07-12-2018 Keeler Township sets second public hearing for Keeler Lake Weed District; Sternaman wins

GENEROUS DONATION… Coloma High School student, Maurissa LaGrow (left), recently donated $1,055 to the Marie Yeager Cancer Center on behalf of Color Me Cured – a local 5K event organized by LaGrow. Funds donated to the cancer center will benefit patients who are experiencing financial distress due to the cost of their treatment. Accepting the donation for the cancer center is Carri McCarthy, RN, Oncology Nurse Navigator. The color run raised a total of $7,000 in 2018 with a portion of the proceeds also donated to the Arthritis Foundation and Coloma Public Schools. LaGrow has coordinated the run for the past four years raising over $70,000 to support organizations in Southwest Michigan. “Maurissa’s fundraising efforts and dedication to the community in which she lives are an inspiration to us all,” said Jann Totzke, RN, Executive Director of Oncology Services, Lakeland Health. “The funds donated will allow us to continue to provide high quality, compassionate care to our friends and neighbors in this community who are battling cancer.”

Keeler Township sets second public hearing for Keeler Lake Weed District

By Annette Christie Keeler Lake residents in Keeler Township will have an opportunity to ask about the weed district clean-up plan and to appeal their individual special assessments on August 14, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. This will be a part of the regular scheduled meeting, but it is being held a week later due to the election. This is a renewal of the Keeler Lake Association Special Assessment District for the purpose of continuing efforts to clean up the lake. It is expected that the Keeler Township Board will approve the special assessment roll following that public hearing. It was announced at their Tuesday, July 3 meeting that the millage renewals for the township are finalized and will be on the August 7 ballot. Voters will be asked to approve renewals for the police, fire, and road millages that expire in 2019. All three of the millages are for 2019-2022. The board will be asking for the Fire Services Millage to be renewed at 1.00 mills; the Police Millage to be renewed at .75 mills; and the Road Millage to be renewed at 1.00 mills. In other business, the Planning Commission continues to work on ordinances, including a revision to the sign ordinance and new wording included for solar panels. It is unknown when that will be completed. Supervisor Bill Kays gave an update on road work in the township. He said that the dust control is finished and the sealcoat will be scheduled soon.

Sternaman wins $500 scholarship Julia Sternaman was recently awarded the 2018 Noack Scholarship, sponsored by Michael and Kristin (Evett) Noack, in the amount of $500 as she continues her education this fall at the University of Michigan.

Live @ the Library with Hopie Jo, July 26 The Watervliet District Library is pleased to announce an upcoming music event, “Live @ the Library with Hopie Jo”, Thursday, July 26 at 7 p.m. Hope Thomas, singer, songwriter, guitarist and ukulelist, brings her unique brand of alternative folk to Watervliet. Hopie Jo has performed at a variety of venues around the state including Shakespeare’s, Bell’s, the Old Dog Tavern and Ann Arbor’s legendary live music club, The Blind Pig. Vocals as smooth as silk and sweet acoustics make Hopie Jo’s performance a musical treat.

Watervliet School Board gets homework assignment,  invests in student safety and elects vice-president as Superintendent Schooley gets high marks

By Kristy Noack School remains out of session for students in the Watervliet district, but the Board of Education members took care of business and received a homework assignment during their regular meeting Monday, July 9. Organizational meeting results The board held their organizational meeting prior to their regular meeting and approved four line items. The Watervliet school board approved motions to designate Kruggel and Lawton CPS as the district’s auditor, Thrun Law Firm in Lansing was designated as the district’s attorneys of record, the Tri-City Record will continue as the newspaper in which the district publishes all legal notices required by law, and Fifth Third, Huntington National, MILAF, PNC, Chemical, and MBIA Class banks were named as depositories. All approvals maintained the same companies for the 2018-19 school year as used in the 2017-18 school year.

Laws elected to VP role The board also voted to elect Eric Laws as the board vice-president. He fills the role that was vacated by the departure of Andy Bodfish who moved from the district. Payment of bills puts students’ safety first Following the organizational meeting, the board entered into their regular meeting. The board approved payment of bills in the amount of $1,242,133.57, noting that $897,601.37 of that figure represented payroll related expenses. One item of note that received approval for payment was $41,106.50 to HEI Wireless for the purchase and installation of radios, chargers, and antennas. The capital improvement item will provide “instant access to police officers inside and outside the building,” according to Schooley. “This is a huge improvement to our infrastructure.” The radios will be stationed at each school main office, on each bus and maintenance truck, and replaces the previous communication system. The old system used an analog transmission signal, while the new system uses a digital signal.

Board homework assignment #1 Board members were tasked by Superintendent Kevin Schooley to consider what goals they would like to accomplish during the 2018-19 school year. Schooley requested a committee be formed to gather members’ goals suggestions, with the intent to present the list to the entire board in August for review. Bill Spaulding, board president, will be joined on the committee by Vice-president Eric Laws and Secretary Matt Clay.

Board accepts teacher resignation and approves MHSAA resolution Members of the board accepted the resignation of first-year Spanish teacher Alicia Sarco. Sarco accepted a teaching position with another district. Schooley stated, “We are looking to fill her position.” The board also approved a motion to adopt the Michigan High School Athletic Association resolution, which affirms its commitment to offer sports to middle and high school students. The resolution is required each year and is necessary for teams to compete in MHSAA events.

Five teachers receive tenured status Based on the board policy, Schooley is required to notify board members of teachers who have fulfilled their probationary requirements covered by the Michigan Teachers’ Tenure Act and recommend their status to acquire tenure with the district. Schooley advised the board that probationary teachers must satisfy one of two requirements to obtain tenure. The teacher must successfully teach in the Watervliet school district and be rated as effective or highly effective for five consecutive years. Or, if a teacher has received tenure in another district and then transferred into the Watervliet school system, they must achieve two consecutive years of being rated as effective or highly effective. Five teachers were awarded tenure Monday evening. Shana Bohle from North School, Angela Schmidt from South School, and Erin Faultersack, Winnie Staffen, Chris Prom, and Colby Tein were awarded tenure. Staffen and Tein previously held tenure in other school districts, while Bohle, Faultersack, Prom, and Schmidt all achieved five years of effective or highly effective ratings.

The wheels on a new bus go ‘round and ‘round Watervliet transportation / maintenance director Mark Isbrecht was on hand to discuss with the board the purchase of a new bus. Schooley advised the purchase of the bus was in the school’s budget. The district last purchased a bus in 2016 and is on a schedule of acquiring a new one every other year. Isbrecht researched options and, with Schooley, recommended purchasing a 77-passenger bus from Midwest Transport for $77,164. The new bus has less than 11,000 miles. The request was approved.

Board homework assignment #2 The board received a second dose of homework after they approved 11 policy revisions for first reading. Members will review the revisions and discuss again next month. The revisions were recommended by the board’s policy provider, NEOLA, and reviewed by the district’s policy committee which is comprised of Laws, John Oliphant, and Marilyn Barchett.

Schooley sees bump in salary after highly effective rating President Bill Spaulding introduced a salary recommendation for Superintendent Schooley, following the latter’s annual review last month in closed session. Spaulding said, “Mr. Schooley was evaluated by the entire board of education. We are pleased to announce Mr. Schooley was rated highly effective, the highest level possible.” Spaulding went on to say, “Because of that score and the many fine accomplishments, we recommend a three percent [salary increase] for Mr. Schooley, an outstanding superintendent and an outstanding job.” The raise puts Superintendent Schooley’s annual salary at $123,340.00. The board will reconvene for a regular meeting Monday, August 13 at 6:00 p.m. in the middle / high school media center.

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