Bear Lake school board preparing for upcoming election

BEAR LAKE — On May 3 voters in the Bear Lake School District will be voting on a zero mill millage increase request that will provide $780,000 for capital improvements in the district.

The Bear Lake Board of Education is meeting with members of the public to discuss the upcoming millage.

The Bear Lake Board of Education is meeting with members of the public to discuss the upcoming millage.

The Bear Lake Schools Board of Education members were given an update on that upcoming election on Wednesday evening by superintendent Marlen Cordes.

The funds would be used to replace sections of the school roof, to purchase a new bus and for computer technology purchases. Cordes explained how approval of this request will not increase what district taxpayers are currently paying in taxes.

“It came about as result of when we refinanced the existing bonds, and it was pointed out to us by the business office that there is an option of a zero mill increase,” said Cordes. “As a board we started looking at our needs and what we could do to ease the burden on the general fund with school finance being what it is.”

Cordes said when they looked at what a zero mill increase would raise, they prioritized the biggest needs in the district.

“Based upon those discussions we have several sections of our built up roof that need replacing,” he said Cordes. “We have about 33,500-square-feet of that which needs replacing and when we got our estimates it will cost about $550,000 to replace it. These sections were not done when we did the roof in 2002.”

He said other needs are a bus for $85,000 and the next round of technology upgrades for $115,000.

Cordes told the board they have set up a variety of meetings in the community to talk about the election.

“It is just to kind of go and give out some information on the upcoming zero mill election,” said Cordes.

Board members agreed to attend those information meetings with Cordes, as the object is to make sure the community understands exactly what it is voting on.

Cordes also reported to the board about a grant that schools have filed with the Manistee County Local Revenue Sharing Board in its Cycle I grants. The schools are asking for money to purchase a door  camera and buzzer system.

That system would allow the schools to keep their doors locked at all times. Anyone wanting access to the buildings would need to push a buzzer that would be combined with an intercom and camera for security reasons. It would allow school officials to monitor who is entering the building.

“That would allow us to keep everyone safe, which is what it’s all about,” said Cordes.

Security was a big topic of discussion at Wednesday’s meeting as the board was also given an update on the Nightlock project that is coordinated by City of Manistee Public Safetey Director David Bachman.

Board members showed how the system works and secures the doors in the event that an intruder tries to enter the building.

“We are in the process of installing them right now,” said Cordes. “Our custodian is in the process of installing 30 more Nightlocks that were dropped off just the other day.”

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