Clare up 60 students, $890K added to coffers

January 24, 2019

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

The addition of 60 students this school year means nearly a quarter of a million dollars in additional revenue for the Clare School District this year, Superintendent Jim Walter said at the board meeting Monday evening.

Brooklyn Tocco, shown here with Coach Jan Cleary and her parents Kristen and Bob Tocco, was honored for her accomplishments in golf during the 2018 fall season.

Brooklyn Tocco, shown here with Coach Jan Cleary and her parents Kristen and Bob Tocco, was honored for her accomplishments in golf during the 2018 fall season.

That plus an increase in taxable values ($24,198) and an increase in Title I, II, IV and V grants ($139,884) means the district will have a total revenue change of $890,033 more dollars.

“But,” he cautioned, “More students means more teachers and higher expenses.”

On the expenditure side of Monday’s 2018-19 budget changes are increases for two contract re-openers, and three new teachers ($543,714); the addition of three

Heather Woodworth is Clare’s first-time American Sign Language teacher. She will teach sign to Middle and High School Students.

Heather Woodworth is Clare’s first-time American Sign Language teacher. She will teach sign to Middle and High School Students.

library para-pros and a grant director ($73,159) and Federal Grant adjustments ($94,663); the purchase of a used bus ($65,375); security equipment ($25,247); the purchase of additional chrome books and a contracted services cost increase ($37,790) and transfers including $15,000 to Pioneer Development ($30,657), which along with other miscellaneous adjustments in the budget adds up to an increase of $928,764 in expenditures.

Taking the increased expenditure cost from the increase in revenues, the net change to the district’s budget is a decrease of $38,731.

The Board of Education unanimously approved the 2018-19 budget changes.

In another matter, board members listened with concern to the compilation of a “Needs Assessment Survey” presented by Michelle Neff of MSU Extension and conducted by YAC (the Youth Action Council).

Neff said 541 teens in 7th through 12th grades in Clare County participated in the survey.

The top five issues impacting Clare County Youth listed included; “stress from schoolwork; stress from family issues; college and future plans; pressure to succeed; and depression or suicidal thoughts.”

The top five programs teens would like to see included: “competitive sports; outdoor recreational programs; programs to help with job and careers; after school activities; and arts, writing or music-focused activities and community service and volunteer activities.”

Making the top of the survey list for changes to make life better for teens were: “getting rid of drugs; more jobs; a community center or place to hang out; help with teens’ living environment; and more peer and family support.”

Teens’ thoughts on school included three main concerns: “school more about learning and preparing for the future rather than simply passing one big test; feeling welcomed and treated better by teachers in school; and taking bullying seriously, not as a joke, because it happens every day.”

Support needs for teens included: “Enough food in the home; help with anxiety and depression; adults that actually listen to our problems instead of just pushing them aside; and support groups and counseling.”

Both board members and administrators at the meeting agreed to study the full report in detail and do what they can to implement changes.

In other matters at the meeting:

*One big change to the district’s curriculum was made when the board approved hiring Heather Woodworth as a first-time American Sign Language (ASL) teacher for both Middle and High School students.

*Administrative reports were given.

*Discussion was held on the NEOLA policies which will be on the February board agenda for adoption.

*Superintendent Walter recognized the board for their service to Clare Schools.

*The board gave its approval for the eligible regional winners in the Clare High School Business Professionals of America to participate in the BPA State Leadership Conference competition in Grand Rapids March 14 through 17; and for members eligible through that competition to travel to Anaheim California May 1-5 to participate in the National Leadership Conference.

*The board designated Superintendent Walter as the official liaison to work with law enforcement, a requirement of Michigan’s Comprehensive School Safety Plan.

The BOE also approved the continuation of Superintendent Walter’s contract for another year with a salary increase.

*The board approved the payment of bills totaling $140,167.14 for December.

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