11-23-2017 Christmas comes early to Hartford Schools 4% plus enrollment increase, employee raises &#

Christmas comes early to Hartford Schools 4% plus enrollment increase, employee raises & new Business Manager

By Jon Bisnett

Superintendent Andy Hubbard was pleased to communicate, during the regular monthly meeting on Nov. 16, his official hiring committee recommendation to the Hartford Board of Education to hire Miss Rebecca Drake for the position of District Business Manager.

With similar roots as her predecessor, Rebecca was a Top Ten Graduate and Foundation Scholarship Recipient as a member of the Hartford High School Class of 2012. After attaining her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Alma College, she then went to work for the Lansing firm of Maner Costerisan; specialists in educational and municipal audits, with an impressive client list including the Kent County Intermediate School District and the Michigan Association of School Boards. She’ll share the chair with retiring business manager Mike Hallgren through the holidays and formally take the reins following the Christmas break.

4.5% enrollment increase equals pay raise

When Superintendent Hubbard negotiated the most recent teachers’ contract he built in provision for a 1% retroactive pay raise should the district meet a total enrollment goal of 1,287. Hubbard spoke with great excitement in informing the board the goal of 1,287 was far surpassed by more than 70 students and recommended the 1% be further extended to all other school employees not covered by the HEA contract, (with the only exception being the superintendent himself.) The across the board 1% increase will be paid retroactive to the first day of the new school year, putting a bit of holiday cheer in the stocking of each and every member of the hard working team that services the district in a variety of disciplines. The measure received not only unanimous approval but kudos as well from the board for the achievement of another step of the district’s long range plan.

Employee retirement

Superintendent Hubbard informed the board of the retirement of 23-year veteran food service worker Janet Wehmann from Redwood Elementary. The board recognizes Wehmann for her dedication over the years serving literally tens of thousands of lunches to their elementary students.

New staffer at Redwood

Redwood Elementary Principal Ed Dickinson introduced the newest member of his staff. Trish Pletcher joins the Redwood team as the new Special Education teacher. Pletcher comes from a 17-year stint with the Edwardsburg Public School system. A graduate of Indiana University-South Bend, she then completed her graduate work at Grand Canyon University with an emphasis on Reading Instruction. She is also well versed in Response to Intervention, Restraint, and Autism Support. She brings the knowledge of a successful Peer to Peer program she initiated at her prior post.

County Board Meeting

Redwood Elementary will host the Van Buren County Association of School Boards’ November meeting on November 28. Board members around the county are anxious to see the new elementary building.

Superintendents Report

Superintendent Andy Hubbard reported Kingscott Architects and construction manager Miller-Davis are in the process of developing a permanent fix for flooding at the southeast end of the new Redwood lot.

Hubbard also reminded that a half day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the first of three days that needed to be added to the school year schedule to offset the late school opening. “We won’t be going in July like some parents worried,” joked Hubbard. “Remember it’s a combination of both hours and days by state law. We just need this extra half day and two full days in the final week of school to be compliant.”

Hubbard also set the date for the January organizational meeting as Thursday, January 11.

Student representative