Saline Board of Education Notebook, April 28, 2020

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 04/30/2020 - 21:58

The Saline Board of Education met remotely using Zoom Tuesday. Here's a summary of the meeting.

Commencement Ceremony Update

Saline High School Principal David Raft said it's the district's hope to have a traditional ceremony for the Class of 2020. However, he and a group of administrators and counselors are working on other options for the 425-strong class. A survey was sent to the seniors and their families.

Trustee Susan Estep said U of M Dearborn encouraged students to celebrate themselves and said Saline could do  something similar.

Continuity of Education

Superintendent Scot Graden said the continuity of education plan ordered by Gov. Whitmer has been implemented with fidelity by Saline Area Schools staff. Graden said the goal was to maximize educational engagement without causing undue stress on families. 

Board VP Paul Hynek said he "zoomed" into classes taught by Julie Kelly, Mary Marshall and Jennifer Edwards and said kids were engaged and teachers were doing a good job.

Trip Refunds and Future Trips

Graden said Saline Middle School Principal Brad Bezeau and staff member Laurie Dawson have worked hard to retrieve partial refunds for class trips to Toronto and Washington. Graden said there were no perfect solutions in this unprecedented situation. Graden also said he was suspending trips next year, declaring it was inappropriate to plan trips in the current environment. Graden also doesn't want to put the district in conflict with families who may want a guarantee of a 100 percent refund should trips be canceled again.

Trustee Tim Austin thanked Dawson and Bezeau for retrieving what refund they could, saying it was important for many families during this challenging time.

Budget Warnings

Trustee Dennis Valenti, chair of the finance committee, said the district needs to be realistic about the challenges it will face. He said there could be a lag before the impact hits schools - but it will hit.

"We need to be prepared to make hard choices. There will likely need to be belt-tightening across all areas," Valenti said. "We are going to need to make hard, painful choices."

He said the district does not have a large enough fund balance to draw on to get through drop in state funding.

Graden said there could be some clarity when the May 15 revenue consensus is released. But shutting down the economy will impact the schools. Graden spoke of working together to survive a short-term budget hit.

"I encourage all of us to think about ways to work together and cooperate and spread out the impact across all of us," Graden said.

Trustee Michael McVey said he attended at workshop on budgets and said state revenues will also be impacted because of the postponement of tax deadlines. He also said state could see a $2.6 billion hit in 2020 and $3.2 billion hit in 2021. He also said a $500 million shortfall equates to a $345 per-pupil decline in school funding.

Public Transparency on Principal Hiring

Charity Olson demanded the district be transparent about its process as it hires a new principal at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School. Betty Rosen-Leacher has announced her retirement. She said she wanted to know what criteria are used to determine which administrator works in which building from year to year. 

Pleasant Ridge Elementary School will be seeking its third principal since Bezeau left to become principal at Saline Middle School for 2016-17.

Sex Education Advisory Board

The district will soon name a new Sex Education Advisory Board. It will be co-chaired by Laura Washington, Principal at Heritage Elementary School.

Two goals for the board are to have a curriculum that allows all students to see themselves, in grades four through 12, and to create curriculum for adults, ages 18-26, in the special education program.

Members selected for the board will be notified in June.

Summer Work at Heritage and Woodland Meadows

The board approved two contracts for summer bond work at Heritage and Woodland Meadows elementary schools. A $398,555 contract was awarded to Continental Flooring Company.  A contract for $47,784 was awarded to Corrigan Moving Systems to move all the equipment in and out of the schools before and after the flooring project.

New Floor for the SHS Gym

The board approved $54,615 to Foster Speciality Floors for work on the Saline High School gym.

 

Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of TheSalinePost.com. He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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