School district adopts budget

ESCANABA – The Escanaba Area Public Schools Board of Education has adopted its budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The general fund resolution approved at Monday’s school board meeting reflects revenues for the coming fiscal year in the amount of $21,298,217, and expenditures of $21,522,252. This shows expenditures over revenues of $224,035. However, the district is projected to have an unreserved fund balance of $487,498 on June 30, 2015.

According to the adopted resolution, state funding accounts for approximately $15.8 million of the district’s $21 million in revenue. An additional $4.3 million is generated through local revenues, while federal funds total $839,000.

Approximately $14.5 million of the district’s $21.5 million in expenditures is allocated toward instruction in the 2014-15 budget with the remaining funds to be spent on support services within the district.

The district’s hot lunch fund resolution, which was also approved, reflects revenues of $1,171,475 and expenditures of $1,168,728 with a projected unreserved fund balance of $26,570 on June 30, 2015.

The board also voted to recall four teachers to open teaching positions for the 2014-15 school year: Jacob Berlinski for a social studies and computers position in the junior high school, Lisa Gagnon for an elementary music and technology position, Lisa Willis for a second grade teaching position at Lemmer Elementary School, and Danielle Wotchko for an English position in the senior high school.

In addition, the board approved a number of routine resolutions such as a cash flow borrowing resolution, which according to Escanaba Superintendent Michele Lemire, allows the district to borrow up to $3.8 million for cash flow purposes for the coming fiscal year.

Board members also adopted a health insurance resolution to comply with the Publicly Funded Health Insurance Act, which limits the district’s contribution to 80 percent for health and health-related insurance costs for the 2014-15 school year, rather than through the hard cap formula.

“Our calculations, given our projected rates starting July 1, 2014, illustrate that complying with the act by using the 80/20 calculation is in the best financial interest of the district,” said Lemire.

The board also approved an agreement with the Escanaba Education Association for wages and insurance.

Lemire said the agreement reflects a zero percent wage increase to the salary schedule and steps granted as per the sixth pay period, along with the same insurance package for health, dental and vision as was provided during the 2013-14 school year. However, the agreement provides an additional option for health if a member voluntarily elects to change on Jan. 1, 2015, to a higher deductible plan with a Health Savings Account.

In other business, the board:

– approved Escanaba High School’s participation in a cooperative swim team that will be implemented through Gladstone High School. According to Lemire, this will increase opportunities for students during the winter sports season.

– approved routine budget amendments for the 2013-14 fiscal year general and hot lunch funds.

– approved hiring Dan Seder as director for the district’s Escanaba Student Success Center.

– approved the hiring of LeAnn Bink and Jennifer Reynolds to fill two open social worker positions in the district.

– approved a number of coaching hires including: Kristopher Langlois as the junior varsity fall cheerleading coach, Cassie McKeever as varsity fall cheerleading coach, Bev Zeibel as freshman volleyball coach, Dave Wilson as freshman football coach, and Shayne Dix as junior high fall cheerleading coach.

– approved a list of eight teachers recommended for the next level in their probationary status: Cody Fleming, Jeanne Johnson, Cheri Lehto, Colleen Martin, Tara Moreno, Jessica Nelson, Krista Warm, and Jeffrey Wright.

– approved renewing Superintendent Michele Lemire’s contract for one more year. Her salary schedule and benefit package remains the same as outlined in the contract from the 2012-13 school year.

– approved renewing administration contracts for Doug Leisenring, senior high school principal; Darci Griebel, junior high school principal; Steve Martin, upper elementary school principal; Matt Johnson-Reeves, Lemmer Elementary School principal; Paulette Wickham, Soo Hill Elementary School principal; Jude VanDamme, Webster Elementary School principal; and Sue Furney, business manager. Their contracts were extended for one more year. Salary schedule and benefits remain the same as outlined in contracts from the 2012-13 school year.

– approved renewing non-union personnel contracts for Amy Cseter, director of operations; Nancy LaFave, director of hot lunch; Tim Bishop, network technician; Phil DeMay, computer technician; Robert Viau, director of technology; Sandy Dufresne, senior high school secretary; Michelle Giese, transportation coordinator; Kim Francis, upper elementary school secretary; Gary Lark, discipline officer; and Marlene Valley, superintendent secretary. Their contracts were extended for one more year. In addition, the wage and insurance information for these positions remains the same as what was offered during the 2012-13 school year.

– adopted the 2014-15 Michigan High School Athletic Association Membership Resolution for Aug. 1, 2014, through July 31, 2015. The resolution must be ratified by the board to obtain membership in the MHSAA.