KND schools ready to transition into summer season

BRETHREN — School districts everywhere are moving into their summer seasons, and this week the Kaleva Norman Dickson Board of Education heard a report on some of the things to expect from principal Jakob Veith.

Cordes

Cordes

Veith told the board that the school office will soon be moving to the summer hours.

“The office will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday until June 30,” said Veith. “The office will then be closed July 1 to Aug. 12. Administration will be in and out of the office throughout the entire summer and we will check voicemails and emails during the closed period.”

Veith said if parents or anyone needs to be contacted during that time frame they should call (231) 477-5353 ext. 2210.

“We will have the office back open the regular 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. hours starting on Aug. 13,” said Veith.

Another summer change he touched on to encourage students to keep up their reading skills is the library would be open two days each month from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. during the summer. Those dates are June 20 and 27, July 11 and 25 and Aug. 1 and 8.

“If a child needs transportation we will be picking up students at the old Wellston Elementary School at 9:55 a.m. and dropping them back off at 12:25 p.m.,” said Veith. “We will also be picking up students at the old Kaleva Elementary at 10:20 a.m. and dropping them off at 12:45 p.m. They also can be getting a free lunch at the school with the summer lunch program while they are here.”

Superintendent Marlen Cordes also delivered a report to the board on the possible changes that could be coming down the road for education after the November election. Cordes and other superintendents met with the Northern Michigan School Legislative Association (NMSLA) and got some projections on what might be coming in the future out of Lansing.

“For the last few years we received millions and millions of dollars from the state for the Michigan Public School Employees’ Retirement System (MPSERS) that came right off the top in the school aid fund for paying down the liability on retirement,” said Cordes. “Charter schools don’t like that because we start out with a pool of money in the school aid fund and when you take away that off of the top the rest gets divided among charter and public school systems.”

Since the charter schools don’t have a retirement system they are not happy with that procedure, so Cordes said their lobbyist said there is no guarantees that will be the formula used going forward.

“We just kind of take those funds for granted, but we are going to have a new governor and who knows what will happen,” said Cordes.

Another thing that may or may not change is the 2X student per pupil payments which has been used to try and bring the lower funded schools up to the same rate as the higher ones.Districts at or near the bottom get twice as much when they do an increase, so this year it is $240 and $120 per pupil based on their current foundation allowance.

“Again there is no guarantee that is going to be the norm moving forward,” said Cordes. “Our current governor has been supportive of the 2X and paying down of the unfunded liability, so going forward that could be kind of scary not knowing who the next governor will be.”

Not all the news was bad as Cordes said the 31A money which is at risk federal funds (that then go through the state) that are used to assist students who are struggling in reading and other areas is not going to be changed for the upcoming year.

“There was some concern they were going to change it, because that was up for renewal this year,” said Cordes. “The thing they were looking changing was if we didn’t meet a target proficiency score on the M-STEP state test. What they were talking about was taking our At Risk dollars and saying up to 50 percent had to be designated for certain things. Fortunately they left it just as is for another year.”

Cordes also pointed out there is a lot of talk from legislators about school safety initiatives and they are putting money aside for it.

“A lot of bills were proposed on school safety after what has been happening recently, but nothing was passed,” said Cordes. “The legislation did take $30 million to set aside and what they anticipate is the legislature will reimburse districts for certain things. If you are going to install door locks, cameras and things like that. They will give it out in the form of grants or things of that nature.”

Board members also went into closed session briefly to discuss changing Cordes’ contract with the district to a straight three year contract instead of the “evergreen” one that he was under. Under the former contract his would renew to a three-year contract every year he received a positive evaluation under a five-year cap. Now it will just be a straight three-year contract that will have to be reviewed and renewed when it expires.

None of the financial terms of the contract or anything else changed from its present status and the  board approved the measure on a 4-0 vote. KND and the Bear Lake School District use Cordes as a dual superintendent and use a formula to split the cost of his salary 56-44 percent.

avatar

Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply