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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Board of Education has approved a long-term 10-year capital improvement plan for Fund 46 that includes for this year repaving parking lots, maintenance upgrades, an LP bus and technology upgrades.
The Colfax school district started Fund 46 six years ago, said William C. Yingst Jr., district administrator, at the Colfax school board’s June 21 meeting.
Under state law, school districts can deposit funds left over at the end of the school year into Fund 46, which can then be used for capital improvements after the fund has been in existence for five years.
The five-year waiting period for the Colfax school district ended last year in June.
With $322,052 left over from the 2019-2020 budget last July, which the school board approved transferring to Fund 46, the Colfax school district’s Fund 46 now contains about $460,000.
Since schools were closed statewide in mid-March of 2020 because of COVID-19, the Colfax school district had a full quarter of being shut down — no regular bus routes, no athletics, no field trips — resulting in more than $300,000 that could be used for Fund 46.
If the money is not transferred to Fund 46 and remains in the general fund, the school district will not receive state aid for the money, Yingst reminded school board members at the June 21 meeting.
As long as projects are included on a capital improvements list, Fund 46 money can be used for those projects, he said.
Included each year for the next 10 years are LP buses and technology upgrades as well as repaving where necessary.
In 2022-2023, the capital improvements plan includes security upgrades, and in 2023-2024, the plan includes roof replacement and carpeting and ceiling tile replacement or maintenance at the elementary, middle school and high school.
In 2024-2025, athletic facility upgrades are included in the capital improvements plan along with roof replacement.
In 2025-2026, new digital controls for the elementary school’s heating and ventilation system are part of the plan.
In 2026-2027, boiler replacement is one of the capital improvements.
The boilers usually last for 25 to 30 years, and by the time the boilers come up on the capital improvements plan, they will be at the end of their useful life, Yingst said.
In 2027-2028, domestic water conservation and outdoor lighting, along with a one-year energy education program, are included in the long-term investment plan.
In 2028-2029, carpeting and ceiling tiles are once again on the list, along with a greenhouse thermal curtain.
In 2029-2030, nothing new is added to list beyond repaving, LP buses and technology upgrades.
In 2030-2031, the long-term investment plan includes carpeting and ceiling tile again, repaving, LP buses and technology upgrades.
The cost for each year of the capital improvements plan ranges from $225,000 for 2020-2021 to $910,000 in 2025-2026, which is largely driven by the new digital controls at the elementary school estimated to cost $700,000.
Would there be an advantage to re-arranging the capital improvements plan so that the yearly amounts are smoothed out and are more even rather than $200,000 one year and $900,000 another year? asked Ken Bjork, school board member.
“Yes,” Yingst replied.
The problem is the uncertainty of the state education budget in any given year, he said.
The Board of Education has until July 31 to transfer money not used by June 30 to Fund 46, Yingst said.
The school board unanimously approved the long-term investment 10-year capital improvement plan.
In other business, the Colfax Board of Education:
• Learned that for the 2021-2022 school year, Colfax High School will be offering 39 credits that can be put toward a two-year or four-year degree in the following courses: horticulture, medical terminology, MS office, marketing, accounting, psychology, sociology, statistics, Sign Language II, speech, computer aided drafting, economics, AP Biology, AP English, AP Calculus and AP Psychology.
• Learned that 349 students at Colfax Elementary participated in the Accelerated Reader program with an average comprehension score of 89 percent. Research shows students who maintain a comprehension score of 90 percent or higher can make two years of reading growth in one year. All together, 160 students ended the year with a score of 90 percent or higher. Among the students, a total of nearly 107 million words were read, with 16 students who read over one million words, five students who read more than two million words, two students who read more than three million words, and one student who read more than four million words.
• Learned that the elementary school’s virtual art show and spring concert are available to watch on the Colfax school district’s website at www.colfaxk12.wi.us.
• Learned that Colfax Elementary once again.will be offering Summer Saunters. This year’s event is scheduled July 6, 7 and 8 for students in third, fourth and fifth grade. Students will participate in hiking different sections of the Ice Age Trail and learning about the geology, history and geography of the area.
• Learned that the school district’s equalization aid from the state was $1,632,790.83 disbursed on June 21. The equalization aid had $291,000 deducted for the open enrollment pay out, $16,600 deducted for private school tuition, and $7,000 deducted for the Challenge Academy.
• Learned that the school district’s annual meeting is scheduled for August 16 at 6 p.m. The regular school board meeting will follow at 7 p.m.
• Established a date of Monday, July 12, for the audit review meeting at 6 p.m., and established the budget review meeting on July 12 at 6:30 p.m.
• Approved authorization to pay any invoices due by June 30 and to complete any budget adjustments as necessary.
• Approved transferring the school district’s Money Market account from Bremer Bank to Dairy State Bank. The school district’s Money Market account has been at Bremer Bank for 20 years, but since Bremer closed the bank office in Colfax, moving the account to Dairy State Bank will be more convenient, Yingst said.
• Approved membership with the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) for the 2021-2022 school year. The WIAA eliminated membership dues and fees at the annual meeting in 2017. Colfax boys’ sports will include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, track and field and a cooperative program in golf and wrestling. Girls’ sports will include basketball, cross country, softball, track and field, volleyball, and a cooperative program in golf.