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March 19, 2019 1:04 pm

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Letter From SPS Superintendent Rolfe Timmerman


(This is article #3 of a four-part series on the upcoming May 7 school election that will have four, five-year millage proposals on the ballot.  Please visit our website,, for articles, videos, ballot language and more information concerning this school election.)

 On May 7, Saugatuck Public Schools (SPS) will ask voters to restore a 1 mill levy that expired in 2008 with a combination of a 0.5 mill equipment bond and a 0.5 mill building site and sinking levy.
 So, why two proposals?
 The answer has to do with state laws. The majority of our district’s funding comes from a general fund (financed through the operation millage, also up for renewal May 7) and pays for books, supplies, staff salaries, special education and utilities.
 The amount levied for the general fund cannot be increased to help pay for equipment needs. Instead, schools may ask voters to approve separate, earmarked equipment bonds.
 With a bond, equipment expenditures can be purchased without impacting dollars used for the classroom.
 The requested five-year 0.5 mill equipment bond will generate $1.185 million and be used to purchase technology, upgrade security, replace buses and band instruments.

• Technology: Technology purchases will be phased in over the five-year period since technology changes rapidly. Student technology upgrades will enhance the education experience of our students in all academic areas.
• Security Enhancements: Entry door security, cameras and surveillance equipment will be added.
• Buses: Our aging fleet incurs higher costs for mechanical breakdowns, fuel inefficiencies, labor and repair. Our three oldest buses struggle to pass annual state inspections.
• Band Equipment: While many students are able to provide their own flutes or clarinets, larger instruments such as tubas and sousaphones are too costly (up to $7000) for any one student to purchase outright. The bond will allow us to replace older instruments, some are 60 years old!
 If you have any questions, please contact me at or 269-857-1444.

Rolfe Timmerman, Superintendent
Saugatuck Public Schools

Letter From SPS Superintendent Rolfe Timmerman

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