THE LOCAL OBSERVER WE BRING YOU THE NEWS SERVING Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Saugatuck MI Permit No. 30 CURRENT RESIDENT January 26, 2018 Vol. 16 No. 4 FREE SAUGATUCK * DOUGLAS * SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP * LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP * FENNVILLE * GLENN * GANGES TOWNSHIP * HAMILTON * HOLLAND * SOUTH HAVEN SPS School Board Plans On Placing Two Millage Requests On The May Ballot; Officials Not Yet Releasing How Much Taxpayers Would Have To Pay If Measures Are Successful Efrain Sandoval Correspondent As they look to build on their “problem-based learning” strate-gy, the local public school district board is proposing to ask the elec-torate on the May election ballot to approve bonds for building improve-ments and maintenance. “We want to create physical spaces that promote innovation, cre-ativity and drives excellence,” Saugatuck Public Schools Board of Education President Nathan Lowery told The Local Observer Wednesday morning. “We have a lot of aging infrastructure and while it provides a space for our students, it does not align well with our future vision of preparing students for life and career choices,” said Lowery. “We are 10 to 15 years rela-tive to what is out there in West Michigan,” he said, comparing, for example, the infrastructure he saw at Holland High School. He continued, “This (bond proposal) should not come to a sur-prise to at least 80 percent of stake-holders. We’ve been discussing it in public meetings for at least a year and through the Community Outreach Forum.” Interior and exterior improvements are being considered for both Douglas Elementary School building as well as the Saugatuck Middle School and Saugatuck High School building. “Enhancements entail more windows for daylight, open space, and more spaces for community events,” said Lowery. “With flexible spaces and transitional zones, the idea is to have students not only collaborate with each other between different class-rooms, but also engage more with the outdoor environment such as during science lessons.” The district will be asking voters to approve two distinct bonds. One entails a renewal bond or a slight increase for building improvements, a bond approved by voters five years ago that will end this late spring. The other also entails a renewal or a slight increase to the site sinking fund for maintenance. Other than stating that any increase will be a “slight increase,” Lowery did not provide details about millage rates or how much the district wants to raise in terms of public funds. He said more information will be publicly revealed and dis-cussed at the school board workshop on Monday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. at the high school media center. The next school board meeting is on Monday, Feb.12 at 6 p.m. This would be the meeting the board would need to vote to move forward to actually put the bond pro-posal on the May ballot; Feb. 13 is the deadline for submittal to Allegan County to get the two school millages on the May ballot for voters. School officials did not comment on why the public would have so little time to be informed about exactly how much the board will be seeking in the millages that taxpayers would have to pay if the measures were to pass, before they have to notify the county the day fol-lowing the officials board vote. Lowery did reveal that the district has hired the firm GMB Architecture & Engineering as well as GDK Construction management for the proposed project. He did not say how much that hiring would cost taxpayers if the bond millages were to fail. He said a May election bond will give the district the oppor-tunity to plan things out for a year before actual physical improvements are implemented in 2019. Former SPS Superintendent Named Elementary Principal In Holland Efrain Sandoval Correspondent Former Saugatuck Public Schools (SPS) Superintendent Rolfe Timmerman will be starting a new job as principal of Lakeshore Elementary School in West Ottawa School District on the north side of Holland. “You miss the kids when you get to central office,” Timmerman told The Local Observer Monday about his previ-ous experience working as a princi-pal before his nine-year stint as superintendent for the SPS district. “I am really looking for-ward to working on day-to-day things with the kids, the teachers abd the staff,” he said/ In his introduction letter to the Lakeshore parents and fami-lies, dated Jan. 11, 2018, Timmerman states, in part, “When the offer came from Superintendent Martin (West Ottawa Public Schools Superintendent Thomas K. Martin) to be the principal of Lakeshore Elementary, I immediately discussed this opportunity with my wife and children. My daughter Lindsay, who works for he Indianapolis Public Schools, my son Thomas who attends Belmont University in Nashville, my son Eli who is a 7th grader in Hamilton, and my wife Stacy all agreed this would be a great chance to continue my passion and calling to support families and edu-cate children during their most formative years.” Timmerman has nearly 30 years of teaching and administration experience in the public school sys-tem. In his nine-year tenure with the SPS district Timmerman was beset with a number of scandals that involved teachers, administrators, and a community church. However, the district also received praise as it is considered one of the best small school districts in Michigan by state educational agencies. Last fall in 2017, the SPS Board announced they were ready for a change in leadership and, in explaining why Timmerman was leaving, then-SPS Board President Jeff Myers noted, “It certainly was not a difference of future vision (that instigated the termination), it was more of Rolfe’s leadership style not being a fit for our aggressive vision for the future.” Timmerman commented on this, telling the Observer Monday, “It was certainly an amica-ble separation. You know, sometimes you need a fresh set of eyes. I was hired by a different board than the current board. “I have nothing but respect—and the fondest memo-ries—for the students, the staff and parents of Saugatuck.” Timmerman is starting his new job on Jan. 29th. He concedes the district entails a more diverse student body than SPS, but he is not new to that nor is he new to the role of being principal. Before SPS, he was princi-pal of St. Clair Elementary for three year in Hesperia, MI, within a dis-trict he says has a significant student population of immigrants and is 90 percent free or reduced-price lunch. Lakeshore received a “Beating the Odds” award from the Michigan Department of Education in 2010–2014.
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