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Farwell BOE considers bond for new busses – okays emergency police surveillance

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

The Farwell Board of Education is leaning towards a bonding issue for August to provide the funds needed for bus replacement next year.

Business Manager Jacob Sullivan reported that with refunding of the district’s 2005 bond issue, enough money could be saved to pay for a new bond issue to raise $500,000 for busses.

Sullivan had reported last month that the district is in need of two new busses next year and another two the following year. He said some of the present fleet were too old and worn out to be safe anymore.

Approval of a $500,000 bond would net $453,000 for the district and would not cost the district residents any additional money for taxes, Sullivan said.

Another option he outlined was an $800,000 bond issue which would cost an additional .2 mills for taxpayers. Board member Duffey Doxtader said “We were looking at the larger bond issue.

Sullivan said, “We have to make a decision soon on the bus fleet.” He said he had talked to Holland about purchasing and also about leasing new busses.

Although they usually don’t vote at the first Monday meeting, the board did vote 5-0 to approve a resolution creating a unit to allow Law Enforcement, specifically the Clare County Sheriff’s Department, to access the school surveillance cameras in the event of an emergency.

Undersheriff Dwayne Miedzianowski was at the meeting and said the school would be notified before testing the equipment and before monthly checks of the system.

Superintendent Carl Seiter reported on improvements in the MEAP test scores, and on the Legislative Breakfast held that morning.

Doxtader, who was at the meeting, expressed his frustration with the Senators who attended. “They just give us lip service,” he said. “They say they will ‘look into it’.”

Seiter said he understood and added that he still wanted to share the district concerns and thoughts with them.

Seiter reported that he is expecting an increase in the State’s foundation allowance because it is an election year. Sullivan said because the district meets seven out of eight of the Best Practice Resolution requirements, the district is in line for an additional $52 per student again next year. “That isn’t an increase but at least we will be getting it again.”.  He said the minimum increase he expects is $111 per pupil next year, and he is hoping for more.

Duffey said he is concerned with the toll the winter weather will take on the budget. ” The roads will be in terrible shape and funding for the roads may take away from the schools. Their track record stinks,” he said.

Other business at the meeting included:

*Discussion on removing the underground fuel tanks. With new regulations for insurance and training for inspections, they could cost $6,000 annually. Sullivan said there are no such regulations for aboveground tanks holding less than 1,100 gallons of diesel. Three would hold a month’s supply of fuel, he said.

*Seiter also reported that preliminary test data shows that a number of sixth and seventh grade students could be eligible for advanced placement next year.

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