Reader: In defense of Ludington schools bond election flyer.
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By Vic Burwell, Ludington
To the editor:
In a letter to the editor published recently in another news media, a reader voiced concerns over the Ludington Area School District (LASD) upcoming bond proposal initiative. As a private citizen who supports this initiative, and a resident of the LAS district, I want to give community members some insight into the process that should dispel some of the rumors.
While there was a legal ruling limiting when a district could communicate regarding an upcoming vote, this was ruled unconstitutionally vague in 2016. The Board of Education issued a statement on April 1, 2019 regarding the claim that the distribution of materials was against the law. The statement is posted at www.lasd.net.
The District regularly sends mailers to the community informing them on things going on in the schools – the flyer sent in March was no different. Mail and email are ways that the District communicates with the entire community to be transparent about the upcoming bond proposal on the ballot.
Ludington Area School District (LASD), like many schools in the State, has aging buildings and systems. The State of Michigan defines the useful life of a school building at 40 years old? Our school district’s buildings range from 54-94 years old! Appropriate, routine, and preventative maintenance has allowed us to be good stewards of our school buildings and systems for a long time, but they have reached the point where replacement is wiser than repair.
The District is not rushing to the ballot with this initiative. The District’s Strategic Plan from 2015 recommended the development of a long-term facilities improvement plan. During the year and a half-long process, the District held 11 community forums and distributed community surveys to gather input and feedback. Hundreds of stakeholders were engaged in this process. There were thousands of person hours dedicated to review, consultation, visitation, deliberation and planning, that resulted in the plan that has been developed. Open, informational forums about the May 7, 2019 bond request are scheduled for April 18, 2019 and May 1, 2019 at Peterson Auditorium at 6:00 pm.
I’m grateful to live in a community of engaged citizens, and trust that you will consider voting YES on May 7 to support our schools, our students, and our community.