02-01-2018 Hartford Schools pan state legislation over issue of local control;

Airman Casey A. Klimkiewicz Watervliet grad completes basic training U.S. Air Force Airman Casey A. Klimkiewicz graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Airmen who complete basic training also earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force. Klimkiewicz is the son of Nicole L. and Jeffrey A. Klimkiewicz of Watervliet. He is a 2016 graduate of Watervliet High School.


Hartford Schools pan state legislation over issue of local control

By Jon Bisnett While the Hartford school board unanimously approved a resolution during their January 18 meeting opposing Michigan Senate Bills 584, 586, & 366 under Old Business; it was made quite clear in discussion that the board’s issue with the legislation was not so much as anti-gun, but was with the issue of stripping school districts of local control. Board President Ben Chambers elaborated saying, “Our top priority as a District is the safety of ALL our students and our entire staff, the entire Board of Education of the Hartford Public Schools felt that the bills introduced are simply NOT the best solution for our District. I would also like to add that while we would entertain discussion and brainstorming on this topic, taking all local control away from the local Districts is a non-starter, and amongst other things, these bills do just that.” A copy of the resolution will be sent to the Governor as well as the District’s Senators and State Representatives. It should be noted that the board held some extensive discussion on the matter and what it might mean to the local District. It was clear by a 6-0 vote opposing the measure that the entire board does not approve of these specific bills. Finance Business Manager Rebecca Drake presented routine expenses for approval with the notable absence of any Construction Fund payouts as work is all but complete from the Bond Construction Project. Drake commented that the District is on track with a solid financial forecast through the remainder of the current school year. Personnel District Student Information Coordinator Kim DeBoom presented another of the District’s Golden Keyboard Award to Alternative Education Teacher and retired High School Principal Kenny Kent for excellence in his use of technology in the classroom. Kent joins “techy” list of prior recipients which include High School Principal Dave Janicki, Art Teacher Sandra Hahn and Elementary Teacher Travis Vagts and Paraprofessional Susan Hall. Policy Superintendent Andy Hubbard presented the first reading of Board Policy #0151 and 0152 which when approved will remove a chronological conflict in the current policy and will synchronize board trustee term of office with that of the elected officers. Purchasing District Transportation Director Marc Clauser recommends the purchase of an 89-passenger Bluebird Transit Bus. Although quite pleased with the performance of the fleet’s propane fueled busses, they are currently available only as a 77-passenger conventional bus. The application for the new bus requires the additional seating capacity. The bid from the statewide purchasing coop bus purchase program is $107,551. Business Manager Drake stated this is the same price as the two most recent purchases and will actually be paid out from the fiscal 2018-2019 budget. Board members received supporting documentation of the fleet replacement schedule which shows once this bus is in service, the District can dispose of its oldest 18-year-old bus, putting the District back on track to keep the active fleet at no older than 10 years and the sub fleet for an additional 3-4 years. Belt tightening during several lean budget years in the last decade suspended bus purchases, which in turn threw the fleet schedule off from the proven standard timetable used by the District for many years. Vice President Mike Banic requested Drake coordinate with Clauser to provide the board with a per bus operational cost breakdown such as cost per mile, repairs, percentage of use and the like. Banic would specifically like to see if the actual maintenance costs of the propane units are indeed less than conventional buses, as their proponents predicted. Succession Plan The Hartford School District maintains a protocol of succession should the Superintendent become incapacitated or pass away. Hubbard explained the current plan called for then Business Manager Mike Hallgren to immediately assume the chair for up to 30 days with no additional compensation should a tragedy occur. The list also included retired Superintendents Dave Levsteck and Gary Pardike. The Board is then charged with 30 days to make a hiring timeline, which could be a replacement hire, an interim or enlist the support of Van Buren Intermediate School District Superintendent Jeff Mills. Hubbard suggested that since Hallgren has retired it would be prudent to keep his name at the top of the list and pre-negotiate a per diem rate of compensation with him. Hubbard will contact the other county school districts and poll them to determine a fair average rate of pay. Superintendent’s Report Superintendent Andy Hubbard gave a short report of in process activities in relation to the Strategic Plan of the District. Mayfest planning is already underway. Curriculum Director Brad Geesaman is reviewing some writing programs, while Hubbard himself is reviewing new math books for the Middle School. In light of the earlier Succession Plan discussion and family medical issue that took Hubbard off premises earlier in the week, Mike Banic inquired, “Who is in charge, when the Superintendent is gone?” Hubbard responded that first and foremost he is only a phone call away. Hubbard had informed all his administrators of his planned absence and told them to use the system already in place if anything comes up. “I doubt we’re going to have any curriculum emergency, but if you did, you call Brad Geesaman,” joked Hubbard. In a more serious note Hubbard broke down the administrative team – Dave Janicki is District Safety Officer noting most true emergencies will go to Dave. Mechanical, such as a boiler HVAC and the like would fall to Mark Clauser as would anything bus related. Rob Sheffey is tech support and anything financial goes to Rebecca Drake. Hubbard summed up by saying, “Systems are in place. I have great confidence in my administrators; we just need to let the machinery work.” Redwood Elementary Hubbard reports the building is all but done, with just a couple HVAC items and the gym floor now rescheduled for paint/striping over spring break. One open issue with mason needs to be resolved and the construction budget should be complete. Having no further business President Chambers adjourned the meeting. The board meets next for its monthly Work Study on February 8.

Community Soup & Salad Supper

Friday, Feb. 2 A Community Soup & Salad Supper will be held from 5-6 p.m. on Friday, February 2, at the North Berrien Senior Center, 6648 Ryno Road in Coloma. The menu includes soup, salad, bread, dessert and beverage. The public is invited. Cost for adults is $5; $3 for children up to 12 years of age; and free for children under three. Proceeds go to the HOPE Resources Food Pantry located at Coloma United Methodist Church. This month’s supper is hosted by HOPE Resources Board of Directors and New Hope Community Church.

North Berrien Historical Museum accepting applications for 2018 Youth  Internship

Students currently in grades 9-12 are now invited to apply for the Youth Internship program at the North Berrien Historical Museum in Coloma. Youth interns get the exciting opportunity to learn about, preserve, and promote local history. To obtain a schedule and application for the 2018 Youth Internship program, stop by the museum or go to www.northberrienhistory.org. Applications must be postmarked or hand-delivered to the museum no later than Friday, February 16, 2018. The Youth Internship is a commitment every week from March through April 2018, in which students will get to know the museum and practice new skills. Participants will be trained by the museum’s professional staff to do activities such as caring for artifacts and sharing local history with the public. Youth Interns will also learn more about career possibilities related to museums, history and culture, all while gaining quality volunteer experience to list on their resumes and college applications. For more information about this program contact the North Berrien Historical Museum at (269) 468-3330 or jack@northberrienhistory.org.

Give Back Night at The Friendly Tavern to benefit HOPE Resources On Sunday, Feb. 11 from 5 p.m. until closing The Friendly Tavern in Coloma will give 10% of sales to the HOPE Resources Food Pantry building fund. Give a heart, take your sweetie or yourself out to eat and give back to the pantry at the same time. HOPE Resources food pantry (formerly the North Berrien Food Pantry) is currently looking for larger and separate accommodations. Currently, they serve 150 families out of 300 square feet and two closets at the Coloma United Methodist Church. They hope to lease, buy, or build in the near future, but need the funds to accommodate that transition. Their future plans include, adequate space for the food pantry, additional space to accommodate clothing, training areas and offices for outside agencies (which will help those that need assistance, but may not have transportation to get to those services). The HOPE Resources food pantry is currently open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. for residents of Coloma, Watervliet and Hagar Shore area. For more information, they can be reached at 269-468-6062. Give a heart, enjoy a good meal, and support this local food pantry.

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