TRAVERSE CITY — Call it the war of the school millage mailers.
Advocates for and against Traverse City Area Public Schools' $100 million bond proposal are filling registered voters' mailboxes with fliers that attempt to make their respective cases on the Nov. 6 ballot proposal.
One new opposition mailer seen in mailboxes this week depicts TCAPS Superintendent Stephen Cousins as a cartoon character with a bubble caption reading "Easy Money!" and the words "What Can TCAPS Superintendent Stephen Cousins Be Thinking?"
Local tea party activist and Grand Traverse County Commissioner Jason Gillman said he spent $2,700 of his own money on the mailer with Cousins' image, his effort to convince voters to defeat the proposed millage hike. Gillman mailed the flier to 8,564 households.
"It's out of my bank account, my savings," Gillman said. "My credit union account is shrinking real fast because I'm fed up."
Conversely, Cousins said TCAPS is spending approximately $20,000 on an eight-page color mailer to voters.
"We have to spend some money to get the information in people's hands," Cousins said. "The district has to make sure the voters are informed so they can make the decision they think is best for the district and for their own personal circumstances."
The TCAPS millage request seeks voter approval to increase the district's 3.1-mill bond levy by up to 0.8 mills, raising $100 million over 10 years. The money would pay for reconstruction at Interlochen, Eastern and Montessori at Glenn Loomis elementary schools, estimated at $10 million each.
It also would raise $26 million for reconstruction at Central Grade School, and approximately $25 million for projects at Central High School, including construction of a state-of-the-art auditorium.
Gillman said he believes the TCAPS' mailer violates Michigan campaign finance law, which prevents public money from being used for passage or defeat of a public ballot question.
The TCAPS flier states:
"TCAPS is asking voters to support the continuation of TCAPS' long-term capital infrastructure improvement plan by authorizing a bond proposal on Nov. 6, 2012."
Gillman said it's clear the language violates state law.
"They are known for stepping up to the line but not crossing it," Gillman said. "This time they crossed it."
Not so, said TCAPS Board of Education President Kelly Hall.
"I respectfully disagree," Hall said. "I think it asks people to support the continuation of the plan."
Voters received a third mailing, this one from the group "TCAPS Citizens for Students." Records filed with Grand Traverse County Clerk's Office list the group's treasurer as Wesley Souden, TCAPS' Director of Finance & Business Technology.
Souden said he's involved with the group as a citizen, not as a TCAPS administrator. He referred further comment to Matt McDonough, one of the pro-millage organization's three chairpersons. McDonough said he's a parent who supports TCAPS and its renovation of aging schools.
The group will spend about $5,000 to send the flier to all registered voters in TCAPS' jurisdiction. Money raised for the mailer comes from local parents and businesses, he said.
"I'm just a parent-volunteer, and it's something I feel strongly about," McDonough said.
Traverse City resident Mark Mikula said he doesn't pay attention to the mailers in his mailbox because he's already made up his mind on the ballot proposal. He said he'll vote no because he thinks TCAPS wants too much money.
"I think it's a little bit excessive," Mikula said.
Voter Kate Greene said she'll vote yes, but she hasn't noticed any fliers in her mailbox.
"My kids go to public schools and they benefit from public schools," Greene said. "It's the right thing to do."
Voters hear from both sides on the issue
TRAVERSE CITY — Call it the war of the school millage mailers.
FINAL: Evansville 4, Beach Bums 1
Evansville completed a doubleheader sweep of the Traverse City Beach Bums by winning the nightcap 4-1 at Wuerfel Park tonight.Continued ...
Prep sports scoreboard: 05/23/2013
A roundup of high school sports results from across northern Michigan:Continued ...
FINAL: Evansville 6, Beach Bums 5
The Beach Bums' comeback bid fell just short in game one of a doubleheader today against Evansville, as the Otters won 6-5 in seven innings.Continued ...
Accused stalker faces more charges
A Grawn man who already is facing stalking charges is accused of breaking into the home of the female victim and attempting to take her dog.Continued ...
Bayshore winner aims for personal record in half
Caitlin Smith set a personal best in the half marathon last May when she won the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park in northern California.Continued ...
Victory for medical marijuana patients
Medical marijuana patients and advocates scored a victory after the state’s top court issued a decision on a long-running Grand Traverse County case.Continued ...
Editorial: Investing in roads, schools will help Mich. recovery
The issue: State surplus to go mainly to roads, schools. Our view: Both areas need major new investment.Continued ...
Rediscovering the kitchen — and healthy habits
When Becky Cain’s son Liam and a friend recently headed back to college in Oklahoma, they took a batch of her beloved oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with them.Continued ...
Fifth Third Bank's Northern Michigan CEO Eckhoff to retire
Mark Eckhoff, Fifth Third Bank Northern Michigan’s president and CEO, will retire as of May 31.Continued ...
Parking lot argument chills Bardon's
Robin Bisel and Jean Cline licked ice cream cones at Bardon’s Wonder Freeze off Front Street and wondered how they’d maneuver through traffic when finished with their treats.Continued ...
Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau named best in state
Readers of Michigan Meetings + Events magazine have named the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau the best CVB in the state of Michigan.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 05/23/2013
Proud of veterans; Allow flexibility.Continued ...
Special Bayshore section coming
The Record-Eagle will publish a special 12-page section Sunday on the Bayshore running races.Continued ...
Junior hockey team moving to Traverse City
A Junior A hockey team may be coming to Traverse City after all. The Midwest Junior Hockey League is in the process of relocating the Hartland Hounds to Traverse City for the 2013-14 season.Continued ...
Recipe of the Week: Black Bean & Avocado Salad
Whitney Zachritz, formerly of Traverse City and now a pediatric nurse practitioner in Philadelphia, is both a vegan and an avid cook.Continued ...
Forum: Two numbers about climate change we ignore
At Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, scientists are charting the passage of a milestone that, if ignored, heralds a future for civilization both tragic and chaotic.Continued ...
Presidential Scholar has struggled with illness
Nicole “Niki” Tubacki doesn't remember much about her early childhood except for swinging outside in the sun.Continued ...
Prep Sports Roundup: Trojans sweep BNC titles
Traverse City Central did something that's never been done in the boys' Big North Conference track championships. (Plus more)Continued ...
Man said to trade drugs for sex
A man arrested in Leelanau County for violating probation is accused of trading drugs for sexual favors with young women in Missaukee County.Continued ...
Food in Brief: 05/23/2013
Berry facts; Cafe in works; Green cuisine.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: 05/23/2013
Bums rained out, doubleheader today; Rawlings to Kirtland, Catt to Hope; Warsecke 4th in 1,500 meters. (Plus more)Continued ...
Car crashes into rocks near house
A Glen Arbor woman told deputies she fell asleep before she ran a stop sign and crashed her vehicle into a row of boulders near an Empire Township home.Continued ...
Intentional Minimalist: Local ingredients make fresh recipe
This recipe features local produce from 9 Bean Rows, Spring Hollow Farms, Birch Point Farm and locally produced products from Food for Thought.Continued ...
Red Wings' Development Camp schedule changed
The schedule for the 2013 Detroit Red Wings Development Camp has been announced.Continued ...
Record-Eagle Honor Roll Track Boys Listings: 05/23/2013
Following are the top boys listings for the Record-Eagle Honor Roll track and field meet on May 28 at TC Central.Continued ...
- FINAL: Evansville 4, Beach Bums 1