Bond monies support RPS fine arts programs by MIKE CUNEO Assistant Superintendent, Finance Rockford Public Schools As the construction season winds down for the fall, I would like to take this opportunity to update the community on the work completed and yet to be completed. Work has been started on five of the largest construction projects in the scope of the approved bond issue. As you drive around the Rockford Public Schools (RPS) district, you will see additions in progress at the following elementary buildings: Cannonsburg, Lakes, Roguewood and Valley View. All projects are on schedule and we are in the stages at some additions of finishing work (i.e. painting, carpeting and new furniture). You will also see multi-purpose fields completed at Roguewood Elementary, the addition of new fields at East Rockford Middle School and the high school/freshman center campus. Design work has been completed for the remaining elementary buildings and also for the planned addition at East Rockford Middle School as well as the facility upgrades to North Rockford Middle School, and construction on these projects will begin in the spring of 2010. However, there are many additional purchases/projects beyond construction projects that are not as easily visible. We have highlighted technology upgrades and the purchase of new computers, etc., previously in other presentations. I would like to highlight for the community the bond monies that have been expended to support the district’s fine arts programs. Over $90,000 has been spent on the purchase of new band instruments. Part of the rationale for a turf field at the Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium was the multi-purpose field would fill the need for practice fields for the band program and would optimize their performances and the program. New risers and pianos have been purchased for the choir program at the high school and freshman center. Monies have also been allocated for new instruments for the proposed orchestra program. In addition, we have allocated over $200,000 for facility and equipment upgrades to the district’s auditorium. A new state-of-the art, high-tech operating system has been installed. This computerized, digital system will control the sound and lighting systems and also incorporate portable controls. The electrical and rigging systems have been completely updated, as well as a new projection system […]
The Lady Rams of Rockford claimed second place at the cross country state finals at Michigan International Speedway. The runner-up finish is the best for the Lady Rams since 2003, when they were second place in the state, and cements them as the state team of the decade. “Being state runner-up is pretty incredible,” stated Coach Benjamin Watson. “It is the best finish for all the girls who are currently in the program and the best finish I have had in my coaching career. We wanted to come away nuamber one, but number two is still very rewarding and fun!” Sophomore Jane Hawks capped off an incredible season with an 18th-place finish, which was good for All State honors. “Jane ran a very good race for us. She was sick last year at the state finals and did not have a fun experience that day, so I am happy that she was able to run well on the biggest stage and earn All State honors for herself and lead us to our team runner-up finish,” said Coach Watson. Senior Katie Carlson finished her cross country career with an incredible 32nd-place finish, narrowly missing the top 30 and All State recognition. “Katie made the most of her final cross season. This was the first time in her career that she was a top seven runner for us and she is ending her career being All Conference, All Region and having a new lifetime personal record by over a minute,” stated Coach Watson. Sophomore Taylor Manett, junior Catie Rietsema and sophomore Sawyer Rocheleau finished the scoring for the Lady Rams with places of 53rd, 58th and 75th respectively. Sophomore Sam Anderson and junior Allison Hazy finished the team effort for the Lady Rams with places of 93rd and 155th. “These girls all competed hard, much like they have done all season. They enjoy running and working hard, and that is what allowed us to finish in second place in the entire state. We will have all of them back except one next year, so things are looking good for the future,” said Coach Watson.
The Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association (MITCA) recently recognized the Lady Rams cross-country team of Rockford as being Academic All State. Team Academic All State is scored much like a cross-country race in that a school submits their seven state finalist runners’ grade point averages (GPAs) and record the average of the top five from the competing seven. Upon doing this, Rockford recorded a team GPA of 3.847, the sixth best in the state. Members of the Lady Rams state team were Katie Carlson, Catie Rietsema, Allison Hazy, Taylor Manett, Jane Hawks, Sam Anderson and Sawyer Rocheleau. Propelling the entire team to Team Academic All State honors were three Lady Rams who earned Individual Academic All State honors. Senior Katie Carlson and sophomores Taylor Manett and Jane Hawks earned this honor by having a GPA above 3.8 and by finishing in the top half of the 239 competitors in the state finals race. Carlson placed 32nd, Manett 53rd, and Hawks was 18th at the state finals race.
Cailie Johnson signs her national letter of intent to play volleyball for Grand Valley State University (GVSU) while her father, Chuck, signs the parent portion. The letter was signed on November 17 at Rockford High School with Johnson’s coaches, family and teammates in attendance. GVSU Coach Scanlon said, “I have enjoyed watching you play over the last year and I have always been impressed with your athletic ability and your potential. At Grand Valley, we are proud of the great tradition in our volleyball program, and we always look to recruit players who are both physically gifted and have the work ethic it takes to be a champion. That is where you will come in.”
When state financial conditions deteriorated and plans for a third judge in the immediate future dissolved, Servaas made vocal his disapproval of the move. A public falling out took place between the two existing judges, Chief Judge Sara Smolenski and himself. Servaas believes there is plenty to prove that the county was behind an attempt to have him removed. If he was removed, there would be no contest to the court consolidation. One example of some inappropriate and suspicious behavior was that at the hearing over Servaas’ misconduct—of which he was cleared—was that a Kent County attorney was assisting accuser Paul Fischer. Now that Servaas has been cleared of wrongdoing, the question of the extent and timing of the new court presence is first and foremost. Serving his last term due to age limits, the issue goes beyond Servaas and to of what a court presence will consist. Currently, a judge ruled there must be a court presence in Rockford, but failed to define what that court presence must be. It is the county’s contention that Smolenski has sole discretion in determining the amount of presence that fulfills the ruling, as well as creating a timeline for those services. It is expected that either party—the City of Rockford hoping for a full court presence including a judge; or Kent County, believing a part-time magistrate will suffice—will appeal to the Supreme Court. Rockford City Manager Michael Young, along with Servaas, wonders why the county decided to close the building, move out staff, and begin remodeling before the case is decided. “They act like there is a fire under this,” said Servaas. Young said it puts law enforcement in a confusing situation. “If our police need a warrant signed, they have to go to Grand Rapids,” he said. “We are supposed to have a court presence here, but now the court is closed. How do the police plan for that?” Last year, the union members of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department voted unanimously against moving services from the Rockford location. They believed it was a safety issue to have northern-serving law enforcement out of their territories longer to conduct court business so far away. Kent City, Cedar Springs, and Solon and Oakfield townships all also passed legislation […]