Saunders, Rossway thank public for approval of sinking fund millage

MARQUETTE – Marquette Area Public Schools Superintendent Bill Saunders thanked the public Monday night during the district’s Board of Education meeting for approving the district’s sinking fund millage request.

“We’re extremely grateful and appreciative for everyone who’s supported our district in getting that sinking fund passed,” Saunders said. “Again, a huge game changer for our district, not just over the 10-year life of the sinking fund but, in my mind, for generations of students to come. That’s going to have a huge, lasting impact on our district, well past some of our existence here.”

He said the money would begin coming in with the winter tax rolls. It is expected to collect roughly $1.1 million in its first year.

Saunders also gave the board a lengthy update on each school building’s progress in preparing for the new school year to begin, adding the annual custodial luncheon would take place Friday in the Graveraet courtyard with a barbecue to thank them for their hard work over the summer. He also recognized each of the athletes who participated in the Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Services Agency Student Athlete Leadership Workshop.

At the end of the meeting, Board Vice President Mike Kohler and President Rich Rossway also thanked area voters that turned out in support of the 10-year, .95 mill sinking fund request on the Aug. 5 primary ballot.

“I’m appreciative of the community for supporting the board and the school system in passing the millage. That was a welcome vote and an overwhelming vote, I believe, in support of schools and our practice of being fiscally responsible, so we look forward to utilizing those funds,” Rossway said.

The only action taken by the board was to unanimously approve bids for food service from Bimbo Bakery, Jilbert Dairy, Little Ceaser’s, and Rick Holmes Enterprises, which owns Subway franchises in the area.

Many were the only companies to bid.

Trustees Brian Cherry and Laura Songer did not attend the meeting.

Fred Cole, lead negotiator for the teachers union, also spoke during public comment, discussing contracts reached by other Upper Peninsula school districts.

The teachers and district have been negotiating a new contract for months, with little progress made toward a final deal.

Currently, the teachers are working under their 2012-2013 contract.

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.