02-15-2018 Hartford School Board seeks city and township to join Community Marketing Campaign; Wate

HAPPY BIRTHDAY… Nona Anderson, a resident of White Oaks Assisted Living, Lawton, turned 100 years old on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. She was born in Minnesota, and operated a dime store in downtown Hartford from 1966 to 1985. She has four children, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Hartford School Board seeks city and township  to join Community Marketing Campaign

By Jon Bisnett At the February 8 Hartford School Board Work Study trustees invited officials from both the City of Hartford and Hartford Township to start discussion of the possibility of a joint promotional marketing campaign for the community. Several Board members attended a presentation by Collen King at a recent Michigan Association of School Boards event. King Media is a marketing firm with offices in Lansing and St. Joseph with a client list including several Michigan school districts that enlisted the firm for “rebranding” and promotional work. A committee was formed of trustees Mike Banic, Lisa Johnson and Rick Vawter who subsequently came up with an initial finding that any proper marketing effort needs to encompass the community not just the school for success; prompting the invitations extended to the adjacent municipal leaders. Vice President Mike Banic commented “We already know that radio is just about completely unaffordable… we need to find a cheaper way to get our message out… we’re looking for families who will buy homes and factories to bring jobs here…” Banic further referred to the need to dispel outdated negative perceptions of the community as a whole. Johnson added her frustration with viral social-media that spreads negatives like wildfire. She commented, “We have a lot of great things going on here that just never gets out to the public…” Vawter simply added the next course of action would be for the committee to meet with city and township officials to develop a list of goals and expectations from which King Media can create a formal proposal and cost for services. City Manager Yemi Akinwale spoke briefly to the subject of available development property and his work with a new program through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation – “Redevelopment Ready Communities.” Akinwale is already personally certified for the program and will soon have the city qualified to apply for program benefits. Mayor Rick Hall complimented recent improvements to the School District newsletter and looks forward along with his counterpart Township Supervisor Ron Sefcik to advance the conversation at a joint committee meeting. Curriculum Board Secretary Jason Meachum questioned progress regarding implementation of Advanced Placement classes at the high school. Not to be confused with more Honors Courses, which are simply more advanced versions of standard high school courseware. AP is specific national curriculum from a program of 38 exams and courses dating back to the 1950s run by non-profit College Board, the makers of the SAT (Standard Aptitude Test), that allows students to take advanced college-level courses in high school that may earn college credit. AP classes are generally accepted to improve admission to Ivy League and similar highly sought-after more discriminating institutions. High schools offer the optional classes to typically augment their course catalog with respect to Honors classes, Dual Enrollment at local community colleges and the general needs of the college-bound members of the student body. Superintendent Andy Hubbard outlined the current status of AP with senior AP Calculus available since 2016-2017. Future plans include expansion to offer both AP Calculus and AP Language & Composition in the coming year. The planning stages include a third potential offering in the form of AP Literature & Composition – tentatively scheduled, but dependent on the success of APs in 2018-2019. Having no further business President Chambers adjourned the meeting. The board meets next for its monthly Business Session on February 22.

Watervliet school board approves non-homestead  millage increase request for May vote

By Kristy Noack The Watervliet Board of Education approved a measure Monday, February 12, 2018 that will put a request in front of voters to restore the mills levied on non-homestead properties within the school district to 18 mills. According to Superintendent Kevin Schooley, the district’s finance committee met on January 25 to discuss the request. Schooley explained that schools receive funding from two primary sources: state and local governments. The state assumes local government will levy 18 mills on non-homestead property. Non-homestead property is defined as second homes, commercial properties, industrial buildings, and the like. When property tax values increase faster than the cost of living index, the number of mills being levied can fall below 18. School districts can only levy 18 mills; they cannot go higher. Currently, the Watervliet school district is collecting 17.9498 mills. The board, following the finance committee’s recommendation, approved a resolution and ballot language requesting a 1 mill restoration on the May 8, 2018 ballot. The last time the district placed this issue in front of voters was in 2011. While the request for 1 mill will put the total mills at 18.9498, the district can only collect 18 mills. The balance, according to Schooley, “will guard against future Headlee rollbacks.” Schooley advised he would hold meetings with anyone who would like additional information. Both he and school board president Bill Spaulding were quick to point out the one mill request was not a new tax, it was simply restoring the mills levied back to 18, its previous amount.

Trips approved for band and wrestling Two overnight trip requests were presented to the board for consideration. Brandon Mattson, the elementary music instructor and director of the choir, requested the board approve an overnight trip to Mackinac Island for his fourth- and fifth-grade children’s choir. The choir