Governance Transition Proposal
Grand Haven Christian has always been a private school and not a parochial school. Historically, the CRC was the primary source for students, financial support, and leadership. The founders implemented a “membership” style of governance and filed Articles of Incorporation with the State of Michigan in 1919. This private model was organized with the school “society” at the top of the chain of governance. To be a member of the society today, one has to either be a tuition paying parent or a donor who gives $100 per year to the school. Once a year, a meeting of the GHC Society is convened. At this meeting, the board presents an annual report as well as a list of potential candidates for selection to the school board. In this “membership” style of governance, it is necessary for a quorum of individuals to be present at the meeting. GHC has operated for decades under this model.
In the past, attendance that constituted a quorum was easily attained. Over the last decade however, attendance at the annual society meeting has dropped. For several years, the meeting has been held with a group of members that do not constitute a quorum.
Due to lack of attendance at society meetings, GHC is not operating under the guidelines outlined in the bylaws. While the bylaws state that it is a membership governed institution, in essence it has been operating under a different model, a directorship, for several years.
One concern regarding the Society model is that fewer people are attending the Society meeting placing the school at risk of not meeting quorum requirements. With low attendance, it would be possible for a small group to collaborate to make decisions that are not in line with the purpose and mission of the school. Additionally, Society structured governance tends to focus on the short-term, present year and not the strategic long-term vision of the school.
Comparatively, a board driven model consists of members who understand and develop the strategic plans and goals of the school. This model lends itself to focus long-term to serve the next generation of students while being supported by the constituency.
In order to protect the mission and purpose of Grand Haven Christian School as it now stands, and to provide a model of governance with which the board can comply, the Board of Directors proposes that the Society Members of GHC change the model of governance from a Membership to a Directorship. The GHC school board is working on this along with the other collaborative schools as part of our long-range strategic plan regarding school governance.
The school board has hosted two town hall meetings over the last two month, one on April 23 and the other on March 26. Over a dozen society members attended to ask questions and learn more about the rationale for making this important change, and the feedback regarding movement to a Directroship was overwhelmingly positive. The board has worked with attorney Dave Bossenbroek with the construction of the proposed Articles of Incorporation. Mr. Bossenbroek is a proponent of Christian Education and member of Muskegon Christian's School Board. He guided Muskegon Christian through the same process recently.
To review both the current and proposed governance documents please open the files below.
You may cast your absentee vote electronically using the link below if you are not able to attend the Annual Society Meeting on May 14, 2018 @ 7:00 PM here at Grand Haven Christian.
Please call the school office if you have questions or need more information. Thank you for your attention to this matter and your support of Grand Haven Christian School.
In His Service,
The Grand Haven Christian School Board
Peter Brink - President
Craig Sytsema - Vice President
Stuart VanderHeide - Secretary