WBCH offers this space to area school superintendents to highlight news in their districts. This posting is from Hastings Area School System Superintendent Carrie Duits:
More than $83,000 in donations from the community and a roster of new teachers that includes Hastings High School alumni, gave evidence to the strength of our Saxon community as the Hastings Area Board of Education wrapped up the 2016-2017 year and prepared for 2017 -2018.
During its regular monthly meeting June 26, the board accepted with great appreciation the following donations from the community totaling $83,860.36: Hastings Athletic Boosters, $2,000, summer athlete weight program, and $5,000 for the spring· sports season Hastings Rotary Club, $4,375, backpack lunch program· Kiwanis Club of Hastings, $500, Roe Reading Room· Edythe Marshall Estate, $1,335.36, High School FFA· Kisscross Events, $650, Hastings Athletic Department· Baum Family Foundation, $70,000, Pay to Play (athletics)· //
Our community supports our Saxons and our Saxons give to the community. It’s great to see so many of our students involved in summer activities. Many played in the Gus Macker tournament and a youth leadership group from area districts worked with Bob Nida at the Y Camp and were recently honored by the Hastings Rotary.
The board approved the personnel report which included the following appointments: Shayna Gibbons, 4th grade teacher, Southeastern Elementary· Lacey Khon, media teacher, Northeastern/Star elementaries· Adam Knapp, English Language Arts (ELA) teacher, middle school· Anthony Knop, social studies teacher, middle school· Margaret Livengood, art teacher, Northeastern/Star· Katie Sanchez, 5th grade teacher, Southeastern· Meg Travis, 4th grade teacher, Southeastern· Shawn Watkins, ELA teacher, high school· Stephanie Watkins, 1st grade teacher, Southeastern· In other action regarding personnel the Board approved the following: The superintendent’s evaluation and contract· The issue of employment contracts district administrators· Continuing employment of non-contract employees· A Master Agreement between the Hastings Area School System and the Hastings· Educational Support Personnel Association A Letter of Agreement with the Hastings Education Association as presented, adding· “Experience Credit” to the 2017-2019 contract. The Board also accepted the personnel report also included notice of the following: Retirement: Linda Miller, bus driver·
To ensure that all Saxons, all students in Barry County, are prepared for and have access to post secondary education the Barry County College Access Network (BCAN) Leadership Team, led by former Saxon Margie Haas, met recently to continue their work. There are two BCAN action teams to support our students with their post-secondary plans, the Affordability Action Team and the Awareness and Aspiration Action Team.
Preparing students for academic success starts with mastering the fundamentals of reading. Curriculum Director Matt Goebel discussed recent Michigan legislation that requires students to be retained if they have not achieved reading proficiency by the end of third grade and what is being done ensure that students achieve the required proficiency. In related action, the board approved the purchase of Pearson’s Reading Street as the primary resource for the Hastings K-5 core reading program. The Board also approved the On Course text as the primary resource for the College and Career Preparation course for the Early Middle College program.
The board also held a first reading on several NEOLA policies regarding: Bylaws· Mandatory courses· Recording of district meetings involving parents and students· Student assessments· Employment of substitutes· Criminal history record check· Opioid antagonists· Bullying and other aggressive behavior toward students· Emergency removal, suspension and expulsion of non-disabled students· Expulsions/suspensions required by statute· Web content· Student records· School safety information· Food services· Wellness· Continuity of organizational operations plan· Information security· Student seclusion and restraint· Homeless students· Children and youth in foster care· Letters of reference· The board approved a travel study request for the Varsity Singers to Carnegie Hall in New York City in the spring of 2018.
It also approved a resolution of membership in the Michigan High School Athletic Association for the 2017 – 2018 school year.
Regarding business the Board approved: A food service shared service agreement with Lakewood Public Schools· The execution of agreements with the following organizations for the 2017 -2018 school year--· Hastings Education Association, Barry Intermediate School District.
The Board held a public hearing on the proposed 2017 -2018 budget, and later adopted the 2017 -2018 General Appropriations Act Budget Resolutions, which defines the parameters for the 2017 -2018 fiscal year. The biggest change in the budget for the 2017 -2018 fiscal year is a decrease in federal funding for disadvantaged students, which is offset somewhat by an increase in state funds.
Closing out the 2016 -2017 fiscal year, the Board approved General Appropriations Act Amendment No. 3 to the General Operating Fund for 2016 -2017. In related action the board approved borrowing up to but not exceeding $3,000,000 to meet cash flow needs for the 2017 -2018 fiscal year until state and federal funds are dispersed.
The board approved a recommendation from administration to adopt the Preliminary Qualification Application for the November 2018 bond issue. The Board previously approved an August millage request for the renewal of the current 17.92 mills.
There are two additional potential proposals for the November ballot. One is new mills taking advantage of the School Bond Loan Fund (0.5) for athletics, transportation, technology, and middle school and high school locker rooms, high school library and cafeteria/kitchen.
The second potential proposal is for a no mill increase to the current millage using capitalized interest to remodel areas of the middle school that are untouched by this bond (carpeting and furniture in the 1997 wing) and some work at the four elementary schools such as carpeting and furniture, and roofs for all buildings.
The Board will review the two potential November ballot proposals and consider a resolution during its next regular meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, July 24 at Central Elementary, 509 South Broadway, Hastings.