Plymouth School Board approves financial pillar

by Dave Cary Review Correspondent

PLYMOUTH – After several months of development, the Plymouth School Board approved the financial “pillar” of its longrange planning Tuesday.

Instead of being merely a series of numerical totals and projections, the pillar is actually a three-year strategic plan that lays out objectives and enumerates steps that will be required if the objectives are to be reached.

These long-range objectives include:

• Eventual elimination of short-term borrowing and use of debt only for capital improvements; this will require a general fund balance of at least 25 percent, plus in-theblack food service operations and balanced or in-the-black operation from Community Ed, and the district budget will have to operate at a surplus. No target date is attached to these goals, but a handout strongly suggests they would be at least three years off.

• The district will, after three years, have defined its optimal size and optimal rate of growth together with the desirable level of open enrollment. With these in hand, it will set in motion ideas developed to attract new residents to the district.

• The district will be contributing participants in regional planning organizations to better understand and influence planning, purchasing and revenue enhancing opportu- nities.

• The district will have a maintenance plan that prioritizes various needs, establishing a cost for each need and timeline for its completion. Facility cleanliness will rise from level 3 to level 2 under APPA custodial service standards.

• Board and administration members will systematically review district needs with elected representatives and discuss implications of proposed legislation.

• • •

Back in 2008, the board agreed to fund an $84,000 project that built concession facilities at the softball diamonds and restroom facilities there and at the football field, with funds to be repaid to the district over 10 years by the athletic teams involved and the Booster Club.

Tuesday, the board received the latest update on the project from social studies teacher and softball coach Gale Grahn.

Grahn said that after the sixth year, the $84,000 is some 80 percent paid off. Grahn explained that each year the Boosters and others did extra fundraising for the project, and had always substantially exceeded the required amount. Now, he said, the balance was down to $17,875 due with four years to go. Had the original payment schedule been exactly met, the balance due would be some $34,000.

Board President Tim St. Clair “apologized” to Grahn for having opposed the plan when it had originally been proposed.

• • •

Riverview Principal Chris Scudella, who heads the district’s summer school, updated the board on this year’s program.

The school will run, she said, from July 7 through Aug. 8, with registration to be held April 7. Fees will be the same as last year.

New classes will be offered in reading and math readiness, as well as photography, and, in conjunction with the Community Ed program, babysitting.

An unusual offering will be beginning courses in welding for boys and for girls.

Parents of enrolled students will be polled for their reactions to all classes after completion of the summer term.

The summer school brochure, she said, is available on the Internet.

• • •

PHS FACE teacher Connie Lund told the board that the district’s Youth Apprenticeship Program had really “taken off.” From a start of two students in 2011-12, the program – a partnership with Lakeshore Technical College – had grown to four in the succeeding year and risen to 16 this year. Fifteen students have already applied for next year, she said.

In the program, students combine work and study, actually working for companies – under an agreement with the program – and receiving credit for it besides being paid. For full credit in the program, a student must complete 450 hours of work in a year. Most of this, Lund said, came after school or on weekends. Several students even combine it with athletic practice, she said.

Companies interested in the program, she said, can contact her about it or LTC.

• • •

In personnel matters, the board approved the draft of the Support Staff Handbook. Changes were reviewed last week.

• The board accepted the resignation of Riverview Middle School teacher Lisa Jones as of March 7. A Special Ed teacher, Jones taught in the district for 12 years.

• Kelly Klug has been hired as a Special Ed teacher’s aide at Riverview Middle School.

• • •

The board accepted gifts of:

• $500 from Mitch Davis for the PHS Fitness Center.

• $95 from Francis Chiropractic for materials needed for PHS students to paint the “little free libraries.”

• $1,708 from PTK for an amplification/ audio system.

• $1,000 worth of tagboard sheets from Marquip Ward United Corp., to be used by Riverview students for various projects.

• $100 from Patricia Fonder for books and supplies for Justin Lloyd’s classroom at Horizon Elementary School.

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