By Rosemary K. Otzman
Fredrick Abel, assistant principal at Owen Intermediate School, was approved as the new principal of Edgemont Elementary at Monday’s meeting of the Van Buren Public Schools Board of Education.
He will be paid $87,394, plus fringe benefits offered to all administrators, for the one-year term effective July 1.
Human Resources Director Shonta Langford-Green said they interviewed several in-house candidates for the position.
Edgemont Principal Delria Crippen will be the new principal at Rawsonville Elementary. Current Rawsonville Principal Karensa Smith is being moved to the Administration Building to be a grant writer.
Interviews are proceeding for a person to fill Abel’s position as assistant principal at Owen.
In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board:
• Approved the 2014-15 budget resolution for the $50,995,816 general fund budget, which will have $3,489 more revenue than expenditures. The projected fund balance on June 30, 2015 is expected to be $4,603,513. The district won’t have to borrow this summer, as it had to in the past, because now its fund balance is enough to tide it over until state aid arrives in October;
• Approved the 2014 tax rate certification, same as last year;
• Ratified the contract with Van Buren Education Association, which was reopened for financial consideration. VBEA will get a half step for the 2014-15 school year instead of a full step. Teachers had had a 7.6% cut in pay the first year of the contract, then down to 5.6% cut, with the reduction now at 3.6%. For the 2014-15 school year, Kindergarten maximum will be 30 students and grades 1-6 will be 32. Grades 7-12 will have a maximum of 25;
• Ratified the contract with the Van Buren Administrators and Supervisors Association, which was reopened for financial consideration. Principals will be working more days for no increase in pay and language has been added for snow days, with pay for up to three days of snow days. When school is cancelled because of severe cold, administrators will be expected to come into work. Administrators will come into work a few weeks sooner and end the year a few weeks later;
• Reviewed the annual Bullying Report, as required by state law. There were two incidents of bullying that fit the criteria for reporting. One student got 10 days of suspension and one got 3 days of suspension. One student was put on a behavior plan that was signed;
• Approved the 80/20 Health Care Resolution. The state requires the district to state which option it takes – hard cap or 80/20 — and for the past two years it has been the 80% paid by the district and 20% by the employee;
• Approved the updated Health Curriculum (Sex Education) for grades K-8. The district’s last Health Curriculum had VHS tapes and the player needed replacement. That’s what kicked off the update. Also, recent changes in state law have required schools to reexamine their programs to make sure they are in compliance;
• Approved milk and bread bids from the same businesses as last year: Sun Valley/Berkshire Dairy (Detroit) and Aunt Millie’s Bakeries (Fort Wayne, IN). The bids are through the Southeast Wayne County Buying Cooperative Group;
• Approved layoffs of five paraprofessionals as of June 30: Denise Armatis and Paula Brown, 7 years; Zin Xu and Katerina Tyner, 6 years; and Carlton Fields, 1 year;
• Approved the retirement of bus driver Patricia Ayers after 10 years of service;
• Approved the resignation of Angeline Mazurek, a teacher at Belleville High School, after 7 years of service;
• Approved the recall from layoff of McBride Middle School physical education teacher Mark Gregor; and
• Presented certificates of appreciation to Amy Pierce, president of the BHS Band Boosters, and leadership of PTOs at all of the schools. Four of the 12 PTO members honored were present.
By Rosemary K. Otzman