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11-15-18 Watervliet Public Schools passes audit with flying colors; Dr. DeHaven takes a seat on th

Watervliet Public Schools passes audit  with flying colors; Dr. DeHaven takes a seat on the School Board table

By Kristy Noack

Good news was shared at Monday evening’s Board of Education meeting as the district received a ‘clean’ audit for the 2017-18 school year.

2019 MISS TEEN COLOMA PAGEANT will be held this Saturday, Nov. 17 at 3:00 p.m. in the Coloma High School Auditorium. The cost is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased in advance before Saturday from any contestant or by emailing Rayleen Hart-Wilson at Contestants are pictured (from the left): Kneeling – Kayla Walter, Jocelyn Baginske, Kylie Prisk and Ashley Kennedy; Standing: Madalyn Hicks, Bella Greenman, Grace Larsen and Kayla Smith.

Patrick Sage, CPA, of Kruggel & Lawton CPA, was on hand Nov. 12 to share audit results with the board and audience members.  According to Sage, “The audit was painless, clean, and very smooth.” The unmodified opinion of the financial firm showed the district is in good shape financially and fiscal dollars are being spent responsibly.

Sage explained, “The district is very healthy and in a really good place.” He shared one example pertaining to his audit of the food service division at the school. Food services spent “over $700,000” with no findings or irregularities.

Sage was complimentary of the district and also commended the administration and staff on being organized and prepared.

Dr. DeHaven returns to the Board as Troy Boone vacates

Board secretary Matt Clay read aloud a resignation letter submitted by Board trustee Troy Boone. Boone, who resigned on October 19, spent seven years as a board member. Bill Spaulding, president of the Board, commented, “He was a valued and highly contributive member of this board.”  Trustee Ted Tees reiterated Spaulding’s comments, acknowledging, “More than once we would say, ‘Let’s see what Troy thinks.’”

Replacing Boone on the Board will be Dr. Andrew DeHaven.  DeHaven has prior experience as a Watervliet Board of Education member and will fill the seat until the next election schedule for November 2020.  DeHaven was the only candidate to apply for the position.

Marshall resigns; VanDuinen hired

Michelle Marshall, an English Language Arts teacher at Watervliet Middle School, resigned her position on November 9.  She had served the school district for three years.

Dave Armstrong, middle school principal, announced Caitlin VanDuinen would fill the teaching position left vacant by Marshall, provided the Board approved the measure.

VanDuinen, originally from Gobles, Michigan, previously taught in Portage and Gobles before moving to Idaho. She recently returned to Michigan and interviewed with Armstrong for the open position.  Armstrong spoke to VanDuinen’s former colleagues, who enthusiastically recommended her for the position.  The Board approved the hiring of VanDuinen.

Post Prom Committee picks Strikes and Spares

Karla Liles represented the Watervliet Post Prom Committee and requested the approval of the Board to allow the use of district busses to transport students on May 12, 2019 from Watervliet to Strikes and Spares in Mishawaka, Indiana.  Liles advised the Board that the Post Prom Committee wanted to provide a safe, fun environment for kids following the conclusion of prom.  Liles said four bus drivers have already volunteered their time to drive the busses, which would be needed from midnight until 5 a.m.

Strikes and Spares offers after prom participants a multitude of activities including bowling, black light mini golf, arcade games, and inside go-karts. The Board approved the request.

Board Policy 3120.4 regarding substitutes is approved for first reading

The Watervliet Board of Education approved the first reading of Policy 3120.4 regarding the employment of substitutes.  Previously, the policy required a person with 90 semester hours of college credit could work as an eligible substitute teacher in the Watervliet district, based on a requirement by the Michigan Department of Education.

Recently, the MDE changed the requirement to reflect only 60 college credit hours in an effort to boost the pool of qualified, available substitute teachers.

According to Superintendent Kevin Schooley, there is a shortage of substitute teachers across the state, changing the policy will allow for districts to secure additional daily substitute teachers who will be required to pass background checks and college credit checks.

The Board approved amending policy 3120.4 from 90 hours to 60 hours in accordance with MDE’s recommendation.

A nice check to write

Superintendent Schooley reviewed the budget and General Fund bill payments for the month. The board approved paying General Fund expenses of $2,066,385.59 for October. Of that number, $747,392.01 was related to payroll expenses.

Schooley also noted that the final payment for the construction bond was being processed and will be included in next month’s bill payment. The final payment, to Pearson Construction, will close out the project.  According to Schooley, the completion of the bond work “was a team effort. The Board can be proud of the buildings.” Additionally, the district has earned over $217,000 in rebate savings and has $11,060.62 left to spend as part of the project.

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