Gwinn Superintendent talks bond proposal, sinking fund

GWINN — Tom Jayne is looking forward to the upcoming school year. Jayne, who started his new job as the superintendent at Gwinn July 1, is in the process of re–opening Gilbert Elementary for the first time in two years.

Also on Jayne’s agenda: talking about the upcoming ballot measures that the people in the district will decide on Aug. 4.

“If these pass, this would enable us to not use general fund money, which is used for personnel, programs and athletics,” said Jayne. “It would help us maintain our buildings and help us keep a 1 to 17 ratio of students to teacher that we have currently.”

The sinking fund would help with building maintenance and security measures within the district. Gilbert Elementary is currently in need of a new roof. That comes with a price tag of $200,000.

“I always equate our buildings to owning your own house,” said Jayne. “You know that you have constant maintenance and repair at your house no matter what. Your roof maybe lasts 20-years and that’s the same with your heating system. We’re no different; just times it by a few hundred thousand square feet.”

The sinking fund would be an increase of one mill over a 10–year period. The bond proposal on the ballot is for $1.5 million. That money would go towards replacing what Jayne calls ‘an aging bus fleet’ and technology upgrades for the students, staff, and the buildings.

“We have approximately 14 to 16 bus runs per day. Those buses need constant repair. We get the most out of them, but you have to eventually replace them and they’re $80,000 a piece.”

“A lot of technology costs people don’t understand is behind the scene with your switches, access points, wireless connectivity and your severs. It’s a constant refreshing and refurbishing of their facilities and their educational tools so your students needs are met for the 21st century, added Jayne.”

If the voters were to turn down either proposal or both proposals, Jayne says the money to upgrade these things would come out of the general fund, which could lead to cuts in other areas.

“We would have to make cuts in other areas of the operation, such as personnel and programming,” said Jayne. “That’s the last thing we want to do.”