07-30-2020 Hartford Schools leverages CARES Act for tech; labors to develop Return to School Plan

THESE KUTE KIDS ARE… Cam and Chase Millsap sending Christmas in July greetings! In September, Cam will be 5 and Chase will be 3 years old. They are the daughters of Hunter Millsap and Yvonne Wells, of Coloma. The girls are the granddaughters of Chad & Brandie Wells of Berrien Springs, Todd & Tana Kinzler of Watervliet, Dave & Jennifer Millsap of Schoolcraft and Doug & Debbie Wells of Riverside. Proud great-grandparents are James & Donna Yore of Coloma, who are affectionately known as “Old Papa and Nana”.


Hartford Schools leverages CARES Act for tech; labors to develop Return to School Plan

By Jon Bisnett The Hartford School Board continued under the safety of a virtual protocol for its July 20 business meeting as it maximized Coronavirus Relief with expanded technology purchases to best prepare for the fall return to school. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, (CARES Act,) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, (ESSER) funding aims to assist K-12 schools “rethink the way students access education”. Funding through the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund intends to make learning more accessible to students with disabilities, at-risk populations, language needs, and other challenges. The board has approved the acquisition of significant technology additions to bolster the ability for remote learning applications as follows: 930 Laptops – $155,263.50; 2,000 Flash Drives – $10,000; 31 Laptop Carts – $41,349.35; 930 Licenses – $21,845.70. Due to unprecedented supply issues stemming from the pandemic, laptops may be delayed anywhere from 2 to 6 months from purchase date. Finance Normal monthly bills were paid. Business Manager Rebecca Drake noted major expenditures for several annual renewals including multiple district-wide annual software licenses and insurance renewals. Personnel EDUStaff has hired Clara Moreno as the new Redwood Elementary Office Secretary. Officials at EDUStaff reported receiving a total of 21 applications for the full-time position. Business The board approved the renewal of annual association memberships as follows: Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Association of School Boards Rural District, School Equity Caucus and Van Buren County Association of School Boards. Additionally, the board approved the annual resolution to be part of the Michigan School Loan Revolving Fund. Operational and Debt Millage Rates for 2020 tax year were set as follows: Operational Non-Homestead at 18 mills; Debt at 7.75 mills; 2014 Refunding Bond – 2.0 mills; and 2015 Bonds at 5.75 mills.

Board Reports Trustee Rick Vawter provided an update on the Scholarship Committee meeting that was held on Monday, July 13. Thirteen graduating seniors were awarded locally funded scholarships totaling $49,400. Superintendent’s Report Superintendent Andy Hubbard began with a special thank you to the scholarship committee, Rick Vawter, Scott Smith, and Mark Kellogg for taking the time to read all the essays and come together to help distribute all the well-deserved scholarship funds Hartford students have available to them. Hubbard recognized the Hartford Foundation for Quality Education for their continued support of the Hartford School District. Without their ongoing efforts, 2020 graduates would not have had access to almost $50,000 annually in local scholarship funds again this year, despite the postponement of the Foundation’s major annual fundraising event over COVID-19 concerns, along with all summer events. The Foundation will conduct an online version of their spring auction fundraiser in mid-August, which Hubbard urged the community to support. Return to School Plan Hubbard reported that respondents to a parent survey sent earlier in the month concerning a return to school plan, revealed roughly 35% of school families listed that at this time they do not feel comfortable sending their children back to school for face to face instruction in the fall. Given this information, it is planned to provide options in the fall for schooling by either virtual or face to face. Stakeholder Input Group built by Hubbard, consisting of administrators, board members, teachers, directors, support staff, and parents, will continue to meet until the plan is complete. The District will be utilizing the Return to School Roadmap that was distributed by the State of Michigan. There are three parts to the plan that will have to build that are dependent on what current phase Michigan is in. Under Phase 1, 2, or 3 there will be no face to face instruction. Under Phase 4, face to face instruction may occur with strict procedures. And in Phase 5 face to face instruction may occur with relaxed procedures.

Plan approval The District’s Return to School Plan must ultimately be board approved and then submitted to Michigan Department of Education by the deadline of August 15. In a post meeting interview with Superintendent Hubbard, he was quite clear in stating that all this planning hinges on the actions of the Governor’s office as the fall restart approaches. “If she (the Governor) moves us back to Phase 3, we have a problem,” says Hubbard. He went on to explain that the rural nature of the Hartford District and the Tri-City neighbor schools makes it almost impossible to reach all students virtually due to significant lack of high-speed Internet availability. “Some large metro Michigan School Districts such as Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor have already announced an online only start for fall. That just doesn’t work for us. There will be some pen and paper.” Hubbard went on to explain the impact of social distancing. Currently recommended, but not mandated for schools, would reduce a 60 passenger bus to roughly 10 occupants. Let alone the effect on classrooms built to a totally different standard. “It’s a moving target that we cannot afford to miss,” says Hubbard, who went on to say, “All of our decisions and plans are based on the accepted best practices for the safety and welfare of all concerned, while providing the best possible education for the students we serve.”

Honor Credit Union announces Stacey Martin as Vice President of Marketing

Honor Credit Union is excited to announce the internal promotion of Stacey Martin. Formerly serving as Brand Manager, Martin recently accepted the role of Vice President of Marketing. Stacey Martin, originally from Buchanan, Michigan, still calls Southwest Michigan home along with her husband Dave and three children, Cy, Tala, Kaliana. Martin is an active leader in her hometown where she serves as Secretary of the Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce and never misses an opportunity to show her Bucktown pride while cheering her kids on from the stands. When she’s not guiding Honor’s Marketing team, Martin enjoys hiking in the mountains, hunting in Michigan’s great outdoors, attending Gospel City Church, and going on adventures with her family. Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in Education with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction. Her background includes experience in the civic education realm in both Lansing and Washington, D.C, a decade of teaching social studies at the secondary education level, a venture into real estate sales, and side-projects as a syndicated columnist, blogger, and podcast host. As the Vice President of Marketing, Stacey Martin leads and supports Honor’s Marketing team in creating and distributing educational and entertaining content to provide value and clarity in the world of finance.

Create strategies to help achieve your financial goals

Like most people, you probably have many financial goals: a comfortable retirement, long vacations, college for your children or grandchildren, the ability to leave something behind for the next generation, and so on. To achieve these various goals, you may have to follow different investment strategies – and you might have to make some tradeoffs along the way. To pursue this multi-goal/multi-strategy approach, try to follow a clear course of action, including these steps: Define your goals – and invest appropriately. You will need to identify each goal and ask some questions: How much time will you have to achieve this goal? How much return will you need from your investments and how much risk are you willing to take? With a longer-term goal, such as retirement, you may be able to invest more heavily in growth-oriented vehicles with higher expected returns. Keep in mind, though, that the value of these investments will fluctuate, and they carry more risk than more conservative investments. However, your long-term horizon allows time to recover from short-term dips. But for a shorter-term goal, such as an upcoming vacation, your investments don’t have the same time to bounce back from large drops in value, so you might follow a more conservative strategy by investing in instruments that preserve principal, even though growth may be minimal. Know what you’ve invested for each goal. Once you know what type of strategy you should follow to achieve each of your goals, you’ll need to enact that strategy. How? By matching specific investment accounts with the appropriate goals. You should know why you own all your investments. Ask yourself these questions: What goal will this investment help me achieve? How much do I have allocated toward a specific goal? If I have an IRA, a 401(k) and another account devoted to achieving the same goal, are they all working together effectively? The connections between your different investment accounts and your goals should be consistently clear to you. Understand trade-offs. Your various investment goals may be distinct, but they don’t exist in isolation. In fact, your strategy for achieving one goal may affect your ability to work toward another. For example, would significant investments in your child’s education change your funding for retirement? If you decide to buy a vacation home when you retire, will that alter the legacy you’ll be able to leave to your family? Given limited financial resources, you may have to prioritize some goals and make some trade-offs in your investment moves. Track your progress. Each of your strategies is designed to achieve a particular goal, so you need to monitor the performance of the investments within that strategy to help ensure you’re making progress. If it seems that you’re lagging, you may need to explore ways to get back on track. To manage these tasks successfully, you may want to work with a financial professional – someone who can look at your situation objectively, help you identify and quantify your goals, and suggest strategies designed to help you achieve them. Trying to achieve multiple financial goals can seem like a daunting task, but by saving and investing consistently through your working years, following a clear strategy, being willing to prioritize and accept trade-offs and getting the help you need, you can help yourself move forward. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC

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