Wayland schools’ financial outlook still improving

Wayland Board of Education members (from left, standing) Janel Hott, Teresa Dobry, Toni Ordway, Cinnamon Mellema, (seated) Dan Cassini, Gary Wood and Pete Zondervan.

The Wayland Union school district apparently is managing to hold on to the students it has this academic year.

Superintendent Norm Taylor told Board of Education members Monday night that an informal count this week showed a student population of 3,034, which is only three less than the official fall count. It is customary for school districts to lose as many as 18 to 20 students between the fall count and the winter tabulation, Taylor said.

Because of a better than anticipated student count, Finance Director Pat Velie said the district is closing in on reaching its goal of a 12% fund balance in the budget. That five-year goal was established nearly three years ago, so she said the schools are ahead of schedule in getting its financial house in order.

Taylor added that it’s now possible the district mat go as high as 13% to 14% in a savings account by the time the five-year deadline arrives.

In other business at Monday night’s meeting, the school board:

• Re-elected Gary Wood president, Pete Zondervan vice president, Toni Ordway treasurer and Janel Hott secretary. All were unopposed and elected unanimously.

• Received the American Heart Association’s “Heart Safe” award, being among only three schools in Southwest Michigan to capture the honor. Dorr physical education teacher Betty Onopa also was presented with a special award for heading up the “Jump Rope for Heart” fund-raiser for 17 consecutive years.

•  Received the Phyllis Stein Memorial Fund awards for $1,425 to the Robotics program and $2,400 to the Wayland Education Foundation. The late Mrs. Stein, wife of former Mayor Burrell Stein, asked than instead of flowers, memorial donations be made to the two programs.

• Was told students in Joe Youngblood’s woodworking classes recently constructed five wooden bird houses, all of which will be placed on school district grounds.

• Was told the maintenance department has earned an Energy Star designation for using best practices in five of the six buildings in the school district. The excluded building is the middle school, which will undergo an addition and will be brought up to the same standards as the five others.

• Recognized the successes this past fall of the Wayland Middle School and Pine Street Elementary Robotics teams, who were introduced, along with coaches Michelle Foster and Joseph Harnish.

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