Wayland schools gearing up for bond proposal vote Nov. 7

The Wayland Board of Education Monday night officially approved the wording for a Nov. 7 special election bond proposal.

The school district is seeking voters’ support for a second scaled-down proposal for around $20 million after the failure last May of a $55 million bond with two different proposals. Even more interesting is that because of recent favorable economic conditions and developments, approval of this request will not result in any annual tax increase, but it would increase the length of the bond.

School officials earlier this summer agreed to drop a request for a new pool, artificial turf at the football stadium, shutting down Pine Street Elementary and building a new elementary for fourth- and fifth-graders near the Transportation Building.

Instead, the Board of Education came up with the $20 million proposal to keep open and do renovations and improvements at the 76-year-old Pine Street structure, build new tennis courts to replace the old non-functioning ones and build an addition at Wayland Middle School to bring in all sixth-graders in the district. Therefore Pine Street would take in just fourth- and fifth-graders.

Committees for public relations and get out the vote campaigns have been formed and school officials said they plan to proceed apace with promotions during the fall run-up to the election. Back to school open houses are planned for the last week in August, so parents and community members can expect to see and hear more information.

Finance Director Patricia Velie gave the board good news that twice yearly revenue from the Gun Lake Casino increased, with July’s check coming at $836,109, a 2 percent increase over a year ago. The district customarily estimates annual revenue from the casino to be $1.5 million.

Velie also said the district’s sales of old equipment and goods resulted in about $58,000, with most the action coming from old items used in the high school shop. Furthermore, the schools picked up an extra $5,100 with the sale of two old school buses.

Superintendent Norm Taylor said Wayland Union’s fund balance is now more than 10% of the general fund budget and he’s optimistic the five-year goal of 12% laid out by board will be met. The district has paid off the debt for the purchase of iPads for students and for purchases of new buses.

In other business at Monday night’s meeting, the Board of Education:

• Was told by Taylor that student enrollment projections continue to show increases, but he doesn’t yet have firm numbers. With a projected increase in state aid again this year, that is good econ0mic news as well.

• Approved the low bid of $70,568 from Peterson Oil for transportation fuel for the academic year, a slightly lower cost than last year.

• Agreed to establish a special Act 77 fund, very similar to a public improvement fund, except that it cannot be used for any general fund expenditures, only for capital projects. The district already has a separate public improvement fund entire covered by Gun Lake Casino revenue.

Taylor said the new fund “is prudent and gives us some options” in handling emergency capital needs.

• Agreed to spend a little more than $127,000 for installation and implementation of a new VOIP phone system. It is expected to be up and running not long after the start of the academic year.

PHOTO: A sixth-grade wing will be added to the Wayland Middle School in a key part of school district’s bond proposal that goes before voters Nov. 7.




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