IRON RIVER— West Iron County’s School Board officially approved its 2013-14 budget during a special meeting June 26, and hired two new teachers and retained a third.
The board got some good news: Its fund balance at the end of the 2012-13 school year will be about $25,000 better than earlier expected. Superintendent Chris Thomson said Amber Laturi, the district’s business manager, had expected to get an electric bill—but it had not arrived by the June 26 meeting.
That means the district will go into the new school year with a fund balance of $1.215 million. Using the same revenue and expense budget figures as before, it estimates a fund balance of $968,000 on June 30, 2014.
Laturi said the original (proposed) 2012-13 budget anticipated a fund balance of $860,636 at the end of June 2013. But the district had more students enrolling than expected in fall 2012, and that boosted revenue (state aid). In the end, along with other changes, the district finished with a fund balance $355,000 higher than first expected.
She also reminded the board that West Iron purchased two new school buses from the general fund and hired an additional sixth grade teacher, along with adding laptops and interactive whiteboards. “A lot has happened during the year.”
As for the 2013-14 budget, Thomson told the board that the proposed budget anticipates new contracts with West Iron’s teaching and non-teaching staffs.
“We have a local district that has passed their proposed budget,” Thomson continued, referring to a Dickinson County news article, “with a very limited fund balance, and they project no step increases and no salary increases next year for teachers. They’re walking a very thin line.”
Laturi said the new budget’s revenue figures will be affected by the September student count. In most recent years, said Thomson, the district’s estimated count was on target. Last year’s estimate was off—but to West Iron’s benefit with more students enrolling than expected.
This year … time will tell.
• The board also hired three teachers:
--Amy Rhino, second grade. She served as a long-term substitute at West Iron this last year after a teacher went on leave. After she retired, the position became available, and she was selected.
--Richelle Jochem, at seventh-eighth grade science. She is the former Richelle Carlson of Iron River and lives in Caspian. She has taught in the Goodman-Armstrong Creek schools for the last few years and has seven years experience altogether. As part of the change, Jay Jurecic will shift from science to sixth grade math and computers. Jurecic was a math major.
--Jobe Sullivan at middle school physical education. He is from Iron Mountain, a Northern Michigan University grad and will also teach a high school social studies class. Sullivan will also be able to coach sports teams.
• In other business from its June 17 meeting, the board:
--Approved a contract with Dane Shovald as building and grounds supervisor with oversight. The district and its non-teaching union will work out details—Shovald will remain in the union but will get more oversight responsibilities.
--After discussion about specifications, agreed to contracts with Stickbuilt Construction for demolishing former locker rooms at the Stambaugh Elementary building ($5,450) and renovating the space into a conference room and a room that visiting specialists can use ($23,900).