Manistique schools: District acts to secure funding

MANISTIQUE – The Manistique Board of Education took action to secure funding for the coming year and discussed new ways of promoting education and healthy habits in students during its meeting Monday night.

The board adopted a state aid operating resolution during the meeting, allowing the district to borrow money using a bidding process through the Michigan Finance Authority. It will offset costs until the first state aid payment is received in October.

“There’s no notable difference in this year’s operating loan resolution compared to last year,” said Superintendent Kathy McDonough. “At this time, (it is) a $2 million request with an up to $2 million request for the following year.”

The application is an annual process, and last year the loan was awarded to The State Savings Bank of Manistique. Even though the district will eventually receive funds from the state, borrowing the money through the Michigan Finance Authority’s program leaves the district responsible for the interest on the loan – an estimated $30,000 this year.

“For us that would fund an aide (or) half a teacher,” said McDonough.

To apply for a loan through the program, the district must have the application filled out by an attorney, an additional cost to the district.

“It seems to me that that’s cruel and unusual punishment,” said board Vice President Giannine Perigo of the costs incurred by the district because of the loan program.

Despite the state cash flow issues, the district is exploring new methods of educating students – including some with roots far outside Michigan’s borders.

“Being of Finnish descent, I’m very interest in the fact that they have the No. 1 education system in the world right now,” said McDonough.

McDonough will be attending an education forum during FinnFest USA 2013 at Finlandia University this week. The forum will include teacher education models, teaching methods, and speakers from Finland.

“I’m anxious to see just what it is that makes their system tick,” said McDonough.

Examining the Finnish education system is not the only way the district is trying to develop new programs for the betterment of its students. New this year is the Emerald Elementary School Play Book.

“All students received a copy of this for the summer. It’s a guide for parents and children for fun and active games to play and easy nutritious snack ideas,” explained Emerald Elementary Principal Erik Mason.

The 26-page booklet will be given to the families of incoming kindergartners in the fall. A PDF version of the booklet is also available on the Emerald Elementary page of the district’s website,