STANTON — The Central Montcalm Public School Board of Education approved a request from the Stanton city manager and amended general and food service funds at Wednesday’s meeting.
Stanton City Manager James Freed explained how the city is in the process of upgrading water and sewer systems to improve the quality of water and improve fire protection for residents.
“We are changing from 6-inch pipes to 12-inch in an antiquated system where residents often see sediment in their water,” Freed said. “We are replacing the water main on Court Street and would like to go out to M-66 to the (Montcalm County) jail, which is one of the largest users.”
The best access, Freed explained, would be an easement on the east and north sides of the Central Montcalm Community Education building, formerly Stanton Elementary School.
“We are asking permission to access that easement,” said Freed, adding the city would cover all costs and restoration of the area.
The work would take place in June and July when school is not in session. Along with improving water quality at the school site, the larger pipes would allow better flow of water for fighting fires.
“As a firefighter, I do know that there is a severe issue of water flow in parts of the city,” said school board member Mark Grossbauer.
“I suggest we let them do it for free (without selling the easement), on the condition that sometime when we have a need, the city could do the same for us,” said Vice President Bill Simpson.
The board approved the proposal in a 6-0 vote, with board member Mike Barnwell absent.
“It is one more way we can partner with the city,” summarized Superintendent Kristi Teall.
The board also approved an amendment to the general and food service budgets, following a decrease in expected revenue.
Ron Simon, associate superintendent of finance for the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District and Central Montcalm Public School, explained that the budget is set in June with enrollment projections.
“Now that we are into the school year, we have known facts, rather than projections, and the budget needs to reflect that,” Simon said.
A decrease in student enrollment, with per pupil funding at $7,000 each, led to a decreased revenue of $350,000, according to Simon. Although there were some unexpected increases in revenue in various line items, the district is still seeing a $27,465 decrease in expected revenues.
Simon said even while being very conservative in spending, more amendments will be necessary.
The food service budget will also see further tweaking following a three-year pattern of increasing expenditures and a decrease in revenues.
The food service budget is currently facing a $28,085 deficit. Teall will meet the food service staff next week to make adjustments.
“I want to reiterate it does not mean we are looking at privatization,” said Teall, explaining that 71 percent of the district’s students qualify for the free or reduced meals, limiting revenue sources.