Onekama boards gets update on sinking fund projects

ONEKAMA — Sinking funds are a wonderful asset to a school district because it gives them the ability to make regular improvements to their buildings and grounds.

In the short time since the voters of the Onekama School District approved a 10-year one, mill Sinking Fund school officials have been able to put it to good use on a variety of building projects. However, many people don’t realize that sinking funds can only be used for new building and grounds and technology projects for a district and can not be used for any other purpose.

This week Onekama Consolidated Schools interim superintendent Mark Parsons updated his board of education on projects that have been completed with sinking fund money and on things they are looking at in the future.

“We have some doors that are being worked on in the middle school area by the gym that still need some final work,” said Parsons. “The windows we added this summer are in, but we are still waiting on window seals for the elementary and the office windows. The rooms were completed other than that and the carpeting is in and we are in good shape on those things.”

Parsons said nothing that hadn’t been finished is going to keep them from functioning at full go.

“Once those get wrapped up it pretty much wraps up our sinking fund projects for this summer,” said Parsons.

The district created a 10-year plan for the sinking funds because that is the length of the levy. Parsons said the primary item for next year will be the resurfacing of the track.

“That is a big one and if you have had the chance to go out on the track you will realize it has served us well for 17 years,” said Parsons. “That is an especially long life for a track in Michigan weather. So we had some preliminary discussion and my experience is we are planning to use our construction manager (Wolgast Construction), and straight forwardness of our projects don’t demand the necessity of an architect. They usually charge a 6 to 7 percent fee, but we will not need a 10 to 12 percent architect fee on top of it.”

Parsons said the construction manager is going to assist with the bids and they hope to get them out this fall to set up the work for next summer.

“It’s a little ahead, but we will get a better price this fall than later,” said Parsons. “If they are busy they will give you a better price than later so it is our advantage to get in the process now. As you know the sinking funds can not be used for any salaries and only on new installations and technology, and you have done a great job on it. The sinking fund has been a tremendous thing to help our students.”

Parsons said the projects on the sinking fund plan can be moved to different times in the schedule depending upon the necessity of things being done sooner. The district has three years at the end of the 10-year sinking fund to use any remaining funds.

Board members also heard from the superintendent that the Wellness Committee is planning to meet at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 20.

“That was a scheduled professional development day, so the members of the committee on staff will be in that meeting, the rest will be in professional development,” said Parsons. “If that committee has a recommendation they agree upon they will bring it to the board as we are reviewing the policy in a timely manner.”

Principal Gina Hagen informed the board that they are reviewing the MSTEP and SAT score results for the past year and will give a more detailed report at the October meeting of the board. She also presented the board with the assessment calendar for the year on when the students will be taking their tests for this year.

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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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