Williamston schools suffer from enrollment slump

By Kelsey Parkinson
Williamston Post staff writer

While Michigan is recovering from the economic downturn over the past few years, the state’s schools are still suffering – but not from funding. From declining enrollment.

Williamston Community Schools’ student enrollment has gone from 1,884 students during the 2009-10 school year, to 1,799 students this school year, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

chartThis trend is being seen statewide, according to Brian Ciloski, analyst at the MDE.

“Statewide, we went from 1,623,000 in 2009-2010, to 1,523,000 this year,” Ciloski said. “There’s been about 20,000 students a year that the state has been losing.”

What has been causing this downward trend? Williamston School Board Trustee Rhonda Coon thinks that it might have something to do with a kind of “baby boom.”

“The largest graduating class was in 2010, with 191 students graduating,” Coon said. “There was a small baby boom, I guess you could say, in 1991 and 1992. Those kids graduated in 2010.”

Coon herself moved to Williamston at about the time her own son was starting kindergarten. He graduated in 2010.

“There was a lot of growth at the time I moved to Williamston,” Coon said. “We’re now seeing that boom affecting us.”
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Williamston Community School Board deliberates new medication policy

By RuAnne Walworth
Williamston Post staff writer

Williamston Community School Board met Oct. 21 and deliberated on the new policy change of administering medication in the schools.

According to Board President Marci Scott, this is pretty heavy-duty policy change that has been further looked into by the superintendent.

The new policy is recommended by the Michigan Association of School Boards, Trustee Rhonda Coon said. According to the school board, one of the main points the new policy enforces deals with procedures on how medications are distributed to students.

“We are now asking that with prescription medication that there are two adults supervising, rather than just one. The same thing goes for recording use of medication.” Coon said. Continue reading

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Deliberation on new superintendent form for Williamston School District

By Leslie Spector
Williamston Post staff writer

Standing left to right: Secretary Ernie Gaffner, Vice President Lary Ward, President Marci Scott, Treasurer Gordon Wenk Sitting left to right: Trustees Charles Haseman, Rhonda Coon and Jeff West

Standing left to right: Secretary Ernie Gaffner, Vice President Lary Ward, President Marci Scott, Treasurer Gordon Wenk
Sitting left to right: Trustees Charles Haseman, Rhonda Coon and Jeff West

The main topic at the Williamston school board meeting on Monday, Sept. 30, was the superintendent evaluation form.

Currently, the Williamston Board of Education uses the Michigan Association of School Boards evaluation for the superintendent. Narda Murphy, superintendent of the Williamston school district, suggested to the board to switch to the Michigan Association of School Administration, or M.A.S.A., superintendent evaluation.

Murphy prepared a PowerPoint presentation for the meeting, which included information about the new evaluation and an explanation of how the board could benefit.

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School districts count on students to show

By Derek Kim
Williamston Post staff writer

Williamston High School Principal Jeffrey Thoenes paid close attention to the size of his student body on Wednesday.

Feb. 13 was Count Day for Michigan public schools. Counts determine the size of the approximately 80 percent share of funding that school districts get from the state.

“We run our curricular, co-curricular and athletic programs with that money. Without Count Day, we would be nothing,” Thoenes said.

Thoenes, who is entering his third year at Williamston High School, said the daily routine does not significantly change despite the day’s importance. The secretarial staff receives the lion’s share of the work, tracking attendance and documenting a multitude of state-required forms. Continue reading

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Second try for school repair tax on May ballot

By Michelle Armstead
Williamston Post staff writer

The Williamston School Board plans to put a tax proposal on the May ballot to fund school repairs. Voters rejected a similar proposal Nov.6.

The state allows the district to establish a sinking fund rather than a bond to pay for school repairs; according the Steve Cook, director of finance, the district’s debt structure does not levy enough millage to cover its current bonds. The last bond issue was given in 2005.

In December, it was reported that Williamston High School had cracked floors, leaking ceilings in multiple areas of the school and a broken boiler. The district reported that there were eroding parking lots, rusted doors and damaged carpeting.

With the sinking fund the money could be used to improve or replace heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems equipment; flooring such as carpet, tile flooring and rubber flooring; and sidewalks, parking lots, doors and windows.

These improvements have been put on a “wish list” made by Cook.

Moreover, Cook stated that there is several million dollars of expenses all together.
“For the most part there’s at least over $1 million to be spent in roofs alone,” he added.

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Sinking fund school money battle continues

Williamston High School

By Cortney Erndt
Williamston Post staff writer

WILLIAMSTON — Williamston Community Schools still have leaking ceilings and a problematic boiler after the rejected Sinking Fund Proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The proposal included a levy of 1.00 mill ($1 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) which would raise approximately $385,000 when first levied in 2012, beginning as soon as the proposal was passed. The sinking fund would have had a 10-year duration.

Local tax millage is levied on all property located in a local district. Allowable use of the district’s sinking funds would have been repairs on roofing, boilers, flooring and remodeling of existing school buildings.

The high school has been dealing with cracking floors, leaking ceilings and a broken boiler. School Board Member Steve Cook said the district also has eroding parking lots, rusted doors and damaged carpeting. Continue reading

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New life for sinking fund proposal

by Dylan Sowle
Williamston Post staff writer

The Williamston School Board plans to take a sinking fund proposal back to voters following its defeat on Nov. 6.

The board decided Nov. 19 to attempt to get the proposal on the ballot early in 2013. The opportunity will come in either the February or May election, but the deadline to get the proposal on the February ballot is Dec. 4.

School board members seemed to agree that a lack of knowledge on the proposal, as well as a full ballot contributed to voters turning down the sinking fund. School board member Ernie Gaffner acknowledged this issue, saying that with so many issues on the ballot, people simply lost interest.
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Voters reject sinking find tax proposal

By Cortney Erndt
Williamston Post staff writer

WILLIAMSTON — Williamston Community Schools’ sinking fund proposal was rejected on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The proposal included a levy of 1.00 mill ($1 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) which would raise approximately $385,000 when first levied in 2012. The sinking fund would have had a 10-year duration.

City of Williamston Precinct 1 was the only area that favored the proposal with 502 for the sinking fund and 468 against.

The issue failed 3,084 to 2,707. Williamstown Township rolled in 787 “no” votes, leaving Precinct 1 with the most voters against the proposal.
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Sinking fund for schools to be on November ballot

by Lindsay Dunbar

Williamston Post staff writer

The School Board of Education in Williamston has approved moving forward with its first Sinking Fund Ballot Proposal.

The state allows school districts to establish a sinking fund rather than going the traditional route of a bond.

Charles Hasemann, school board member, explains that the sinking fund will be created by gathering the local tax millage levied on all property within a district. “All properties in the district will be taxed,” said Hasemann.

The sinking fund will be used to maintain buildings. It cannot be used on small capital items such as computers, textbooks or furniture. The fund is for high-priced projects such as new boilers, flooring or roofing.
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