Friday, October 14, 2016

News and Notes: 3.6

The Night the Lights Went Out: A Sinking Fund Update

This is a quick story about an unexpected facility problem. Many of you lost power this week during the height of a rain storm, which somehow did not affect WLPS. However, if you were at the high school campus early in the week (to attend National Honor Society inductions as an example, which is a pretty cool event), you likely experienced a dark parking lot. That was a WLPS problem.

At the root of the problem was an underground cable. The line provided power to perimeter lights and the athletic fields. Repairing it quickly was a high priority. The costs to fix the problem came from the district's general fund or instructional fund. If a building and site fund, or sinking fund, was in place, the problem could have been fixed without affecting our  instructional fund. In the scheme of a year, this repair isn't a huge expense; however, adding a few of them together over the course of a year is.

This example is important because is represents how our school board will use a portion of the revenue collected if the tax proposal passes on November 8. I have identified a few projects that are necessities and will remain top priorities: technology improvements, classroom modifications, HVAC systems and athletic field repairs as examples. But covering the unexpected is a part of the usage plan as well. It is a challenge to communicate, though, and hard to quantify. I have estimated that 1% of our budget is dedicated to these unexpected but necessary facility repairs.

Now, the lights are on. And the district is in a healthy place financially. Our student count is slightly above predicted levels and our fund balance keeps climbing. Continuing to let high-quality programs in our schools which directly benefit our students is now a main goal. Please make sure your voting is informed on November 8.

Cross Country: Breaking School Records
If you haven't checked out the footage from last week's Homecoming game as featured on Game of the Week, head to our twitter page: While there was a ton of excitement involving the parade, game and dance, the achievements of our Cross Country teams might have been the most exciting by far. Last Saturday at the Portage Invitational Junior Colton Siegel set a new personal best of 17:16 finishing 47th out of 308 runners. If that wasn't enough, Trey Cucuro set a new school record with 15:51 and finished 4th out of 308 runners! Our boys team is now ranked 23rd in the entire state in division 3 and is first place in the Tri-County Conference (TCC). And our girls are third in the TCC!
Last spring the team decided they no longer wanted to be just an average CC team; so with hard work, dedication and a ton of miles put in this summer and fall, along with the Blue Lion workouts, they are far from average.
You can head to Hudson Mills this Saturday at 8:45 a.m. to see the team in action. And if you can't make that, catch them on October 22, Huron Meadows at 9:30 a.m.

Grants and Crowdfunding
We have very resourceful teachers who seek out creative ways to bring new and exciting things into our classrooms for our students. At the end of September our 5th-8th graders had a visit from the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum during science class for a wind energy workshop. During this workshop students built a desktop wind turbine, experimented with blade design and other components to figure out what would be the most efficient design for a wind power generator. Touching on concepts ranging from potential and kinetic energy to energy transformation, the lesson really came alive with this workshop which normally costs $1,200. But thanks to Mr. Kobeck's resourcefulness, he secured a grant from DTE to cover the cost entirely. Mr. Kobeck also received a $100 "Back-to-School" grant from the Meemic Foundation and this summer to help with supplies for his classroom. 

During the summer Elementary teacher Mrs. Matovski used a crowd funding program called DonorChoose to secure nearly $1,000 in flexible seating options (as seen to the left) for her classroom such as Hokki stools and wobble cushions. After getting wind that Target was granting up to $1,000 per proposal aimed at improving physical health/exercising, she put a proposal together. After fundraising around $300 from friends and family, Target picked up the project and covered near $600 of the costs. Now her classroom is almost fully based on a flexible seating concept, and so far the students are responding very positively to the new options.

At WLPS we do not sit around waiting for things to come to us. We make things happen for our kids, for our families and for our community. And these two projects are perfect examples. Join me in congratulating them on a job well done.

No comments:

Post a Comment