Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Some Thoughts On The May 2nd Special Election For Bridgeport Spaulding School District

I am getting some feedback about what people are saying about this election on May 2nd, how they are planning on voting, and I feel the need to address these things.

First thing I noticed is that there is a lot of misinformation being shared out there about these two ballot proposals so I put together all the information I could find into one post and shared that here on my blog.   You can see it all in this post - Information For May 2nd 2017 Ballot Proposals For Bridgeport Spaulding School District 

It is the responsibility of every voter to inform yourself of the facts about this issue, and any other issue.  Don't just listen to what other people may be saying, get the facts yourself.  The information is out there and if you have any questions about it you could probably contact someone within the school district to help clarify it.
Here is some of the misinformation I have been hearing from people:
- They are lying when they say these are not tax increases....
- They are lying when they say these are not new taxes....
- Bridgeport screwed up something when the students came from Buena Vista so that is why they are having to pass these proposals now....
- What they are saying about these proposals aren't the same as what is on the ballot....
So lets address these comments - The 18 mill non-homestead levy is just a renewal of the existing millage that has been approved by the voters in the past and has been in place for years and years.  It is the same exact amount as before.  It is not new and is not an increase.  The only connection this has to the students from the former Buena Vista school district is that the areas in Buena Vista that have been absorbed into the Bridgeport Spaulding school district will now also vote on this issue.  The 3 mill sinking fund proposal is to replace the 6 mill levy that was in place and has now expired.  This money will only be used for repairs and upgrades.  You can view the video that was made about the 3 mill levy here - Bridgeport Sinking Fund   I have looked at a sample ballot for the election on the Michigan Secretary of State website and I see no difference between what the information sheets say about the two proposals and what is on the ballot.  You can view the ballot here - https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/MVIC/selectpublicballot.aspx

If you plan on supporting these two proposals, please don't just assume that they will pass with no problem.  Share the information in my post above and help inform other voters.  And please make the effort to get out and vote YES on May 2nd because every vote will matter!!

Now I want to address some of the negative feedback I am hearing on why some people are planning on voting no on these two proposals.  Some of it is truly trying my patience and boggling my mind!!

First we have the regular naysayers, the Debbie Downers, the people that complain about everything and will just vote no based not on the actual information but just what their friends are saying about these proposals.  Maybe it makes them feel empowered to vote no?  Sticking it to the man?  I truly don't understand their thinking and behavior.  All I can say is that maybe they need to get some Valium and get a life!!

It is some of the other negative things I am hearing out there that I find very disheartening. I guess I will start with the thinking by some that they will never vote for these two proposals as long as so and so is employed in this district.  So if they are not happy with one or more people in this district, if they are not happy about the way they think things are being run, then they will vote down these proposals.  First I have to ask if their thinking is based on true facts or rumors?  Rumors, gossip, speculation and accusations can be a dangerous thing and people love to spread it all around.  Again I have to wonder if by doing that makes them feel empowered?   People need to also remember that there are two sides to every story, actually there are three sides to every story - Your side, Their side, and the truth that usually lies somewhere in the middle.
I don't like some things I "think" are going on in our district, I would like to see some people long gone from our district, BUT I will never vote no on these proposals just to try and hurt one or more people.  Who would really be hurt by voting down these proposals?  The students and their futures, the school district, and yes even Bridgeport Township would be hurt.  People need to think long and hard about who would be hurt the most by a no vote and what the far reaching consequences of that vote would mean.  Are you really willing to hurt the students and district just to hurt one or more people in this district?  I beg you to think long and hard before you vote no.  My conscience will not allow me to vote no and I pray that others will not also.

Some of the other negative feedback I am hearing is things like "they waste money".  Do you know that for a fact?  I don't.  Most of the information pertaining to the school district is open to the public.  I am not sure how much of the financial information is open but if you have concerns then seek out answers.  Contact someone in the district and ask questions.  Attend the school board meetings where you can publicly raise your concerns and the committee meetings.  I missed two committee meetings this month, a personnel committee meeting and a finance committee meeting.  These meetings can be very informative so I am sorry that I missed them.  The public also has the option to request information through the Freedom Of Information Act.  Use that right.  I don't have the time to attend all the meetings or to request documents, information etc...  Even if I did, I honestly would not understand it all and am not qualified to make a judgement on it all.  So please seek out answers to any concerns you have and base your vote on the facts, not rumors.
Other concerns I have heard is that people don't think they are being honest about the needed repairs and upgrades, feel that they don't need new bleachers.  I think the video for the 3 mill levy shows honestly some of the needed repairs, but I suspect it doesn't show all of them.  If you have concerns, then contact someone in the district and take a look for yourself.  Ask people who work there everyday what is truly needed.  As for the bleachers at the high school, yes money has been raised in the past and I believe the visitor side bleachers have been replaced, volunteers have also donated materials and labor to make some needed repairs on the main bleachers and paint them.  But does that mean then that they don't need to replace them?  I don't know exactly what their reasons are for that or exactly what their plans are.  Are they maybe planning on replacing the old wood bleachers that will always need more and more maintenance with new aluminum bleachers?  If you have concerns about that then just ask someone in the district that would be able to give you the answers.

So to any Bridgeport School District resident that has questions or concerns, please seek out answers, seek out the truth.  Get involved, volunteer your time, donate money.  The Bridgeport Schools have a lot of needs and the community could really step up and help them.  The Bridgeport Community Church has their sign out in front of the church and they recently had a message on there that said something like "The Bridgeport Schools Support Our Community" and on the other side of the sign the message was "The Bridgeport Community Supports Our Schools".  I am hoping that on May 2nd the Bridgeport community will come out and show that support by voting yes for these two proposals!!

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