Increased state aid may become a wash

DOLLAR BAY – There may be an increase in state aid coming to Michigan schools, but with other cuts, the amount school districts receive will stay the same, according to Dr. Jan Quarless.

During the regular meeting Monday of the Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools Board of Education, Quarless, district superintendent, said Gov. Rick Snyder in his proposed education budget suggested a 2.2 percent increase in state aid to schools, which would work out to $36 per student.

However, Quarless said the amount to go to schools for following the Michigan Department of Education Best Practices requirements will drop from $52 to $16.

“In actuality, it’s even money,” Quarless said of the proposed state aid to schools. “What you’ve done is move money. The good news is it’s not a decrease.”

The amount schools need to pay for retirement will stay the same, Quarless said.

Board members also saw a presentation about the trip to Washington, D.C. some of members of the high school Student Organization of Aquatic Robotics class made to receive the National Park Service Hertzog Award for Outstanding Youth Group in the country. They were chosen as the award winners for the Midwest Region in October.

One of the submersible Remotely Operated Vehicles the SOAR students made was used to check for the level of infestation of zebra mussels at Isle Royale National Park, and it was that work that won the students the award.

After a slide presentation about the trip, teacher Matt Zimmer said he essentially just gives guidance to the students.

“They run themselves,” he said.

Zimmer said there is a plan to upgrade and use the ROV to search for a sunken ship in the Portage Lake Ship Canal before taking to search for undocumented shipwrecks in Copper Harbor.

In other business, board members:

heard from K-12 principal William Rivest the district will be used as a test site for an online version of the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test. Eventually, all districts in the state will take the MEAP test online.

approved a resolution to increase school board member terms from four years to six years.