Wayland Middle School addition causes changes

Finance Director Pat Velie speaks to the Wayland Board of Education at Monday night’s work session. At right is Director of Instruction Teresa Fulk.

The addition to Wayland Middle School is prompting budget adjustments, even before the adoption of a new fiscal year 2019-20 budget next June.

Finance Director Pat Velie presented a lot of information about that and more at the Wayland Board of Education work session Monday night, which was kicked off by board members’ tour of the new facility before the meeting.

Velie pointed out that the district’s reconfiguration affects not just the middle school, which will add sixth-graders next fall, but also Pine Street Elementary for fourth- and fifth-graders, Steeby Elementary for second- and third-graders, and Baker Elementary for kindergarten and first-graders.

The finance director pointed out that the current enrollment for the school district stands at 3,024, slightly down from last fall, but she is projecting an increase of 25 students over the figures from the fall of 2018. It’s difficult to say what Wayland will receive in state aid per pupil because deliberations continue in Lansing and still unresolved is Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s insistence on fixing the roads.

“I believe the budget process will be very vague,” Velie told board members, “which will present us with challenges.”

She said she had heard about nice increases in state support for at-risk students and special education, but, “It’s way too early to get excited about that.” The state will not adopt its budget until October.

However, it is known what the local school district will get from revenue sharing from the Gun Lake Casino, which amounts to $1,743,778. That figure has increased every year since the casino opened in 2011.

Also during the meeting, representatives from Triangle Construction were in attendance to explain some of the latest building adjustments for the middle school.

In other business at the work session, the board:

• Tentatively gave its blessing to Director of Instruction Teresa Fulk to post teaching openings that are prospective. Hires would not be made until budget assumptions are firm.

Fulk said it’s important for Wayland to get out ahead of accepting applications because the job market is getting tighter. She said three more instructional positions are expected next fall.

• Received a recommendation from Velie to renew a three-year contract for food service with Chartwells, which submitted the lower of two bids.

• Agreed to a more expensive contract for cleaning services with GRVS because of the middle school addition. The added amount will be $1 per square foot, which Velie said she was able to negotiate down from $1.12

• Listened to a presentation by Tech Director Scott Getter on the pros of entering into a consortium of Allegan County school districts for high-speed Internet with updated fiber lines.

“I don’t know of a better opportunity than this that I’ve seen in my lifetime,” Getter remarked.

Getter also is the technology official for Hopkins schools.

• Agreed to purchase two new school buses at costs of $87,510 and $89,310 as part of the district’s annual replacement program and funded by the casino.

• Approved another one-year contract with USA Earthworks for snow removal.

• Fielded a request from two students asking for something to be done about flooding at the soccer field, the conditions at the aging pool and needs for the football stadium.

Board President Cinnamon Mellema said she appreciated the students coming forward and responded, “This is not falling on deaf ears. We are continuing to work on this.”

Mellema also asked colleagues about the possibility of finding a way to recognize participants in Odyssey of the Mind and the Robotics team in the same way as athletes and band members.

1 Comment

  • Dorr only goes to 4th grade currently, not 6th. The technology director’s name is Scott Getter, not Geller.

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