From time to time a Board member may ask a question at a regular Board meeting. In an effort to maintain transparency, when written responses are given to the Board the answers will also be posted on this webpage.
July 26, 2016
Student Travel Request
At the last Board meeting it was asked why a Student Travel request was being presented for approval after the travel had occurred. May 16 was the Board meeting immediately preceding the travel dates of June 3 and June 4. This particular student travel was for a State Meet the LCHS track team had just qualified for and the request came to the central office very close to the travel date. While central office had the request in time for the June board meetings, it was not on the agenda due to an oversight. We understand the importance of receiving Board approval prior to the travel and we will continue to remind our staff to provide the requests in advance. Of course sometimes, as in this case, opportunities become available too late to receive approval in advance. Neither central office nor the Board want to limit opportunities for kids so while we work on our processes to keep this as tight as possible, we appreciate the Board's flexibility when necessary.
Closing Costs for Sale of Chesterfield to Austin Catholic High School
At Monday night's meeting a board member requested the closing costs for the sale of Chesterfield Elementary to Austin Catholic High School. Please CLICK HERE to see the document. As mentioned we also paid for an appraisal to be conducted, which was paid prior to closing in the amount of $4,500.
June 23, 2016
Censure of Trustee Mary Hilton
At the June 20 regular meeting the Board of Education voted to censure Trustee Mary Hilton for her conduct at the Harry L. Wheeler Community Center and Administrative Offices on May 4, 2016. CLICK HERE to see the censure and investigation documents.
June 8, 2016
Open Meetings Act Complaint
On March 18, 2016 the Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney advised the district that “the Board technically violated the (Open Meetings) Act at the meeting on October 19 (2015) by going into closed session pursuant to MCL 15.268 (h) without the requisite number of votes. However, at most, the evidence establishes the Board committed this violation unintentionally, and without attempting to evade the requirements of the Act. As a result, the Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney has declined to take any further action against the Board or its Trustees.”
To rectify this error, the L’Anse Creuse Board of Education agreed at the Board meeting on June, 6, 2016, to waive the attorney client privilege on the legal opinions discussed in the closed session meeting of October 19, 2015. The Board is therefore making available to the public:
April 22, 2016
2015/16 Central Office - Restructured
At the April 16 Board workshop there was a question on the reductions for fiscal year 2015/16, specifically the reduction of coaches and the deputy superintendent position. The budget reductions for the current fiscal year are reflected on page 12 in the board packet. On this document, line 7 is the elimination of coaches for savings in the amount of $234,000. Line 19 reflects the restructure of central office, with the elimination of the deputy superintendent position, changing the executive director of elementary education and the executive director for secondary education to assistant superintendent positions, with a new pay scale effective 2016/17 and the change in title of CFO to assistant superintendent for business and operations with no change in pay scale. The savings reflected is $212,000. Total savings $446,000.
2016/17 Budget Recommendations - POTS
There was a question on the elimination of POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) lines in regards to whether this would impact emergency calls. We recently implemented E911 in the district. All of our 911 calls go out via our Fiber Optic network to the support services building and then over 4 dedicated Primary Rate Interfaces (PRI). These PRI lines are dedicated connections to our phone provider and do not rely on the internet. Additionally, if we move forward with the change from POTS to PRIs, we will have 1 emergency phone line in each building, which most likely will be provided by a local cable company. Thus, if the connection via the PRI lines is not connecting to support services we will have another line to flow the emergency call through. The cost for these phone lines have been taken into consideration when computing the savings reflected on the recommendation’s document.
Comerica Bank Accounts
At Monday night’s board meeting, a trustee inquired about the status of the closing of accounts at Comerica. There were three accounts still open that had received interest income. We transferred the funds to JP Morgan Chase and have sent a letter to the bank requesting the accounts be closed by April 20, 2016.
The wire transfer to Huntington Bank appearing on the April 18 Board agenda was for the annual fee of $500.00 as paying agent for the 2015 Refunding Bonds issued in the amount of $118,685,000. Each bond issue has an associated “paying agent”. The fee is for the services the bank provides in wiring bond payments in May and November.
As you are aware, all of the employment recommendations were postponed at the last Board Meeting, due to questions regarding the SkillsUSA – Catering Specialist position at the Pankow Center.
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure students develop the skills employers want. SkillsUSA activities develop positive attitudes, build self-esteem and empower students to excel. They work with the students to provide them with a head start in developing valuable professional skills such as communications, interpersonal abilities, time management, teamwork and more.
At the Board meeting we established the individual previously approved by the Board to replace the former Culinary Arts para, is also being recommended for the SkillsUSA – Catering Specialist duties. Based on additional inquiry, this is not a new position; this position was created several years ago and has been staffed continuously since that time. These duties were previously held by the former Culinary Arts para. The duties regarding the SkillsUSA assignment include working with Culinary Arts students on catering projects and acting as a coach, helping to prepare them for Skills USA competitions. He shares this assignment with the other Culinary Arts para. This is an afterhours assignment.
March 29, 2016
The $90,000 payment to BCC that was referenced at a recent Board meeting is the second of the two installments of the $180,000 contract with BCC for four teachers for 2015/16. Our 2015/2016 contract with BCC includes four Chinese immersion teachers for our elementary schools: 1 Kindergarten and 1 First Grade teacher at both Yacks and Carkenord Elementary schools. The total cost for each teacher is $45,000. Our beginning L’Anse Creuse teachers make less than $45,000, however with benefits (FICA, retirement, health care); the approximate cost of a new L’Anse Creuse teacher is $60,000.
Please note, these costs are fully covered by the revenue generated through the Chinese program including tuition for Chinese students attending our high schools, the state foundation allowance for these students and various programs we have (such as a 2-week camp).
Per a Board Member’s inquiry, the costs for the March 8 Non-Homestead election are as follows:
1) The cost of the EPIC MRA survey was $20,000. Please note this survey was designed to provide information related to community knowledge and support for the district and programs in addition to feedback on the election.
2) The cost of printed educational materials such has handouts, postcards, posters and postage to mail the postcards we had in stock (required when we were advised we were no longer able to distribute them in January based on the “gag order” legislation) was $3,000.
3) There were legal costs throughout the process for our election attorney; for creating ballot language, Board resolutions and guidance to ensure the district met the legal requirements in our informational materials.
4) We are expecting relatively low costs payable to the township/county for the election. When we are on a ballot with other items, we are required to pay the incremental increase in cost for our ballot question, whereas if we are the only item on the ballot, we would pay the full cost. Low or no costs are anticipated from this.
This election generates $14 million per year for the day-to-day operations of the district and is a state required component to receive our full foundation allowance. When you consider the costs to educate our community on this election, please remember two components: 1) the district’s responsibility to explain to our community the ballot question, and 2) the devastation to programs and services that would occur if our voters were uninformed, and based on the lack of information, did not support this election.
February 5, 2016
Per Board discussion, CLICK HERE to view September 2014 - March 2015 comparative statements. This is to show that expenditures exceeds revenue each month primarily due to timing of state aid payments.
December 4, 2015
Citizens Committee Financials
Per a Board member’s request, you can find the financial information about the L’Anse Creuse Citizens Committee on the Macomb County Clerk’s website. Please click here for forms and details. The committee id number is 67113 CLICK HERE for the website.
November 6, 2015
EDUStaff Admin Fee
Per a Board Member’s request the administrative fee for EDUstaff is 18% (with some exceptions for workers comp positions). The 18% includes 7.65% for FICA, resulting in a net administrative fee of 10.35%. The discussion suggested that the fee charged by EDUStaff for contracted staff was very similar to the retirement rate we pay for employees; however the retirement rate for employees is approximately 26% with FICA as an additional, separate cost of 7.65%.