Lansing D.158 to issue $10M in bonds for school upgrades

2013-05-19T20:45:00Z 2013-05-19T22:38:08Z Lansing D.158 to issue $10M in bonds for school upgradesPaul Czapkowicz Times Correspondent
May 19, 2013 8:45 pm  • 

LANSING | The Lansing Elementary District 158 School Board is proceeding with plans to sell $10 million in working cash bonds to pay for improvements to district buildings.

A public hearing took place prior to Wednesday's board meeting.

"These working cash bonds are to be used to finish the phase four of our Reavis (Elementary School) remodeling/renovation and in addition to that a couple smaller projects," D.158 Business Manager Doug Handley said.

Additional projects include replacing two boilers and upgrading the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at the Lester Crawl Primary Center, as well as creating a more secure entranceway at Coolidge Elementary School.

During the regular meeting, the board approved unanimously a resolution that declares its intent to issue the bonds.

Handley said the bonds likely will be sold this summer and the district will "structure them in the best possible way that we can to minimize the effect on our taxpayers."

In other district news:

• The board accepted Superintendent Cecilia Heiberger's recommendation to freeze student book fees for the 2013-14 school year.

Board member Anthony Arens cast the only vote against keeping the fees the same. He recommended an increase of $5 or $10.

"We're going out for the people that use these schools, we're going out to borrow," Arens said. "We're going to borrow $10 million. I think we should raise our book fees."

The current book fee is $30 per student, with a maximum of $75 per family. If payment is made at the time of registration, the fee is $15 per student with a maximum of $40 per family.

New board member Jeffry Kiester inquired if the district's book budget normally runs at a deficit and was told by Board President Robert Wood that it does.

"We've never come close to paying for our textbooks with student fees," Wood said.

Kiester abstained from voting on the fees, saying he did not have enough information on the matter.

The district had waived book fees for the 2011-12 school year.

In 2010-11, the fees were $75 per student with a $200 maximum per family. If paid at registration, the cost was $60 per student with a $180 maximum.

Wood said collection was a problem when fees were higher. He said more people pay the fees when they are lower.

"It was so time-consuming to try to track down the nonpayees," Wood said.

• The board approved unanimously a one-year contract extension with Kickert School Bus Lines to provide student transportation for the 2013-14 school year.

"They are not requesting an increase," Handley said. "Probably more importantly, in the terms of their contract, they are not asking for a fuel escalation clause."

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