year bond will pay for improvements at all six school buildings, as well as better security and safety, and updated educational technology. The biggest ticket project is $27.1 million in construction and renovation at Beach Elementary, slated to begin in spring of 2022.

“The most important thing it does is it really helps us take care of the long-term needs of buildings to extend their livelihood,” said Superintendent Scott Smith. “This bond is going to get us set as far as major projects and investments go for 10 to 15 years at a minimum, which is exciting.”

The bond is not expected to cause a net tax rate increase over the current 7 mills, but would extend the rate for 18 years.

It’s been nearly 20 years since the district passed a bond to support significant building improvements. 

A Successful Second Attempt

The bond is a scaled-back version of an $81.15 million proposal that was defeated by voters last November, and which would have increased the tax rate by about 0.90 mills. That proposal was revised after officials took surveys and held forums with parents, community members and staff. It drops the previous proposal’s plan for a new eighth-ninth grade building. 

Smith said 800 more voters cast yes votes this time around, even amidst a global pandemic.  The November request failed with 1,502 yes and 1,935 no votes.

“It’s humbling. We are so thankful that over 2,400 residents rallied and demonstrated their support of the district by casting yes votes,” he said. “It’s a great indicator that our community is unified in support of the district.”

The bond will also fund projects including:

  • Capital improvements such as new boilers and roofing, and upgraded mechanical and management systems to increase energy efficiency; 
  • Constructing secure entrances at schools that don’t have them, and improving traffic flow, parking and sidewalks for better safety and circulation on campus; 
  • Replacing 1960s-built academic wings at Beach Elementary with new classrooms 
  • Replacing outdated classroom technology and improving climate-control systems including air conditioning.

All projects will be complete by 2024. For more on building-by-building improvements and other details, go to the district’s bond information page.

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Cohorted specials usher in ‘a new kind of community’

Cedar Trails Elementary School’s “specials” teachers — art, music, physical education and literacy and technology — have joined forces to create an outdoor recreation program...

Schools in nine districts announce closures as COVID cases spike

New temporary school building closures were announced by nine school districts in Kent ISD this week, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...

CARES funding helps schools meet COVID-related costs

Across Kent County, schools are benefitting from an infusion of funds thanks to $2 million from the Kent County Board of Commissioners via the Kent County CARES Act School Grant Program...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU