Roscommon School Board Approves Budget & Honors Retirees
The Roscommon Area Public Schools (RAPS) Board of Education held their budget meeting, followed by their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 19th. The projected budget for the 2013-2014 school year is based on an estimated student count of 1,081. Taking all aspects of fund cutting, student loss, state and federal cuts, the school district is looking at a revenue loss that exceeds $930,000. With the cuts and changes the district has made this year, they have managed to cut the total loss for the 2012-2013 school year down to just over $1.1 million. A complete copy of the budget amendments and projections can be obtained at the school board office building.
Elementary and Middle School Principals Kathy Reese and Ron Alden were called forward to honor the retirees of their buildings. Reese honored Jane Carroll, Shirley James and Kathy Chapman while Alden honored DeAnna Jones, Kay Schultz, Diane Nellist, Jackie Samaro and John Schaeffer. Short stories were shared as each was called up to receive their certificate and gift from the district.
Superintendent Catherine Erickson took the floor with the discussion on the business office procedures, or the lack thereof. The school district was audited and marked down for the lack of accounting procedures. It seems the district has a set way of doing things, but it is not written. It was also noted by Erickson and President Brian Hill that the district has been hit with every audit that can be done to a school district this year. Stating that that is, “Just unheard of,” Hill posed questions about other districts facing the same issues. Business Manager Shay Anderson noted, “We have fared fairly well in all of the audits, but it is tiring, it’s like getting beat up over and over.” The auditor has given the district until August to comply or penalties that will affect their funding will enter the picture.
In her Superintendent report, Erickson spoke of the Professional Development that will take place for staff over the summer. Some will be held at the school and some will have staff traveling to off-site locations. Noting that the staff attending the development classes will be paid for their time, Erickson attributes that factor to the higher than normal number of attendees. Also noted was the summer school program consisting of 120 students for K-8 will incorporate family-oriented field trips.
In public comment, Jim Perialas took the floor to question the district’s policy of charging students to play sports and/or be involved in extracurricular activities. Stating that the Houghton Lake School system recently removed all fees for sports, and added busing for the cross-country team, Perialas questions the effectiveness of the policy for RAPS. Erickson answered the question by pointing out that the TASK Force actually made numerous suggestions on raising the fees to make money and that the fees are likely to remain. Perialas pointed out that he has asked numerous individuals that should know how much the district makes from the fees and what the money is used for but has never received an answer other than, “I don’t know.” Hill made the direction for Erickson and Anderson to obtain the numbers and figures on the fees and present them openly.
By Kevin Howe