Bond Vote set for May 2

Community will decide whether or not to authorize $155 million for new middle school, other upgrades


Opened in 1954, Lakeshore Middle School would be replaced by a new building if the bond issue passes. The new building would be located at Lincoln and 152nd .

On May 2, voters in the GHAPS district will go to the polls to decide whether or not to approve the district’s request for a bond of over $155 million to upgrade facilities and technology. Here is The Blade’s guide to the ballot issue.


GHAPS Bond Proposal – The Facts




What will happen?

The bond will be voted on by the current Grand Haven community members. If passed, the district will receive $155,775,000 to go towards district-wide improvements, including a new middle school building and security advancements to all buildings. Doing so does not increase the millage rate, meaning taxes will not be raised. But this also will not allow these rates to lower either, which they would otherwise be doing.


Who’s affected? 

The students and staff of the GHAPS district are the most widely impacted, though the community as a whole would feel the ripple effect of the district changes.


When will this occur?

The vote takes place on May 2. If approved, construction on the new middle school will take place starting in 2024  with an estimated finish date sometime in 2026. The other planned improvements in the district would also take place at this time. 


Where will the new building be located?

The new middle school will be built on Lincoln and 152nd in Grand Haven although all GHAPS buildings will receive updates in some way. 


Bond Proposal FAQ


Why would voters want this? 

Supporters say the new middle school  is needed and investments in schools could help  increase the quality of education for students and help maintain property values while placing no increased financial burden on residents. In addition, the bond will bring needed facilities and technology upgrades that will keep GHAPS in line with neighboring districts.


Why might voters object?

Concerns have been addressed about whether a new middle school is actually needed or if the current building could be renovated for less cost.  Critics have also express concerns over money management in the district following the recent embezzlement issues and also wonder if all of the upgrades are truly necessary.


What does this mean for the average resident?

Due to expiring debt, the millage rate will remain unchanged so residents won’t see any change in their taxes and the majority of the GHAPS area will remain largely unaffected. Although bus routes will need to be altered to accommodate the new location. 


Can residents trust how GHAPS deals with money in light of the embezzlement issues that emerged in 2021?

Critics of the proposal** have noted that there are trust issues with the district’s handling of money after an employee embezzled nearly $1 million over several years. Superintendent Scott Grimes says that steps have been taken to prevent further issues and that the district will work hard to regain community trust. According to Grimes the district underwent an outside audit and has implemented additional measures to protect against future issues.


Why can’t Lakeshore Middle School be renovated?

Many critics** wonder why the current school can not be renovated.  According to Grimes, Lakeshore is now 70 years old, the oldest of any GHAPS facility. Grimes said, it needs significant renovations that would cost as much as 70% of the estimated cost of the new building. Grimes also noted the logistical issue of where to house current students during a multi-year renovation of the building.


Why should the current community care? The current students won’t receive the benefits of the new school so why would they pay for it? 

This is an investment for the safety of all GHAPS students. There will also be noticeable benefits from the improvements to events such as concerts and sports games which can be attended by anyone.


Couldn’t we just absorb the current middle school students into the Intermediate and Elementary schools?

It will only change where the overcrowding occurs. 5th grade was moved to White Pines to solve the issue of overcrowding at the elementary level. Removing the space Lakeshore provides would immediately overcrowd any other buildings that students get moved to.


Why is the new location, the new location?

GHAPS bought the property years ago and it is close to the population center of the district. With a significant portion of GHAPS students living in Grand Haven and Robinson townships, it is beneficial to have a more centrally-located building.

** The Bucs’ Blade reached out to the authors of a Substack publication that has criticized the bond issue. The reporters did not receive a response.