2009-11-01 / Front Page

Chesaning Ed Board addendum

Chesaning Public Library Board of Trustees Treasurer Susan Cannon was the first to speak.  Cannon expressed confusion and shock over the school board’s handling of the library agreement Sept. 21 meeting where they reviewed the library agreement.  She described how the board was prepared to vote against the agreement based upon the advise of their lawyer, but could not explain why the lawyer advised against it.
Anne Seurynck attorney for the law firm of Foster Swift Collins & Smith, who worked with the library to prepare the agreement said, “This is a draft of a contract.  We’re happy to work with your comments.” Seurynck also stated, “The intent was the school board would be a silent partner.”
The school district attorney attending the meeting was Michael Farrell of the Thrun law firm.  While Farrell would not say what changes needed to be made to the agreement to make it acceptable for the school board to sign, he did repeatedly refer to “red flags” in the document, which could leave the schools vulnerable to legal action.  Farrell evaded answering direct questions from School Board Trustee Martin Maier and others who asked what changes would be required to make the agreement work. 
Farrell stated, “I did not go beyond my review to say X, Y or Z language should be changed.” He explained that what he did do was go over specific concerns with the superintendent and director of finance.
Chesaning Village resident Tim Weisenberger pointed out that with about 93 other district libraries in the state of Michigan using the school district boundaries, there must be a contract that would work.  “Contracts can be written for what we want to do,” Weisenberger continued, “It makes sense to use parts of the townships that would use the library.”  He explained that the library couldn’t raise enough funds through user fees.
Chesaning Village resident Dale Tithof stated, “I’m disappointed that the board did not choose to work with the library board for a win-win.  It seems the board has their minds made up.”
Maple Grove Township Supervisor Kevin Krupp commented, “I think the $60 fees proposed would be fair,” referring to library fee instituted for nonresidents if he district is not formed. 
Library Board Chair Mechelle Kuchar stated, “Maple Grove claims they had people opposed.  But they chose to ignore the petition.”  She talked about farming as a business and continued by saying,  “When you own a business, you pay taxes.  If you don’t like it, sell it off.”
New Haven Township Clerk Marilyn Owen stated, “Our people are not in favor of this millage.”  She explained that New Haven Township has a lot of rural farmland.  It would cost those property owners $300 to $500 a year, she stated.
Chapin Township Treasurer Michelle Kettler, who also serves as president of the Chesaning Area Friends of the Library, “I can see that people need to voice their [support].”
Chesaning Township Clerk Sue Emmendorfer talked about having heard people claim Chesaning Township has an unfair advantage.   As Chesaning Township Clerk, Emmendorfer stated that Chesaning Township only has 3,300 registered voters.  She estimated approximately 8,000 voters between the other townships combined.  “A vote of the people has to take place.  They only have three years to get [millage] approved,” Emmendorfer stated.
Chesaning Village resident Roz Conklin, who is a teacher, commented, “Think about the students who don’t have access to books all summer.”
Brant resident Sue Wolfe, who is also a teacher, stated, “I stopped at the library this afternoon.  It was full of teenagers.”  She explained that she used to be in Albee, now she is in Maple Grove.  “During the summer children need access to books.  Both of my daughters use the library everyday.  Supporting the library is very important.”
Tracy Darling, a Maple Grove parent, stated,  “I would like to please have the opportunity to vote.”
A Middle School student from Maple Grove said, “You’re taking away our schools.  Why are you taking away my library?  I like to go to the library.  My passion is for reading at a higher level.  The public library is very important.” She explained that if the public library were not available, she would be forced to read the boring books available at the school.”
Brady Township resident Roseann Thiel, who is a teacher at Christ Lutheran School, said she knew that a lot of “our students” use the Chesaning Public Library.  “I would at least let the people vote on it.  We need this library.”
Chesaning Village resident Tom Rowe stated, “The townships did not give people the right to vote.” He felt that the people should have the right to vote “yes or no”.
Chesaning Township resident Scott Blodgett said, “I want the right to vote!  Don’t take that away.”
Chesaning Township resident Joy McConnell echoed the statement saying, “We need the right to vote.”  
Chesaning Library Board Secretary Meredith Adelman commented, “Erin [Schmandt has been] running this library on a budget from 1970.  We approached the townships because we don’t want to cut service.”  “Six people [on a board] does not a township make,” she continued saying, “Your decision tonight to allow the people to decide, not six people.  You have the opportunity to help us form a district.”

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