‘No millage increase’ bond proposal to face voters Nov. 7

The Wayland Board of Education Monday night agreed to ask voters to approve projects for infrastructure improvements at all five school buildings, for building an addition to the middle school to house grades 6-8 and to build 12 new tennis courts to replace the non-functioning facilities at the middle and high school.

This is a far cry from the ambitious requests for two bond proposals that were rejected by about 65% of the voters May 2. The board last month decided to drop requests for the two biggest ticket items, a new swim pool and a new elementary and keep the 76-year-old Pine Street Elementary open to serve fourth- and fifth-graders.

So a leaner, meaner bond proposal will face voters in November. The no millage increase development is the result of a the higher taxable value of property in the district over the past five years.

This, despite Board President Gary Wood indicating he had heard from a number of constituents who would like to try again for a new pool.

“I’m not willing to give up (yet) on the pool,” Wood told colleagues, but it might be best to wait for another, better time for that issue.

Treasurer Toni Ordway said, “Maybe waiting is the better choice and we can have a plan going forward.”

Superintendent Norm Taylor, when asked how much a new pool would cost if it was added, said it would take an additional 1.5 mills on top of the zero millage increase in the current proposal.

“The pool was first on everybody’s wish list (after the post-bond forum June 1),” Taylor said. “I’m just as anxious as anybody else to get a new pool (but it probably won’t be approved this year).”

“One of our challenges with that last bond proposal was that we had so much on it,” Wood said. “It might be beneficial to focus just on this one proposal.”

Taylor added, “We’re not giving up on any of our needs. We’re just narrowing the scope to our most pressing issues.”

The single bond issue would focus on three areas:

    • Infrastructure repairs and updates district-wide, most notably the boiler, fire supression and an elevator at Pine Street Elementary.
    • The addition of a new eighth-grade wing at the middle school and moving in all sixth-graders from Pine Street. That move would make it easier for sixth-graders to take part in such extra-curricular activities as athletics and music.
    • Building a dozen tennis courts at the middle school to replace the now defunct two courts. As a result, the courts behind the high school would be removed to make way for more parking space.

Taylor urged board members and supports to get the word out. He noted the last bond passed in Wayland in 2008 by just 229 votes, even though it too translated into no millage increase.


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