Friday, September 16, 2016

News and Notes: 3.2

Let's talk money in this issue. I took some time last week, and again this week, to share with parents information on a tax which will appear on the November ballot (AKA: sinking fund). I handed out information sheets to those looking for more detail but wanted to make sure we covered our bases here as well. In reality, I know people are really busy with all kinds of issues that life tosses at them. So, I am refraining from hitting the information overload button, and instead come at you with some fast facts. 
  • The tax is a 3 year, 1 mill increase.
  • It is called a sinking fund...nobody knows why. I can guarantee you that the buildings are not sinking.
  • The Board's proposal will generate approximately $335,000 annually for 3 years.
  • The average annual cost to homeowners in WL is $75.
  • Sinking funds are better than a bond because they are short term and taxpayer contributions never go to pay interest. The amount of revenue slowly goes down as projects are completed. (Maybe that is why it is called a sinking fund?)
  • High on the priority list, if the proposal passes, are replacement of aging technologies and ventilation systems along with redesigning classroom spaces to best accommodate the learning taking place in them. Our athletic fields at WLHS will also get some much-needed attention.
I am open to discussing this topic with any group. My role is to share information, and I will, proudly, tell you how well we have been managing money in the past few years. For instance, the State of Michigan re-constructed its school loan borrowing fund a few years ago. That action sent tax increases, involuntarily, up to 9.8 mills in this district. We didn't have any control over the increase. However, we reacted to it. The Board has approved two refinancing plans over the past year. That 9.8 mill assessment will be brought down to 8.95 mills this school year, saving the tax payers money! Another example is the WLPS fund balance is climbing each year. We went from less than 0.2% to 6.6% in two years. Our turnaround and our approach to facility management has garnered the attention of many. Recently, I was working with a county superintendent north of here. He commented that only two districts have used a revenue-generating model to pull themselves out of financial stress--WLPS is one of them.
The bottom line is we know the quality of education is critical in this region. We intend on providing the best in the business; but without stability, the gains we make will be slow. More information will be presented to our stakeholders in the coming weeks. We will be updating our web page, Facebook page and Twitter accounts to keep you in the loop. I will also be hosting a Facebook Live Q and A on Tuesday, September 27 from 6:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. where I'll be answering additional questions voters have on the issue. If you have a particular question, submit it HERE by Friday, September 23. Otherwise, tune in to our Whitmore Lake Public Schools page that Tuesday. It is also the topic of conversation at each Board Meeting, which are open to the public.
Keep the days of education in WL great. We want every day to be a great day to be a Trojan.
New Staff
Join me in welcoming those new to the WLPS staff.

1. Jaylon Sims, WLES Music Teacher
Fun Fact(s): Jaylon did not get his driver's license until he was 21. And while his paternal grandparents had 13 children and his maternal grandparents had 10 children, he is an only child.

2. Mandy McClain, WLPS Occupational Therapist
Fun Fact(s): She has plans to hike the Appalachian Trail one day,and is married with one cat and two hermit crabs.

3. Cara Lawhead, WLES Special Education Teacher
Fun Fact(s): Cara is engaged, and she and her fiancé have a beautiful two-year-old daughter named Dahlia. Her favorite children's book growing up was Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

4. Brittany Liss, WLES Paraprofessional, primarily in 6th grade as an academic interventionist
Fun Fact(s): Brittany's favorite food is steak and she has two dogs, which she says she loves and is obsessed with.

5. Lori Dancik, WLES Paraprofessional
Fun Fact(s): Lori has two children attending WLPS and one who graduated last year and is a freshman at Central Michigan University.

6. Meredith Lynn, WLES Title 1 Teacher
Fun Fact(s): She has a puggle named Sadie with her husband of six years, Brandon. She is an avid board game player, owning over 100 games.

7. Amber Masterson, WLPS Social Worker
Fun Fact(s): Amber lives with her husband, two children and a dog named Izzy. She is a Michigan State graduate.

8. Molly Lindeman, WLHS Math Teacher
Fun Fact(s): Another Michigan State graduate, Molly played center for her high school basketball team, even though she is only 5'5".

9. Amy Berg, WLHS Social Worker
Fun Fact(s): Married with three lovely boys, unlike Mrs. Masterson and Mrs. Lindeman, Amy is a graduate of University of Michigan. Go Blue!

10. Mai Huynh, ES and ECC Paraprofessional
Mai is quite a traveler, having lived in Kansas, Texas, Florida and now Michigan. And she is a self-proclaimed lover of any food as long as it is fried!

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