To the editor:
During the last successful bond campaign (to add the middle school wing, replace the tennis courts, and work on all other buildings = $1.925m zero add to the current 8.4 mills=no change in mills collected to meet debt payments) I met a taxpayer over by Hickory Drive and our conversation led me to one clear action step for my work here at Wayland and that was transparency. That bond successfully completed all work as presented to the public.
Casino funds are just as transparent and viewable on the waylandunion.org webpage. At the close of every year, the district puts forth what the funds were used for. Since 2012, the district has averaged $1.6m a year in Casino Revenue Sharing In Lieu of Taxes.
That $1.6m is split 3 ways: 50% capital outlay, 25% instructional, and 25% community use.
The 50% capital outlay is equal to roughly $800k. A payment on a $48.5m bond issue is roughly (given interest rates) $200k per month or $2.4m per year. Again the total Casino funds received average $1.6m, but only $800k is used for capital outlay.
That $800k used for capital outlay takes care of smaller, but very necessary projects. This past year the HS gym floor was replaced (original from 1974) = $200k. Additional work included the asbestos abatement and removal of the old addition on the Pine Street gym. More work being completed is the painting of the Pine Street gym exterior. New siding on the Central Receiving building (original siding in a very viewable part of town). Vehicle replacement comes from this money for the maintenance department. WUS runs 7 maintenance vehicles and tries to replace them every 10 years (one at a time to fit the capital outlay funds budget).
As you can see real projects take place with these funds, projects that would just be put off till the next bond. This means that any bond the school goes out for is for real need projects, not wants, but needs.
The district needs a new pool – the current pool is 48 years old. We need a place for our community to gather, learn, exercise, and play. Building a new pool makes space for band and orchestra to move into a much needed larger space for the numbers and the safety elements. Choir needs a larger space for numbers and safety. We need to grow curriculum offerings through HS robotics, STEAM, and automation for our students entering these careers. All of these areas were built in 1974 and very well suited WUS’ needs, but we have grown and those spaces need attention to address the larger student numbers and safety elements that affect staff and students. Then we get to the MS, which needs a new roof and windows (original to the building) equal to almost $7m, and last but not least always work to be done at the elementary. Hundreds of students and staff every day makes for spaces that are much used even with WUS’ annual capital outlay work (such as 2022 summer work completing new paint and carpet in the HS guidance office paid for with Casino funds).
I encourage you to reach out with further questions or concerns. Or visit WUS’ webpage: waylandunion.org for lots of great information and transparency.
— Patricia Velie, assistant superintendent for finances and operations., Wayland Union Schools