MARQUETTE - Enrollment is up for the Marquette Area Public Schools district, and that's something to be happy about, said Superintendent Deb Veiht during Monday evening's MAPS Board of Education meeting.
"We are going to be, conservatively, 65-70 students over what we planned for," Veiht said. "This is probably the first time in a long time that we've had good bad news in that we have more students than we had planned for - and these numbers are pretty solid. We don't see a lot of up and down. They're staying pretty consistent."
As of Friday, the district had a head count of 3,144 students, Veiht said. The district's official total last year was 3,091.27 full-time enrolled students.
Veiht and Assistant Superintendent for Finance Deb Barry also informed the board of three key capital expenditure projects identified for the upcoming school year: replacing the Cherry Creek Elementary School roof, updating the district's technology capabilities and purchasing two buses.
"This is a nice discussion to have because we haven't had this in recent years, other than the things that need to be done within our district, usually on a 'it's ready to blow,' crisis basis," said Veiht.
Director of Auxiliary Services John Kurkowski was available during the meeting to answer any questions the board had on the identified projects. He said the Cherry Creek roof was one of the most urgent items on the list and that work on replacing it should begin as soon as spring hits.
"We had a couple of employees from Closner (Construction) up on there assessing it and they said 'You need to get this taken care of next spring,' and I appreciate their wisdom as it relates to that roof," Kurkowski said. "We need to get it taken care of. We're constantly battling leaks and it's going to be a tough year for that roof."
The board also discussed updating the district's technology in the classroom and on the administrative side of things - specifically moving the district's files from paper to a digital format.
"When you just look at the special ed files alone, Mr. Kurkowski had to move from the high school to Vandenboom (Child Development Center), we filled up part of the library and we still have half of them over in our office," Veiht said. "It's time for us to be digitally printing things out, and be able to search (digitally)."
Identified projects for the 2013-2014 school year are fixing the Marquette Senior High School parking lot, which has been having problems with developing sinkholes, adding four classrooms to Superior Hills Elementary School and purchasing new boilers for Sandy Knoll Elementary School, which is still using the boilers installed when the building was constructed in the 1950s.
The board also discussed refinancing its current bonds in an effort to save taxpayers a projected $245,067 or a cumulative total of 0.22 mills over the next eight years.
The board will look to pass a resolution at their Sept. 24 meeting that would allow the bond to be called in May, 2013, with a projected sale in January or February. The bond would be competitively bid out.
Board President Scott Brogan was not present at the meeting.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.