06-27-2019 Watervliet Board of Education approves 2019/20 Budget as Interim Superintendent Jarpe bid

Watervliet Board of Education approves 2019/20 Budget

as Interim Superintendent Jarpe bids adieu

By Kristy Noack The Watervliet Board of Education spent Monday evening June 24 at a special meeting where Watervliet Public Schools budget discussions took center stage. The board unanimously approved the final amendment to the 2018/19 budget. The final tally showed revenue of $14,943,405 and expenditures for the year of $14,491,855. The Capital Projects fund reflected revenue of $28,000 and expenditures of $472,000. The Debt Retirement fund showed revenues of $1,373,000 and expenditures of $1,395,000. The School (Food) Service fund broke even with expenditures and revenues of $656,215. Board president Bill Spaulding attributed the budget surplus to “a bit more revenue, a bit more balanced savings, and staff head counts put us in a position where we can attack the 2019/20 budget and get back to the business of running the schools.” The board then reviewed the proposed 2019/20 budget. Each school district must approve a budget each year, in accordance with Michigan state law. Based on a projected student count as well as foundational allowances, the board “forecasted fairly conservatively,” according to interim superintendent Dr. John Jarpe. Currently, the state funding level per pupil for the upcoming school year has not been determined. Therefore, the board assumed a conservative number of students and funding dollars from the state. Ric Seager, incoming superintendent, was part of the budget discussion. He advised, “The revenue is a little more difficult to forecast than years past. We are anticipating both numbers [student enrollment and per pupil funding] to increase.” The board unanimously approved the 2019/20 as follows: General Fund budget with a revenue of $14,953,096 and expenditures of $15,330,294; Capital Projects budget with a revenue of $500 and expenditures of $5,000; Debt Retirement budget including revenues of $1,375,000 and expenses of $1,300,000; Food Services budget with revenues of $690,800 and expenditures in the same amount; and Student Activity Fund budget of $316,000, both in expenditures and revenue. Jarpe recognized for his service Monday’s meeting was the final one for Dr. Jarpe. He was honored by the board with a plaque and gift card celebrating his six-month term as Interim Superintendent. Jarpe assumed the role following the departure of longtime superintendent Kevin Schooley, who accepted the position of Superintendent of South Haven Area Schools. Spaulding commented to Jarpe, “This was the first time Watervliet Public Schools has had an Acting Interim Superintendent, as far as we know. I was pleasantly surprised at how effective and supportive you were to the board.” Jarpe responded, “I have enjoyed coming to work every day.” Board member Ted Tees echoed Spaulding’s comments, saying, “It has been a seamless transfer of power” from Schooley to Jarpe. Seager also referenced Jarpe’s dedication and attention to detail, as he shared, “I appreciate all John’s done for me,” in preparing the office for his arrival. Jarpe also announced to the board that high school guidance counselor Patricia Stasiak tendered her resignation. Stasiak accepted a similar position in a school district closer to her home in Spring Lake. Ric Seager becomes a Panther July 1 will be a maroon-letter day for Seager as he takes the reins of WPS as superintendent. Seager, 53, is looking forward to joining the district, getting to know the community and its members, and diving into the 2019/20 school year. For Seager, returning to Berrien County “is kind of coming home for me,” he said. He and his wife Amy have relatives throughout Berrien County, including Berrien Springs and Buchanan. The Seagers are relocating to the Watervliet area, having sold their home in Kalamazoo. Seager has finished his tenure as high school principal at Schoolcraft (MI) High School. He held that position since January 2015. Before that, Seager was the director of school improvement and assessment at Kalamazoo Public Schools, a position he held from 2010 to 2015. Seager was the principal at Bronson Junior/Senior High six years prior to his position at KPS and was a teacher at Belding Area Schools before that. He holds a Master of Science degree in curriculum, instruction, and assessment from Walden University. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Western Michigan University. Seager will earn $120,000 as the superintendent and will be evaluated by the board once a year. Seager’s three-year contract begins July 1, 2019. The next regular school board meeting will be held Monday, July 8 at 6:00 p.m. in the high school media center.

Hagar Twp. officials maintain open mind on recreational marijuana

By Jon Bisnett Hagar Trustees voted down a motion made by Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio with intent to opt out of allowing recreational marijuana sales facilities within the Township at the June 10 monthly meeting. It was ultimately suggested that it would be more prudent to wait until further information is available or when the State’s rules will be formally established. It was further agreed the subject can be revisited for additional action if and when more detailed information is available. The 3-2 vote came in opposition to an opt-out recommendation of the Planning Commission, who had been studying the issue with the aid of consultants Williams & Works. Supervisors Report Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio encouraged the trustees to adopt a resolution endorsing the Berrien County Vision for Non-Motorized Trails. The proposed countywide vision provides an opportunity to connect the many municipalities with non-motorized trails throughout the entire county for hiking and cyclists. This connectivity would increase tourism, enhance quality of life and increase recreational activities for residents and visitors of the region. The Best Practice’s committee, which now comprises 16 local units of government, has asked each unit to support the vision. Berrien County is currently in the process of finding different funding sources, part of which is to apply for the many state and federal grants available to complete this vision. There is no financial obligation to Hagar Township or any of the other supporting local governments. DiMaggio also commented on a situation at the intersection of private roads in the Township, West Bundy (west of M-63) and Hill Path. A portion of the road collapsed due to a drain failure. Being a private road, the residents must be responsible for a permanent fix which could result in establishing a drainage district. DiMaggio further complemented the Drain Commissioner on the quick work to restore the road with a temporary fix to allow the residents access to their homes. Ambulance Report Clerk Sarah Rodriguez reported activity for Pride Care Ambulance with six Priority I calls at 11:41 and 20 Priority II runs at 15:09, averaging 14.21, during the month of May. Fire Report DiMaggio reported the North Berrien joint fire department responded to 27 calls during the month of April with 14 runs in Hagar Township, eight in Coloma Charter Township, four in the City of Coloma and one on I-196. Building Inspector Butch Kelly reported five new building permits totaling $469,573 in value. Parks Parks Director Beth Raiser reports that the township parks are up and running despite the wet weather plaguing the area. Raiser expressed concerns that again this year high lake levels may limit useable beach as occurred in 2018. Some beach is still accessible, but only time will tell. New business A unanimous vote supported Supervisor DiMaggio’s recommendation to appoint Susan Herrmann to a fill a 3-year term to the Hagar Planning Commission.

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