2018-02-11 / News

ISD officials encouraged by governor’s budget increase for education

810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com

ATTICA TWP. — Experts predict an impending dearth of qualified employees in several critical business sectors like health services, and educators are trying to tackle to issue by providing their students with pathways to gain the needed training for the future. To that end, proposed initiatives issued by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder are putting the emphasis on career and technical education (CTE), and during a Wednesday meeting of the Lapeer County Intermediate School District (LCSID) Board of Education, Superintendent Steve Zott informed the board of new financial incentives directed toward area schools to encourage student enrollment in CTE classes.

On Feb. 7, Snyder’s fiscal year 2019 budget recommendation was presented to the joint Committee on Appropriations, and among suggestions was a significant investment in K-12 education, including an increase to the foundation allowance — the amount distributed to school districts per student — to the tune of $312 million statewide, which would result in a likely increase to Lapeer County school districts of $240 per student, bringing the base budgeted per student amount to $8,409.

Snyder’s proposal also included a premium of $25 per student enrolled in K-12 CTE programs, and a further premium of an additional $25 for students enrolled in CTE programs related to high-demand career fields. Zott shared the proposed increases with the LCISD board.

“Overall the investment in education was strong,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.” According to Snyder’s proposal, cyber school foundation allowance would be reduced by $25 million and will cap at 75 percent of the foundation allowance.

In other business:

• The board approved a trio of overnight trips for various student groups. Five digital media arts students will head to the BPA State Leadership Conference in Grand Rapids on March 15-18, at a cost to the district not exceeding $1,978.

On March 21-23, 22 health science students will attend the HOSA State Leadership Conference, also in Grand Rapids, at a cost not to exceed $3,956. Lastly, 15 members of the GalakTech Invaders Robotics Team will attend the FIRST Robotics Qualifying Event in Shepherd March 29-31, at a cost to the district not exceeding $509.

• The board approved the posting of two available positions within the district. The district will seek to fill a position for an infrastructure technician and a special education instructional aide. The latter position is an adjustment of a previous position of a job coach, a role the district had trouble with.

“We’ve had significant difficulty finding and retaining job coaching so we’ve not been able to maintain the kind of work schedule we want for our students,” said Zott. The modified position will be for a part-time instructional position that will handle many of the job duties expected of the former job coach position. “This way they can help out in the classroom as well,” Zott said. “(Job coaching) is vital to these students, it smoothes that transition.”

• Two new hires were approved by the board. Lori Ouellette was approved to fill the position of assessment technician and Karl Heilman was approved as the district’s newest school social worker.

• The 2018-19 special education calendar was approved as presented by the board, solidifying pertinent dates for the next school year. The approved calendar will be posted to the LCISD website.

“It’s increasingly important to not only have a calendar in place for the parents to plan but for administration too,” said Zott. The calendar features 170 in-school days for students and 184 days for teachers.

• The board approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD) and the Lapeer Intermediate School District for a two-day workshop titled “Teaching Mathematics Contextually” at a cost not to exceed $7,500, with the understanding that the STEM Early College Expansion Partnership (SECEP) will reimburse the ISD for the costs.

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