The L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to waive rental fees for nonprofit groups using the recently constructed Harry L. Wheeler Community Center and Administrative Offices facility.
Community groups seeking the center are split into four categories used to decide the group's fee, Board Trustee David Fowler said before the meeting at at the Wheeler Center off Gratiot Avenue in Clinton Township. Qualifying groups will be able to use the facility free of charge through June 30, 2013.
“Part of what we want is for the community to come to this facility and use it,” Fowler said.
Board policy states that fees or rental charges for the use of any district facility or grounds can be established to cover the costs of school personnel, utilities or any supplies needed, said Anita Monte, the district’s chief financial officer.
“This is a brand new building, and we decided to waive fees for certain groups to use this building for the first year, then go from there,” Board Treasurer Jeffrey DiPascale told the board.
Including the new administration building, the district spent $12 million on construction projects over the summer, Superintendent Jacqueline Johnston said.
“Normally, we spend $1 million-1.5 million" on summer construction, said Linda McLatcher, board vice president. “This year, we put over $12 million into our schools and we did all of this in 10 weeks.”
Funding from Build America allowed the district to save about 35 percent on construction costs, McLatcher added.
“After all of that work, in our Series Three budget, we have a contingency amount of $1.4 million, and in our Series A, we’re looking at a contingency of a little over $307,000,” McLatcher said during the meeting.
“Construction was on time and on budget,” Johnston added.
Johnston and board members recapped some of the other work that was done over the summer while discussing the opening of the 2012-13 school year:
- Nearly 12,000 students attended L’Anse Creuse schools on Sept. 4, the first day of school.
- The district hired seven administrators, 19 teachers and 18 support staff members through a “comprehensive interview process.”
- The district distributed 125 backpacks stuffed with school supplies during a student enrollment fair held at the Frederick V. Pankow Center.
- All athletics are underway.
- All schools are now wireless capable. McLatcher said the district gave grant money to teachers last year to bring technological ideas into the classroom. This “technology pilot” will be expanded throughout this fall while administrators find out what works.
- Students in grades 3-9 have started preparing for the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP).
“I did a tour of all of the buildings and classrooms and I can tell you, the staff are working really hard and, more importantly, so are the kids,” Johnston said.
Additionally, board members unanimously approved the purchase of about 170,000 gallons of diesel fuel and about 17,000 gallons of gasoline while also extending the Macomb/Oakland fuel consortium that the district has participated in since 2006.
The agreement helps reduce fuel costs and allows Spencer Oil to deliver the fuel directly to the district, Monte explained after the meeting. She said 21 school districts in Macomb County participate in this consortium.