Here are the “highlights” of the October 20 meeting of the PSD Board of Education, as filtered through the lens of the PEA.
1. A letter praising North Elementary was referenced by the Board, although not read aloud. Good going North — for something you have done!
2. The Board accepted the 07-08 audit report from Plante and Moran. Matt made sure he asked the representatives from P & M what type of fund balance a school should have. The rep (to his credit) danced around the answer. He cited MSBO guidelines that suggest 15-20% and he cited the State of Michigan that maintains 10%. Typical pre-bargaining posturing to prep the Board for holding out on us.
3. The three elementary principals jointly presented an overview of all the changes in the three buildings. They mentioned (several times) the difficulty providing quality instruction with tight budgets and fewer teachers. They also praised the teachers for “getting on board” with all the changes and working so hard to make the transitions work.
4. The Board agreed to allow Matt or Julie to approve up to $199,000 in change orders for the HS construction. They had previously been authorized to approve up to $100,000.
5. The Board agreed to purchase new copiers. No specifics were given to the public, but the cost for the new COLOR copier (at the administration offices, of course) is 6.6 cents per click.
6. The Board (on a vote of 5-2) agreed to sign the county-wide agreement regarding schools of choice. Miller thinks the agreement hurts Parchment more than helps. The two dissenting votes were Gibson and Newnum.
7. The Board went into closed session to discuss negotiations. I didn’t wait around. What was an interesting item on the agenda (for after the closed session) was a future date for the Kalamazoo County School Officers Association. Their November dinner meeting includes a presentation called, “Health Care Without MESSA.” Nice.
After the auditor’s report (showing a decline in fund balance) and various other comments regarding the tight budget picture, I’m sure the closed session went just great (for us). Matt did say to the Board that our enrollment was more stable than expected, and that our enrollment decline was less that feared.
Gibson, however, said that the challenges facing us next year will probably be much worse than anyone can yet predict. He wasn’t clear as to what types of challenges he was referencing.