ATTENTION PARENTS… Members of the County Substance Abuse Task Force have placed signs, like this one at Hartford High School, for their Underage Drinking Campaign at nine schools in Van Buren County. Their purpose is a reminder that supplying alcohol to a minor is illegal in Michigan. Hosting parties where teens are allowed to drink alcohol is extremely dangerous and poses a great risk to the children in attendance. Teens who consume alcohol or other illegal substances risk criminal charges which could negatively impact their future. The task force encourages parents to talk to their teens about drinking. Their aim is to reduce underage drinking during prom, graduation, and summer; for more information visit TalkSooner.org.
Hartford School Board approves 2018-19 budget & hires
By Jon Bisnett The Hartford School Board began the evening of June 21 with a public hearing on the 2018-19 budget and then worked through a litany of approvals and new hires without delay, demonstrating a unanimous sameness of purpose not seen in most recent weeks. 2018 Summer School staff Redwood Principal Ed Dickenson’s recommendations for Summer Migrant and Summer Title I program staff was unanimously approved. The board also approved three new additions to staff. Elementary Literacy Coach Susan McLemore comes from Lawrence Elementary where she served as a classroom teacher in fourth, second, first grades and Kindergarten for 22 years. Susan has her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University and her Master of Science in Elementary Reading & Literacy from Walden University. The hiring committee was very impressed with her level of knowledge and experiences as a classroom teacher 1st Grade teacher Lindsy Morsaw joins Hartford from Central Elementary in White Pigeon, Michigan where she was a kindergarten teacher. Prior to that, she taught at Riverside Elementary for 10 years. Mrs. Morsaw received her bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University with a major in Elementary Education. 2nd Grade teacher Emily Shafer is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University with certification in both Elementary Education and Elementary Spanish. Emily has worked with the Bangor Summer Migrant Program previously and is a graduate from Bangor High School. 2018-19 contract approvals A new contract with the secretaries and food service staff for wages and benefits increases salaries by 2-percent. The new contract with the alternative education staff for wages increases salaries by 1-percent. 2017-18 amendments approved The Finance Committee presented the 2017-18 general fund budget amendment which projects a surplus of $266,479. This amount is an increase of $25,715 more than projected in December; approved unanimously. The Finance Committee offered the 2017-18 Food Service budget amendment as recommended projecting an $812 deficit; also unanimously approved. The 2017-18 2015 Debt Fund budget amendment was unanimously approved as recommended. The 2017-18 2014 Refunding Debt Fund budget amendment was unanimously approved as recommended. The Finance Committee presented the 2017-18 Construction Fund budget amendment for approval. Hopes to spend the remaining fund balance before year end went astray due to numerous construction setbacks making it impossible to close the fund this year. The measure was approved unanimously.
Southwest 10 Athletic Conference Constitution The board reviewed and discussed the Southwest 10 constitution at the May 17, 2018 meeting, and gave full unanimous approval. High School / Middle School
WELCOME… New staffers join the Hartford District team fall lineup. Three new faces were formally introduced at Thursday’s School Board meeting; (from the left) Susan McLemore brings her 20 years of experience to serve as the Redwood Elementary Literacy Coach. Bangor native Emily Shafer will teach 2nd Grade and Lindsy Morsaw from Hartford will be teaching 1st graders also at Redwood. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)
Math Curriculum Following a full presentation on the proposed math curriculum at the June 7, 2018 Work Study, unanimous approval was given for the purchase of the McGraw Hill math curriculum along with the necessary technology supplies. 2019 Senior Trip Senior class advisors Heather McNitt and Araya Stillson received preliminary approval for the 2018-19 Senior Trip. The proposal is for senior students to travel to Orlando, Florida. Resolution for General Fund Budget for 2018-2019 The Finance Committee offered the General Fund Budget recommendation with a projected deficit is $24,618 considering a surplus of roughly $260,000 from 2017-18 was approved unanimously. Additional unanimous approvals were given for the following resolutions: 2018-19 School Lunch Fund Budget; 2018-19 2015 Bond Debt Fund Budget; 2018-19 2014 Refunding Bond Debt Fund Budget; 2018-19 Construction Fund Budget. MHSAA Membership Resolution Approval was granted unanimously for a resolution for the district to belong to the Michigan High School Athletic Association. School districts adopt this resolution annually, agreeing to adhere to the rules and regulations of the association and allows athlete’s access to MHSAA sponsored tournaments. 2018-19 School of Choice openings The numbers of slots available for grades k-8 were set at three and five for grades 9-12; approved unanimously. Resolution authorizing notes in anticipation of State School Aid Thrun Law Firm prepared this resolution, approved unanimously, allowing the district to borrow $700,000 for operations, receiving the money in August and repaid in five installments beginning in March. This annual loan is typical and necessary to deal with cash flow based on when State Aid payouts occur. New high school course The LINKS class is a peer-to-peer support class wherein LINK students will receive training that will allow them to facilitate positive outcomes in the school experience of a peer with specific learning needs. The student enrolled in LINKS will be a mentor, role model, and friend to a student with specific learning needs. The student is not an academic tutor. The LINK student will be with his/her assigned student one class per day, except when the LINK student meets with the teacher of record to receive instruction about autism and other learning difficulties. The new course was unanimously approved. Board conference expense Rick Vawter will be attending the School Law Workshop on June 18, 2018 and the Summer Institute on August 10 & 11, 2018. Approval was granted unanimously. Red Arrow property Superintendent Andy Hubbard reports that the City of Hartford has formally withdrawn an interest in pursuing ownership / redevelopment of the idled Red Arrow Elementary property. However, the Hartford Public Library has embraced the project on their own and is seeking a matching grant to augment the million dollar donation from the Art & Bonna Vanderlyn Trust and is in the bid process to demolish and rebuild on the site. Truhn Law Firm has researched and found a legal way to convey the property to the library in respect of bond debt still owed on the property, inasmuch as the use is mandated to be that of the public. Unanimous approval was granted for the resolution authorizing Andrew Hubbard, Superintendent or his designee to execute the Purchase Agreement, to make any revisions to the Purchase Agreement not inconsistent to the resolution and to take any other action to sell the Red Arrow property, subject to review and approval by the District’s legal counsel.
Coloma native supports the Navy’s mission
A 2002 St. Joseph High School graduate and Coloma native is serving in the U.S. Navy at Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic (COMNAVSURFLANT), which is located on the largest Navy base in the world, Naval Station Norfolk. Lt. Cmdr. Josh Whitlow is a surface warfare officer. A Navy surface warfare officer is normally responsible for command and control of surface ships. “I like that my job gives me a chance to work with my sailors,” said Whitlow. “The variety of personalities and people are interesting.” Whitlow credits his success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in his hometown of Coloma. “Coloma taught me the importance of having a strong work ethic,” said Whitlow. “I learned to do your best at your job and do it right.” SURFLANT was established in 1975 to provide a central, East Coast command for the cruisers, destroyers, amphibious ships and other surface forces of the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. COMNAVSURFLANT is one of the six U.S. naval type commands. It was established in 1975 as a consolidation of the cruiser-destroyer, amphibious, and service forces of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. In addition to SURFLANT’s nearly 70 ships, there are special mission and fleet support units that make up the more than 100 commands of the force. SURFLANT personnel are stationed stateside and forward deployed in Bahrain; Rota, Spain; and the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System in Romania and Poland. Additionally, surface forces provide a critical element to drug interdiction operations in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific. “To go in harm’s way” in defense of the principles of freedom and democracy has been the rally call of surface force sailors for more than 200 years. The command provides combat-ready surface forces for U.S. Fleet Forces Command and combatant commanders that are capable of conducting prompt, sustained naval, joint, and combined operations in support of United States national interests.
“My top priority is readiness. I’m extremely proud of the diverse group of sailors and civilians who serve at our command, they accept every challenge and serve with honor,” said Rear Adm. Jesse A. Wilson Jr., commander, Surfaces Forces Atlantic. “Together we are a team of warfighters who properly man, tactically train and effectively equip a force that is ready for the fight today and tomorrow.” Though there are many ways for a sailor to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Whitlow is most proud of seeing most of his division advance in rate during the second tour. “Seeing that the sailors are learning and improving makes me proud,” said Whitlow. “I get to be a part of their professional development.” While serving in the Navy may present many challenges, Whitlow has found reward in service. “The Navy taught me how to be flexible and work with a wide variety of people,” said Whitlow. “Everyone has a different way to approach a problem and they can all work.”