Escanaba School Board forgives portion of loan

ESCANABA – The Escanaba School Board has approved forgiving the Escanaba Band Boosters the remaining balance of a loan they borrowed for band uniforms. The action was taken at Monday’s school board meeting.

The Escanaba Band Boosters borrowed $17,000 from the school district for its marching band uniform campaign in the spring of 2011. The request to forgive the remaining balance of the loan came in a letter addressed to Superintendent Michele Lemire and school board members. In the letter, the group said it received “overwhelming support” from the community and non-profit organizations in its fundraising efforts for the new uniforms, generating $32,761.86 toward their final goal of $34,602.24, leaving a remaining balance of just over $1,800 they owed to the school board for the loan.

“The Finance Committee is recommending that the Board of Education forgive the Escanaba Band Boosters the remaining $1,840.38 balance of their loan, which they used for the purchase of band uniforms,” said Escanaba Superintendent Michele Lemire during the meeting.

According to the letter, the request was made as the boosters are looking to focus its fundraising efforts toward its next project. The group noted most Eskymo Marching Band expenses are covered through fund-raising efforts with a small portion provided by the high school’s general fund in the annual supply budget.

The board unanimously approved forgiving the remaining $1,840.38 balance of the loan.

Board members were also presented a token of appreciation from Lemire for their service. In honor of School Board Recognition Month, Lemire presented each board member a framed photo of appreciation that showed various happenings throughout the district during the school year.

“January is School Board Recognition Month and school board members have to look at the big picture of the school district,” said Lemire while making the presentations to the board. “They need to know that student achievement happens. They have to make sure that fiscally, we’re set. They have to make sure our facilities and buildings are safe. They need to make sure that they serve as communicators of public interest to benefit all students.”

In other business, the board:

– was notified of several Escanaba High School students represented in three state honors choirs. The three choirs performed this past weekend at the Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids. According to High School Principal Doug Leisenring, each auditioned choir is comprised of 100 students. Escanaba High School was the most represented high school in the state, with 17 students participating in one of the choirs. It was also announced during the choirs’ performances that high school chorus and chorale teacher John Beck would be director of one of the groups during the 2014 Michigan Music Conference.

– approved hiring Lisa Willis as itinerant kindergarten technology teacher, a part-time position at 20 percent. Willis earned a bachelor of science degree with a minor in elementary education from Grand Valley State University. She has been employed for three years as a fifth grade teacher with Grand Haven Public Schools from 1994 to 1997. From January 1998 to May 2000, she served as a Title I assistant with Escanaba Area Public Schools. She has worked as a substitute teacher in the district since 2007.