Grand Haven Tribune

February 9, 2016

The Grand Haven Tribune - A Michigan newspaper with comprehensive Local News and multi-media from all around West Michigan and the Lakeshore

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TRIBUNE the GRAND HAVEN ★ SPRING LAKE ★ FERRYSBURG CONNECT WITH US facebook.com/GHTribune twitter.com/GHTribune TOP 3 STORIES Girl, 10, killed, two older siblings injured in crash 1 Police: Arson cause of Slayton Street house fire 2 Frozen fiction 3 at grandhaventribune.com THANK YOU Kerri Manley For being our FACEBOOK of the day! WEATHER Lake-effect snow BY ISLA MOLYNEUX 21 18 HIGH LOW TOMORROW'S 75¢ TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2016 www.gtrib.com 2015 NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR | | FRAUDULENT IRS CALLS ON THE RISE SEE STORY, PAGE 2 GRAND HAVEN GIRLS FALL TO MUSKEGON SEE SPORTS, PAGE 7 GRAND HAVEN AREA PUBLIC SCHOOLS The Grand Haven school board has formalized its opposition to Public Act 269. On Monday night, the board unanimously passed a resolution opposing the law that prevents officials from passing out information about ballot proposals 60 days before elections. The resolution calls for an immediate repeal of the new language in Section 57, subsection 3 of Public Act 269, and it cites questions about the "constitutionality and legality of the new law, including a possible ban on freedom of speech." "This gag order on factual information leading up to a local election places the financial stability of our schools at risk," the resolution reads. A copy of the local resolution will be sent to the school district's representative in the state House, Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township; and the Senate, Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive. Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Andy Ingall said district officials believe it's their duty to provide factual information to help create an informed electorate. He said the law is clear that taxpayer dollars can't be used for advocating for proposals, but it's important to help residents understand the details. School board President John Siemion said the Legislature created a new law instead of enforcing the existing one. In the past, the school district has used its TV station (GHTV) to create informational spots. Last year, now retired-Superintendent Keith Konarska filmed an episode of "Issues and Answers" that focused on providing details of the annual operating millage. Ingall said the law would prohibit that with future ballot proposals. Additionally, the district has used radio advertisement time with local stations, which the law would potentially prohibit, Ingall said. "School officials have a civic and legal duty to the residents of their community to fully inform them regarding the issues placed before them, especially issues affecting their tax dollars, upon which they may exercise their constitutional right to vote," the resolution reads. Trustee Nichol Stack amended A millage rate reduction for Harbor Transit will mean more money for other transportation infrastructure improvements in Grand Haven Township. The Harbor Transit Board recently adopted the local bus service's 2016- 17 budget and Capital Improvement Plan, and Grand Haven Township officials were notified that the millage rate was reduced from 0.60 to 0.58 mill. "This is the first time that it has gone down," Township Manager Bill Cargo said. "Typically, (the budget) is approved in November, but it is a little late this year." In terms of the property tax monies — which account for about one-third of Harbor Transit revenue — Grand Haven Township is the largest contributor, bringing in about $395,000 toward the 2016-17 budget. Harbor Transit provides on-demand bus service to Grand Haven city and township, Ferrysburg, and Spring Lake village and township — a total service area of 54.5 square miles. Grand Haven Township officials note that rides that originate in the township account for about 24 percent of the total number of rides provided by Harbor Transit. The township had a ridership of 31,928 for its first full year of service in 2012. Last year, township ridership increased to 54,780, which is an increase of about 62 percent over the past three years. Even with the millage reduction, it's been noted that the budget for Harbor Transit increased by almost 10 percent for 2016-17 to about $3.21 million. This is mostly due to the expansion and start of Harbor Transit into Spring Lake Township last year. The monies not used for Harbor Transit will go to other transportation infrastructure priorities in the township, Grand Haven Township officials say. "The additional mills will be used for street maintenance," Cargo noted. A third of the township's transportation millage goes to supplement the township's road maintenance program. Tribune file photo/Alex Doty A Harbor Transit bus delivers a passenger to the Meijer store in Grand Haven Township. School leaders voice opposition to 'gag order' law Millage reduction to go toward road improvements Tribune photo/Krystle Wagner Since the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, Grand Haven Area Public Schools has implemented 1-to-1 technology dis- trictwide. Sixth-grade teacher Gary Knights says students use Google Drive to store their assignments. It's "almost like a portfolio of learning for them," he said. PUBLIC ACT 269 GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP As Gary Knights' sixth-graders discuss their group projects, they seamlessly update their PowerPoint presentations on Google Chromebooks. Knights said his White Pines Intermediate School classes use technology for almost everything. Grand Haven Area Public Schools has implemented 1-to- 1 technology throughout the current school year. Students in grades K-4 have been issued iPads, while students in grades 5-12 — like Knights' sixth-graders — were given Chromebooks to use. In May 2014, Grand Haven school district voters approved a bond that calls for $19 million for staff and student devices, i n f ra st r u c tu re a n d d e v i c e replacement cycles over a 10-year period. Doug Start, the Grand Haven Tech 101 GH STUDENTS GAIN EXPERIENCE WITH 1-TO-1 TECHNOLOGY PAGE 2 THE BIG # Amount, in dollars, that Grand Haven Township contributes to the Harbor Transit budget. 395K Tribune photo/Krystle Wagner Sixth-grader Tucker Kooi, left, said the Google Chromebook helps him stay organized and provides an easier way to work with classmates on projects. See TECH on PAGE 3 BY KRYSTLE WAGNER kwagner@grandhaventribune.com See ACT 269 on PAGE 3 BY ALEX DOTY adoty@grandhaventribune.com See MILLAGE on PAGE 3 BY KRYSTLE WAGNER kwagner@grandhaventribune.com

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