C-L-K Board hears about budget proposals

CALUMET – Members of the Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium & Keweenaw heard about Gov. Rick Snyder’s school aid budget proposals and how they could affect the district during their regular meeting Tuesday.

Darryl Pierce, C-L-K superintendent, said Snyder’s proposal includes 2.2 percent increase for education. Part of the proposal is for $24 million to school foundations.

“It’s an increase of $34 per pupil,” Pierce said.

If approved, that would bring the C-L-K per pupil amount of state aid to $7,000 per pupil, Pierce said.

Snyder’s proposal also includes $25 million for districts which meet the Michigan Department of Education’s Best Practices requirements, Pierce said.

Meeting the Best Practices requirements will bring just $16 per pupil, Pierce said.

“This is actually a decrease of $36,” he said.

However, Pierce said with other state funding possibilities, what the district receives would actually be about the same as it has recently received.

“It’s more of a level budget,” he said.

There was discussion in Lansing of a $150 per pupil cut, Pierce said, so if Snyder’s budget proposal is approved, the district shouldn’t lose funding.

“Even if it’s not an increase, at least we’re not going back,” he said.

Pierce said the district may not be losing anything with its retirement funding, also.

“Our retirement rate will stay the same,” he said. “I look at that as revenue for us.”

Snyder’s budget proposal includes $10 million for his Digital Learning Initiative, which is for online learning, Pierce said.

Pierce said the State Senate and House will now present their budget proposals, which will then have to be reconciled with the governor’s. A final budget should be ready by June 30.

Before their meeting started, board members listened to a presentation by Mark Bonenfant, Calumet High School computer assisted design teacher, about a rapid replicating machine the school received as part of a program with Michigan Technological University.

Bonenfant said representatives at Tech are hoping to use CHS as a test site to see how well students work with the machine, which uses computers to design and cut out items to be replicated.

“It’s kind of neat to watch,” he said.

Since all the parts on the machine can be replicated by itself, Bonenfant said eventually there will be more of them in the school.

“Our hope is to get all students building their own,” he said.

The software is open source, Bonenfant said, which means it’s available free online.

It takes a maximum of seven minutes to replicate an item on the machine, Bonenfant said.

The Tech representatives want the CHS students to come up with their own enterprise plan for the machine, Bonenfant said.

In other business, board members:

accepted the resignation of 10-year school board member Matt Vertin, who will now be working for the district as a Career and College Readiness Assistant with Good Marks for Schools, which provides contracted services to school districts, such as school administrators, coaches, secretaries, custodians, substitute teachers, food service workers, child care providers and other non-certified personnel.

heard from Pierce that a new portable automated extended defibrillator is now available to be used at various athletic events.

heard from Pierce the Copper Country Intermediate School District received a $65,567 business consolidation grant, much of which will be used for new business software.