BELDING — It’s been three years since voters in Belding approved a hefty bond resolution to improve facilities and technology for Belding Area Schools.
The remaining funds are now being allocated after all the major projects have been completed.
With a new high school auditorium, gymnasium, cafeteria and commons area, baseball and softball fields, additions to Ellis Elementary School, renovations at the middle school, districtwide iPads for nearly all teachers and students, and several other projects, the majority of the $38 million bond project approved by voters in 2010 has been used to greatly enhance the district.
With a remaining balance of $487,277.78 in funds, the Belding school board voted unanimously Monday evening to approve the purchase of a number of “wish list” items with a majority of the remaining funds, totaling $293,734. Those items range from a new library for the high school band program’s music room to a variety of technology upgrades, including more iPads and other computer accessories.
Superintendent Sara Shriver said that the trio of Facilities Director Bill Helmer, Finance Director Adrienne Barna and former superintendent and current High School Assistant Principal Leslie Mount have worked together with the district’s bond committee to allocate the remaining funds as needed throughout the district.
“As we are finishing out the bond projects all across the district, we have these contingency funds that we’ve been monitoring all along,” Shriver said. “They’ve been meeting during many progress meetings and stay very detailed on a regular basis on how much money has been spent and how much is left to spend.”
Shriver said after a holding pattern of several months in which no remaining bond money has been spent, the last few weeks saw progress in determining how the money should now be allocated.
After the completion of the list of “wish list” items, all that were bid out and are not to exceed their listed bid, Shriver said the department was left with $193,543.78 that will eventually be used for small upgrades throughout the district.
“It leaves not a huge amount, but an amount left that is still unallocated,” she said. “We’re just proposing that it goes toward some general fund needs that would include carpets, windows, roofs — all of those kinds of things.”
School Board President Tom Humphreys said that he is proud of how he has seen the bond funds allocated over the past three years throughout the district.
“I remember when the bond started, when we were first talking about it. It just really is incredible. I think it was the right time for us to pursue that bond,” Humphreys said. “All of the additional things that we’ve been able to get to improve our facilities and service our students, creating extra education opportunities, because of pricing and close attention to detail on bids. We’ve really gotten a lot for the citizen’s of Belding’s money and everyone involved and the community as a whole should be proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
Board member Scott McNeal agreed with Humprheys and said he was impressed with the amount of items the district was able to obtain with the last of the remaining bond fund balance.
“I’m just impressed that we’re able to get all of these little things that we’ve been looking for, it’s like a blessing,” McNeal said. “it’s awesome. Everything’s covered.”
Also at Monday’s meeting, the Belding school board:
• Unanimously approved revisions to the district’s iPad handbook to change language involving lost, stolen or damaged iPads to be handled on a case-by-case basis.
• Unanimously approved the hiring of a part time technology support technician to assist with daily technology needs at 20 hours per week.
• Unanimously awarded a contract for snow removal at Woodview and Ellis elementary schools to CL Trucking at $200 per hour and snow removal at the bus garage lot to Bush Landscaping at $80 to $95 per hour.
• Unanimously approved an updated districtwide Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan.
• Unanimously approved four out-of-state trips for students, funded by student fundraisers, as follows:
• FFA Trip to National FFA Convention, Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, Louisville, Ky.
• Art and Book Club Trip, April 25-27, 2014, Chicago, Ill.
• Baseball Spring Break Trip, April 3-10, 2014, Coca Beach, Fla.
• Softball Spring Break Trip, April 4-8, 2014, Myrtle Beach, S.C.