Bainbridge adds title of Office Manager; approves business items for 2019-2020 year
By Angela Stair Bainbridge Township held their regular monthly Board of Trustee meeting on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 at the Township Hall. The meeting began with the traditional ringing of the bell (school house bell). The board discussed the need for the position of an Office Manager. The position of Secretary/ Receptionist’s job description and responsibilities did not reflect the work being done. The new position of Office Manager complete with description and new wage classification was formed and approved by the board. The position was offered to Barb Abbott who has been the Secretary/ Receptionist for several years, and she accepted the position. The new position and wages will begin January 2019. Sheriff’s Department report Sergeant Josh Sutherland of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department presented the November activity report for the township. There were 35 complaints handled by the Sheriff’s Department, 18 tickets were written and there were seven arrests made. 2019-2020 business The board attended to several items for their 2019-2020 fiscal year. They discussed and approved the option to renew the contracts with Benton Charter Township Fire Department and Sister Lakes Fire Department for another year. The motions for each department was made and approved by the board. The board approved the appointment of Gary Zike to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a three-year term from January 18, 2019 to January 18, 2022. Township Treasurer Nancy Weber gave her report and stated the last day 2018 winter taxes can be paid at the Bainbridge Township Hall will be February 28. After that day the winter taxes will have to be paid at the County Treasurers Office. The board approved the payment of bills and payroll in the amount of $59,710.02. A complaint had been filed by the Berrien County Drain Commission and the Township Board against one of the contractors that had worked on the Daken Peters Drain. The township board accepted the offer of $21,000 settling the claim of repairs made. Township Supervisor Bill Hodge explained that the acceptance by the Bainbridge Board was needed, but did not complete the settlement, as the Berrien County Drain Commission would now have the final word with their decision to accept it or deny it. The township board accepted the cost sharing amount of $52,000 on 2019 repairs to be done to Bainbridge Center Road. The board passed resolutions for 2019-2020 Board of Review Meeting Dates, 2019-2020 Regular Board Meeting Dates, 2019-2020 Annual Investment & Depositories, and the 2019-2020 Adopt Poverty Exemption Asset Test. The board also approved Supervisor Hodge attending the April 2019 Michigan Township Association conference at an approximate cost of $670.
Hartford School Board approves contract adjustment for interim principal; superintendent’s contract extended 1 year
By Jon Bisnett The Hartford School Board met on January 21 for the monthly business session on the first of its newly scheduled Monday meeting nights. Having met on Thursdays as long as anyone can remember, it was the wisdom of the board to make the move in light of ongoing conflict with events scheduled at the Van Buren Intermediate School District and other local governmental meetings. Following unremarkable financial payroll and operating expense approvals the board moved on to personnel matters by first accepting the mid-year resignation of Redwood Elementary Principal Ed Dickenson. Personnel Assistant Principal Chris Quist has been appointed as Interim Principal for the balance of the school year. A graduate of Western Michigan University, Quist came initially as Redwood’s Dean of Students, and then was promoted to Assistant Principal in 2018. Chris grew up in Gobles where she spent 22 years in various posts teaching 3rd and 6th grade Language Arts and supervising Professional Development for the district. Recently completing classes and required testing for her Administrative Certification, she now assumes charge of Redwood’s K-5 campus of 650 students. The board unanimously approved a contract modification for Quist for an additional $5,000 to salary as compensation for the added duties of her new position. Superintendent Andy Hubbard received his annual review in December and was then ranked as “effective”. Per his current contract terms, “If the Superintendent is found to be effective or highly effective the contract term is automatically extended one year.” In addition to the contract extension, the board approved a 1% raise for Hubbard by a 5 to 1 vote with Secretary Jason Meachum casting the lone nay vote. Old business Senior Class Advisor Araya Stillson received a unanimous final approval for the annual Senior Class Educational Trip to Florida. Fifty-one students are signed up to attend the 4 day – 3 night excursion, flying out of Chicago Midway Airport from April 30 to May 3. The board, absent Trustee Kurt Kuehnle, acted on a motion to engage the services of King Media of East Lansing/ St. Joseph to provide a Communications Audit. The board entered into a deadlock vote 3-3 with trustees Lisa Johnson, Ginny Rice and Jason Meachum voting in the affirmative; President Ben Chambers, Vice President Mike Banic and Trustee Rick Vawter opposed. Vawter then presented his own motion to accept a less costly proposal from the National School Public Relations Association. After discussion, it seemed the vote was heading down the same divided opinion when Lisa Johnson voted in the affirmative to break a potential tie. Explaining her vote by stating, “I’m willing to change my support because I feel this is too important for the success and growth of our District to delay any longer.” New business Approvals were granted to Budget Amendments on both the General Fund and School Lunch Fund. Capital outlays As stated in the December Business Meeting, the board in early 2018 had cautiously made the decision to suspend all Capital Outlay until unresolved issues of the Redwood campus could be settled. With construction issues behind them, the Building and Grounds Committee has reestablished priorities for capital expenditures as would have been planned in a normal school year. The following list is in fact spread over a 2- year budget as a result of that 2018 Capital Outlay freeze. High School: New Weight Room Flooring $30,000; Gymnasium Audio Upgrade $24,932; Stadium Audio Upgrade $ 9,750; Gymnasium LED Lighting $21,420; Replace Lockers – Girls PE $15,000; Repaint Lockers $ 4,000 Middle School: Replace Lockers $100,000; New Divider Curtain for Gymnasium $ 10,840; New Hallway Carpeting $57,000; 10 Stand-Up Desks – Social Studies Room $2,500; Replace Water Heater $17,000 Redwood: Set Aside $100,000; Retention Pond – Carpeting – Outdoor PA Transportation: New School Bus $107,551; Ford Transit (balance to grant) $ 5,000 District Technology/Other: Replace Kitchen Doors $11,666; 98 New Computer Workstations $58,800; Security Cameras Redwood (grant) $27,600; Wall Clocks – MS & HS $25,000; Auditorium Lighting/Audio $106,522 Total projected Capital Outlay is $800,000 plus an additional $54,600 in contributing grant monies. The board meets next for a Work Study session on Monday, Feb. 4 at 7:00 p.m. in the Middle School Cafeteria.