December 21, 2014

SSCS will apply for Best Practices Incentive funding, approves consultant fees

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
Posted

STANDISH – At its Nov. 9 meeting, the Standish-Sterling Community Schools Board of Education approved a resolution to apply for Michigan “Best Practices Incentive” funding, which would gain the district an additional $100 per student from the state.

Board President Dr. Leonard LeClair said the district has already met four of the five benchmarks required for the incentive, and the remaining one simply needed to be submitted to the Michigan Department of Education.

Of the five benchmarks required in order to receive the funding, SSCS has already met four: the district charges employees 10% of their health care premiums, holds an insurance policy on medical benefit plans, has developed a district effectiveness dashboard, and obtains competitive bids for non-instructional services.

The fifth and final benchmark, a service consolidation plan, was approved by the board at the same meeting. SSCS Superintendent Darren Kroczaleski said it was very easy to put together the plan since the schools were already doing it.

“It’s all stuff we’re already doing,” he said. “Outside of the (Intermediate School District) there’s very little coordination going on.”

The $100 per student brought in by the Best Practices Initiative will partially restore cuts made to education funding this year to balance the state’s budget. Prior to the current budget year, schools received $470 per student. The district will need to update and send the Department of Education its service consolidation plan by February.

The board also approved an agreement with Beverly Skinner to continue consulting with the school on improvements and assisting the district with finding, applying for, and getting federal and state grants at the rate of $300 per day, or $37.50 per hour, for up to 160 hours for the school year.

Skinner used to do those activities as a district employee before she retired last year. The board has kept her services on as a contractor since then.

Kroczaleski said he believes that will be enough time to get through the school year. He said Skinner’s rates are cheaper than those of anyone else he’d found, and her familiarity with the schools will save the district time and money.

Also at the meeting, the board approved a trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls for sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students in the National Junior Honor Society, as well as an end-of-year trip to Cedar Point in Ohio for the eighth grade.

Finally, the board put a request for a boiler heat recovery system on hold. Only one bid was submitted for the project, at a higher cost than the board was interested in.

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