Lakeview school board seeks to ask voters for millage

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 11:00 am on Tuesday, October 09, 2012

LAKEVIEW — The Lakeview Community Schools Board of Education is moving forward with a decision to present a millage proposal to voters next year.

According to Board President Ed Jonaitis at Monday night’s school board meeting, a bond committee headed up by board member Daryl Johnson has been working for several months on a preliminary proposal to seek funds needed to pay for school buses, as well as improvements to Bright Start Elementary School and a few other concerns within the district.

The millage proposal must be submitted to the State Treasurer’s Office for approval before any further action is be considered. If approved, board members will work out the actual numbers prior to their regular meeting in November.

After that, the more detailed plan must again be approved by the treasurer’s office prior to the proposal’s inclusion on the ballot in February.

“It’s all very much just in the planning stages,” Jonaitis said. “We won’t really have a detailed plan at all until next month at the earliest.”

Johnson added there could be a lot of changes in the plan between now and the time it comes before voters in February and that the whole proposal is entirely dependent on the approval of the treasurer’s office.

“It’s hard to say what will happen at this point,” Johnson said.

Another topic of discussion at Monday’s meeting involved old school buses.

According to Superintendent Kyle Hamlin, a recent inspection of the school district’s buses produced unsettling results. Though a previous inspection showed the buses — some of which are 15 to 16 years old — were serviceable, a new inspector ruled some buses require new cross-beams, which could cost about $2,500 per bus.

Considering the age of the buses, Hamlin did not want to sink any additional funds into them.

“I think we’ve got our money’s worth out of them,” Hamlin said. “In the end, we’re going to lease one more bus. In the spring, we’ll have to make a decision of whether we want to buy them outright, but for now we’ve got it under control.”

Hamlin told the board that the buses had previously been given a clean bill of health by an inspector, who said they needed only minor underbody reinforcement. A new inspector, who performed a “pop-in” inspection, had other ideas.

“Things we were allowed to do before, we’re not allowed to do with this new inspector,” Hamlin said. “We had many buses red-tagged, but most of that was for minor things like stereo speakers being too close to the driver and other things that were easily remedied.”

The more serious problem of worn cross beams is difficult to address, however. While arranging the lease of the replacement buses, other area school districts provided loaner buses.

“We have a great relationship with the neighboring districts,” Hamlin said. “They helped us out, just as we’ve helped them out in the past.”

In other business, the board voted to allow an advertising banner from Montcalm Community College to be placed in the high school gym in exchange for a $1,000 stipend.

“This falls within the spirit of the guidelines and our policy,” Hamlin said. “This is advertising telling kids to go to college, which is a good thing.”

The sign will be made of heavy-duty vinyl and will be kept current and in good condition by MCC staff.

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