By Pat Maurer
Farwell desperately needs new busses.
At the first February meeting, Business Manager Jacob Sullivan listed the district busses including four he recommended for sale with mileage listed from 127,000 to 173,000 miles. He said the busses would not pass State inspection. All of the four, ranging from model year 1998 to 2001, are now only used as spare busses. Repair costs over the past two years totaled $8,545 on those busses. He said the district should purchase two busses for each of the two coming years.
Sullivan discussed ways the district could raise the funds needed to purchase two busses for the coming year.
He outlined a financing plan which would not impact Farwell’s already tight budget, or cost taxpayers in the district more money by “refunding” the district’s present bonds at a lower interest rate and by passing a new bonding measure to finance the cost to purchase or lease new busses. The savings from refinancing the present bonds would cover the payments on a new bond issue, he said.
Since the last meeting, the Physical Plant/Transportation and Finance Committees have met to discuss the options and whether buying or leasing new busses would be best.
That discussion continued at Monday’s regular School Board meeting.
Superintendent Carl Seiter said, “Refinancing and potentially a bond proposal that would generate funds for bus purchase, ES boiler consolidation, HS double door system at main entrance and security systems (Camera system, buzzers).”
He said the board is “only in the discussion phase and no decision has been made to seek a bond issue. At this point, the district is just exploring options and is open to all discussion.”
In another matter, Seiter said the annual Cabin Fever Variety Show raised over $4,200. “The Farwell Band Boosters were able to purchase new brass instruments for our band program. Band Director Paul Shimmons and student Tristan Shimmons were at the meeting and presented the exciting news and gave the board a look at the new Tuba and Euphonium.”
The Special Student of The Month for February was High School Principal Dee Yarger. In her efforts towards continuing education, Seiter said Mrs. Yarger has passed her very difficult doctoral composition exams. “It is a great accomplishment,” he said.
Moving the Farwell bus radio communications has been delayed, Seiter said. “The tower site has changed from the original tower to a second tower within the same property owned by TransCanada in Lake George.” He said the board was informed of the delay in signing contracts until all costs and potential liabilities are known to the district.
A process is underway to allow the Clare County Sheriff’s Department to view video surveillance from the secure camera system inside the school buildings in the event of an emergency. Seiter said Thrun Law Firm is documenting the required steps to allow the access, while complying with student privacy issues.
In other business
*Students of the Month were announced. They are: 9th grader Trevor Crowley; 10th grader Clayton Forfinski; 11th grader Cassi Hanna; 12 grader Kaitlyn David and Timberland student Sheila Villegas.
*The board approved an overnight trip for the wrestling team. Two wrestlers from the District Championship team: Tristen Zienkiewicz (160 lbs.) and Glenn Beardsley (112 lbs.) were also Regional Champions and will compete in State Finals this weekend.
*The board approved monthly invoices totaling $330,774.32.