After improvements Bear Lake has $40 K balance from bond money

BEAR LAKE — When people from a school district pass a bond issue for building improvements they want to know where those funds are being put to use.bear-lake-lakers-200x167

This week Bear Lake superintendent Marlen Cordes showed that transparency when he filed a report with his board of education on where the funds have been put to use in the past two years.  The voters of the Bear Lake School district voted to approve a zero mill increase bond proposal  on May 3, 2016, allowing them to borrow $780,000 for capital improvements by refinancing previous debt at the school.

“As of Oct. 2 we still have about $100,000 left from that money, but we still have a few outstanding bills like our refinished gym floor bill, boiler controls, water bottle fillers for the building, bus garage door openers and a few other things,” said Cordes. “So when it is all said and done we will have about $40,000 left, but we have a few things still to do with one of them being to replace windows.”

Cordes said they have spent the money that voters entrusted to them wisely.

“We got our roof, fixed a new bus, the next round of technology, gym floors refinished, new basketball hoops put up in the elementary school gym, a new base floor for the high school gym, new compressor for boiler, a new sign for outside the school and new bleachers for the elementary gym,” said Cordes. “So we really have been able to maximize what the taxpayers have given us and put it to pretty good use.”

The board did hear there were a few concerns with the gym floor painting that have been corrected.

“Some of the white (color) on the floor was yellowing and that was a problem from the manufacturer,” said Cordes. “Every shipment they receive they apply to gym floors in their warehouse in case something like this comes up they know exactly where they used it at and what was done with it. Ourselves and the Mesick Schools had some problems with the white color turning creme very quickly, so they came back in and repainted and coated everything and it looks great. That was all on their cost.”

Board members were also given a presentation by Manistee County Business Cooperative finance director Kris Mauntler on the audit for the past year.

“It was done by Dennis Gartland & Niergarth and was a clean audit,” said Mauntler. “Everything went well with no issues and no adjustments to the statements. It came in better than we budgeted so that is good but still showing a small deficit that we will continue to monitor for the year.”

Cordes added that the deficit came in slightly lower than anticipated.

“We had a projected a deficit of $150,000 for the past year and when it was finished we came in at $75,000 expenditures over revenues,” said Cordes. “We still are spending more than we brought in, but it came out a little better than anticipated.”

Bear Lake principal Sarah Harless said she had some exciting news to deliver to the board in her monthly report.

“The Manistee County Community Foundation awarded a grant to (teacher/drama program director) Amanda Harthun for taking the students on a theater field trip to see a play,” said Harless. “(Science teacher) John Prokes was awarded a grant from the community foundation to purchase an underwater remote vehicle to do science exploration.”

Harless also informed the board that students from the Manistee Intermediate School District were starting a battery recycling program at Bear Lake Schools.

The board also heard from the principal that seniors are already thinking about the next step.

“College Application Month is underway and we have students applying to college and completing the FAFSA in preparation for post graduate studies,” said Harless.

Board members were also given a report from the superintendent on the enrollment numbers for the 2018-19 fall count. Bear Lake came in with 284 students compared to 272.5 this time last year. The fall count determines 90 percent of the per pupil funding the district receives from the state with the remaining 10 percent being based on the February count.

“We are up for the second year in the row and budgeted for 270,” said Cordes. “Not only are we up in projections, but we are up overall in our count.”

The breakdown this year has 141 students in the elementary, 48 in the middle school and 95 in the high school. Last year those numbers were 130.5 for the elementary, 51 for the middle school and 91 for the high school.

Like many districts around the county, the board took action to move its November board meeting not to conflict with the opening day of the deer rifle season. Instead of meeting at 7 p.m. on Nov. 14 the meeting will now be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7 in the school media center.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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