CHA Charter School Approves Paint & Carpet Bids, Mascot Logo; President Jarosz Receives Woman of the Year Award

Auxiliary President Debbie Gage (right) presents

Jennifer Jarosz with Woman of the Year Award

During the Superintendent’s report by Dave Patterson it was reported that the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) had contacted him in regards to the Implementation Grant Application from Charlton Heston Academy. There was some minor language that would need changed in order to get the grant funds released. The Academy is eligible for a $200,000 implementation grant in which they will receive $100,000 followed by a second installment of the same amount once the first has been spent and reconciled. According to Patterson the funds will be used for instructional materials and technology.

Patterson reported that he will begin the interview process and has about 50 applicants. He noted that due to the “flood of resumes” that they had to stop accepting resumes in order to get through what they had.

Patterson is also working with some schools downstate that are in the final stages of closing down. He hopes to obtain lightly used furniture and technology at a reduced cost.

Dave Fultz reported that the school building purchase is moving forward. The appraisal is expected to be complete by June 18 and they hope to close by June 31st. “It’s going very well” noted Fultz.

Board president Jennifer Jarosz spoke about the recent trip to LSSU that several board members took. “We spent 2 days networking and built relationships with other charter schools”. Jarosz noted that the experience was “eventful” with meetings with legal counsel, tours of the LSSU campus, visits to different LSSU departments, and meetings with different individuals including Gary Naeyaert, Senior Advisor for Policy and Communications for the Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools.

LSSU conducts 2 of these professional development sessions each year for which the Academy can receive up to $1500 for attending.

Jarosz reported that there “has been an overwhelming amount of (community) interest in what is going on”. She noted that Rural Education Matters (REM) has stepped up in promoting the school. She reminded everyone about the June 16 BBQ and School Forum to  take place at the Richfield Township Park.

Patterson added to the community report that he is aware that rumors continue to circulate about tuition, non-certified teachers, and lack of special education services which he noted are not true. Additionally he is aware of concerns over uniforms and extended days noting “we want parents to be able to make a choice on where they send their kids and advocate and be involved to the level you can but trust us on how to make them successful and ready for college. You need an extended school day, you need to focus on academics before sports, you need to go to school in the summertime if you want to compete across the nation, to compete with your peers that have those opportunities”. Patterson went on to explain his position on athletics stating “I was an athlete myself. I truly believe in it but if a child cannot read at grade level then I don’t think they should be out playing basketball. I think they should be studying”. Noting the sensitivity of parent and student concerns Patterson reminded folks to attend the BBQ on Saturday to ask their questions. He ended with a plea to the community. “The community support is just great and I am asking the community to help me send the message that you have to go to school in the summer. That summer loss is real. I think it is educational neglect across the nation to not go to school in the summer”.

In other business the Board approved the finalization of Dave Patterson’s contract and officially appointed him as the Superintendent of the Academy.

Bids were revealed for paint and carpet at the elementary school building. For carpet Morse Clark of West Branch was awarded the contract at a cost of $104, 879.99 with Dean’s Upholstery also submitting a bid for $129,180.00. For paint Rob Lynch from Alger was awarded the contract at a cost of $23,868.00 with Wilson Painting of Roscommon also bidding at an amount of $60,000.00, Patterson recommended that the school choose the lowest bid as all bids were “apples for apples”. All contracts are contingent on the final purchase of the building.

Upon recommendation of Patterson the Board voted to not opt into a contract with American Charter Services for various administrative duties. The cost of the contract would have amounted to $5,000 per month. Patterson agreed to take on many of the administrative duties himself while recommending  Hollie Stange for accounting services at a rate of $1,400 per month. Patterson noted her experience in school accounting as well as the fact that “she is a former auditor so her work is clean which will save us money with our state audits”.

The Board approved a motion to allow Patterson to seek food services bids. Patterson noted that there are two options with food services. One is to hire kitchen staff and the other is to hire out the services. Patterson further noted “being a first year school we need a slam dunk food program so that we can concentrate on academics”. A committee was formed to review these bids. The committee consists of Patterson, Robert Olschefski, and Joseph Roush..

The budget hearing that was to take place was tabled. The hearing will take place on Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 7pm at the St. Helen Community Center.

The Board approved the mascot for the school which will be “Patriots” and also approved the logo that is currently in use on marketing materials. The logo and branding was developed in part by Interactive Development LLC of St. Helen.

The Board approved the purchase of two billboard coverings which are currently in place at each end of St. Helen. Dave Fultz provided billboard space for the signs to be displayed. Once the school is open the large signs will be displayed in the gymnasium. Additionally the Board approved the purchase of a permanent sign to be place at the entry of the school. The sign will be purchased from a company called Max-R. They manufacturer professional grade signs out of recycled plastic materials. The cost of the sign will be $2,150.

In public comment, Debbie Gage, president of the American Legion Women’s Auxiliary presented Jennifer Jarosz with the Auxiliary’s Community Woman of the Year Award. Gage noted that “for the last 3 years Jennifer Jarosz, you have done an amazing job”. Jarosz accepted the award with emotion and tears as the entire room filled with applause.

Judy Scroggin made a request to the Board for the use of the gymnasium in October. Scroggin is organizing a dinner theatre through Kirtland Community College to raise money for the Academy.

Reprinted with permission of The Roscommon County Weekly June 15, 2012 issue