MAPS board Oks millage renewal for November

MANISTEE — The word renewal will be heard a great deal over the course of the next several months in the Manistee Area Public Schools district.maps school board

What is driving that is action taken on Wednesday evening by the MAPS Board of Education to seek a renewal of the 18 mill non-homestead operating millage on Nov. 16. This is a task that has to be done periodically by all school districts to make sure they receive their revenue per pupil foundation allowance.

MAPS superintendent Ron Stoneman stressed to the board and the community that the key word is “renewal” and that this is not any new taxes within the district.

“Your primary residence will not see any increase or change as this is for secondary residence and other property that this if used for,” said Stoneman. “We need to pass this to receive our per pupil foundation allowance.”

Business manager Howard Vaas explained there is a reason they are doing this now instead of when the millage expires in 2019.

“We are trying to get on the same cycle with the governor’s election because doing it that way saves us money since we don’t have to hold a special election,” said Vaas.

What the millage renewal calls for is to authorize the millage rate limitation of 18 mills ($18 on each $1,000 of taxable evaluation) on the amount of taxes which may be assessed  against all property except principal residence and other property exempted by law. If approved by the voters it will renewed for four years from 2020 to 2023.

The current millage will expire with the 2019 tax levy meaning those funds would stop at that time. Failure to renew the millage would result in the loss of $4,249,150 to the district.

Board members voted 4-0 to approve putting  the measure on the ballot with Paul Wehrmeister, Jim Thompson, Daniela Thomas and Dale Sparks approving it. Board members Shelley Johnson, Dr. Paul Antal and Richard Edmondson were not present for the meeting.

MAPS board members were also introduced to Dave Cox, who is the the Manistee and Wexford Missaukee Intermediate School districts interim dual superintendent. Cox was named to the position in June and given a six month contract after former superintendent Jeff Jennette resigned in May. Jennette stepped down because he was relocating to Texas where his wife is currently stationed in the military.

Cox is visiting all the board of education meetings in Manistee County so the board members within the Manistee ISD will get the opportunity to meet him.

“I am going to all the local meetings to get a chance to put some names and faces together,” said Cox. “I look forward to working with you and am looking into some things that will hopefully bring some vocational and adult education programs to the Manistee area.”

Another item to come before the board at Wednesday’s meeting was approval by a 4-0 vote to grant tenure to band director Andrea Mack.

Food service director Keri Carlson brought several items before the board for consideration and review. One of those was an increase in the cost of an adult lunch in the district that passed 4-0.

“MAPS Food and Nutrition Services participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program and is mandated by the Healthy Free Hunger Act,” reported Carlson. “After implementing the Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) tool required by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, MAPS is recommended to increase the amount charged for a full paid student lunch by 10 cents.”

However, Carlson informed the board that this school year the United States Department of Agriculture offered a PLE Exemption for all School Food Authorities (SFA) that had a positive balance in the nonprofit school food service account as of Jan. 31, 2018. That was the case with MAPS as their their SFA positive balance allows them to be included in the exemption.

“So we are asking for no increase for price of a full paid lunch or breakfast at the Manistee Middle/High School or elementary schools for the 2018-19 school year,” said Carlson. “However, the price we charge for an adult lunch will be increased from $3.35 to $3.50 this year.”

Another item that Carlson brought to the board was the milk and bread bids for the upcoming school year.

“We are recommending the board accept the only milk bid we received from Prairie Farms because the cost hasn’t increased from last year,” said Carlson. “We also received two bread bids from Aunt Millies and the other from Great Lakes Bakery that were close in price, but we are recommending Aunt Millies which was the best price.”

Those both passed on 4-0 votes of the board.

Board members were also informed by Carlson that on July 30 and 31 the Michigan Department of Education came to the Manistee Middle/High School to complete the summer food service administrative review for the summer feeding program. This review happens every three years.

“I’m happy to report that MAPS Summer Feeding Program had no findings by the MDE and in all areas we were found to be compliant,” said Carlson.

The board also went into closed session at the end of Wednesday’s meeting to discuss negotiations.

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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.

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