2011-08-07 / News

Montrose balances budget by changing administrative structure


MONTROSE — “We’ve been working very hard, talking with board and staff members and just completed a negotiation schedule,” Montrose School Superintendent Mark Kleinhans began at the July 2, special meeting of the Montrose Community Schools Board of Education.

Kleinhans explained that the school district has had $164,000 in unspent atrisk and title money in its budget. The restrictions for using that money are so tight that it has taken months to determine how it could be spent wisely and at the same time fulfill requirements of the funding.

“The funding will be used to establish new programs in each building and will provide programs that will improve the educational programs we offer our students. As a result of these changes, the district will use this money to call back seven teachers who were on lay off in the spring,” Kleinhans said. He also talked about a change in the administrative staff structure.

Kleinhans displayed an enlarged spread sheet of the 2011-2012 school budget on a projector screen.

He explained that in order to make the budget work, they had to qualify for Gov. Rick Snyder’s ‘best practices’ money. As a result, all staff will be paying 10 percent of their health insurance costs; the school district would pay 90 percent.

Staffing at Carter Elementary School would be very similar, according to Kleinhans. Although they are looking to move the title program away from the elementary school and centralizing it. There would be no dean of students position at Carter.

The position of Kuehn-Haven Middle School principal would be combined with the director of the Choice School. They’re still working out a plan for Hill McCloy High School, he added.

Kleinhans continued he most significant change is offering a 2/3 split with a core teacher. This helps both class size and meets the educational needs of students, Kleinhans explained.

“The other piece I’m recommending is a pretty bold move; the creation of a director of curriculum position,” Kleinhans stated. He explained that this new position would be funded by a combination of general funds and Title 1 funds; and it should be especially valuable with the new changes in testing. The concept is to provide teachers with the tools they need to help students improve test scores.

Another change Kleinhans mentioned is naming Lynne Clark director of finance; a title Kleinhans had assumed several years ago to cut costs in the district. “What this district needs is someone working at these line items daily,” Kleinhans stated. He explained that Clark has been handling most of the job already.

By incorporating these changes, the school board was able to balance its budget with $11 to spare, according to Kleinhans.

At the conclusion of Kleinhans’ presentation, Trustee Ron Loafman moved to accept the revised draft of the budget and the new administrative structure as proposed by the superintendent. The proposal was approved.

(For a list of the teachers who were recalled, see this week’s News Briefs.)

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