The Weyauwega-Fremont School Board is expected to decide later this month whether it will accept a donation of fitness equipment from the W-F Booster Club.
Board President Doug Ehrenberg said the topic will be on the board’s agenda when it meets on Monday, Jan. 27, and the board will vote to either accept or not accept the donation.
The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., in the middle school library.
The booster club voted late last year to donate the equipment to the district’s Physical Education Department to use as it sees fit.
Anytime Fitness donated the lightly used equipment to the booster club last year, because the equipment was the wrong color, according to Booster Club President Tim Cullen.
During the board’s Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, Jan. 13, board member Neal Loehrke again questioned the value of the fitness equipment.
The booster club and Anytime Fitness arrived at a value of $59,000 for the equipment.
When board members wanted a second estimate, the booster club sought one from 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment. That company estimated the value of the donated equipment to be $76,199.
The booster club, which in late 2012 presented its proposal to raise funds to build a fitness center addition to the high school, is using the $59,000 figure as the estimated value of the equipment.
Loehrke said when he contacted 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment, he was told the $76,199 figure quoted was for new equipment and that used equipment is worth about 10 percent of retail value.
Cullen said while other numbers have been thrown around, the booster club did its due diligence when it sought an appraisal.
“I don’t think anyone else has looked at the equipment and given a professional evaluation,” he said. “The equipment is absolutely like new.”
During Monday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting, board member Dan Kohl asked Cullen if the $76,000 figure was for new equipment.
Cullen said he believes the price 2nd Wind quoted was for what they would sell the equipment at.
Loehrke then said, “It’s difficult for me to sit in my chair with those lies.”
While the booster club has two different values for the fitness equipment, it is using the $59,000 estimate.
Cullen believes the $59,000 figure is the right value to be used for the donation.
“I believe we are truly trying to be as fair as we possibly can,” he said.
If the fitness center project moves forward, the equipment will be valued at $59,000 toward the booster club’s portion of Matching Funds Policy 665.
That policy states the Matching Funds Program will be funded annually from the district’s Fund 10 reserve balance only, with any proposed matching funds projects in excess of $1,000 subject to board review and approval.
That program was approved in early 2005.
When the booster club did not complete and submit an application for the program, the school board, in September, rescinded the motion it made last July in favor of using $400,000 from the district’s Fund 10 balance to match the booster club’s doantion of $400,000 in cash and equipment to the district for a fitness center.
The board told the club if it wants to donate $400,000 toward a new fitness center, it has to follow the policy.
The guidelines for the program include project proposal applications being submitted by contributing organizations or individuals proposing a matching fund gift no later than June 1 of the fiscal year prior to the proposed expenditure.
Before the end of 2013, the club did fill out and submit a matching funds request. It has not been forwarded to the board for action.
At one point in Monday’s meeting, board member Sandy Smith said she does not think there should be a discussion about the fitness center project until the board talks about a long range facility study for the district.
On Monday evening, the bids for such a study were opened. The proposals will be discussed during a future Committee of the Whole meeting.
As a result, the board tried to limit its discussion to the equipment the booster club wants to donate.
When Loehrke asked what the Physical Education Department would do with the equipment, District Administrator Scott Bleck said some pieces of equipment could immediately be brought in to enhance what the district has.
The equipment is presently being stored in the district’s old middle school building.
There was again discussion about getting an additional estimate for the equipment’s value.
Bleck said he could seek a quote from fitness centers in the Fox Cities or Waupaca. The vendor that services the equipment in the district’s staff fitness center was also noted as a contact.
Loehrke said too many people are working for the best interest of the booster club and not the school district, and Cullen said one company representative has been contacted numberous times by Neal and his wife, Rachel.
“This is getting to be enough. Knock it off, both of you,” Kohl said to Loehrke and Cullen. “We’ve been dealing with this for 15 months. It’s gotten out of hand. Are you going to drag this out for three to five years?”
Kohl said the value of the fitness equipment the club wants to donate is a “small piece” of the overall project proposal.
“If you don’t like the $59,000, then don’t vote for it. You’re not going to change anybody’s mind anymore,” he said.