Charlton Heston Academy Approved Annual Budget and Dress Code

The Charlton Heston Academy Board of Directors held a meeting on June 21, 2012. Superintendent David Patterson reported that the school safety inspection on St. Helen Elementary had been completed. Some of the required changes on the buildings safety features include fire alarm replacement, some additional fire suppression, cement pads to various exterior entries, emergency lighting, and new exit signs. Patterson noted “we are committed to a safe building”. He explained that they are soliciting quotes on the fire safety changes.

A second safety review will be completed by the Bureau of Construction Codes once the fire safety report is forwarded to them. These inspections are required in order to obtain an occupancy certificate.

Patterson reported that many interviews had been completed for the various employment positions available. In some cases second interviews are going to take place. Currently the Board is seeking applications for a physical education teacher and a health teacher.

The Academy has received the first half of the $200,000 implementation grant from the state of Michigan. According to Patterson “there is a plan as to how it (the grant) will be spent and may be amended as we go. The Chief Academic Officer Jason Sarsfield will be onsite the week of June 25th to inventory the building.

Following the Superintendents report the regular session was briefly suspended and the first budget hearing opened. Patterson presented the board with a budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Total revenues were listed as $1,941,938. This is to be derived from $6000 in local contributions, $1,798,688 in state funding, and $137,250 in federal monies. Expenditures include $718,437 in basic instruction (teacher salaries, benefits, instructional materials), $25,000 for pupil support services, $52,000 for instructional staff (teacher aides), $51,345 for general administration, $291,874 for school administration, $79,235 for business services, $230,380 for operations and maintenance, $1,500 for background checks, $10,000 for pupil activities/athletics, $247,546 for food services, and $97,741 for outgoing transfer and other transactions for total expenditures of $1,547,512. This currently leaves an ending fund balance of $394,426. Although Patterson did point out “we will have expenses that we cannot forecast today”.

Patterson reminded the board that they “have been given the opportunity to manage about $1.9 million dollars of tax payer money”. He also noted that he budget will “be amended by October”.

Regarding free lunch Patterson anticipates that 80% of the Academies students will qualify for free lunch. This number is based on the most recent data available on the former St. Helen Elementary School. Patterson noted that it is not an “apples to apples” comparison since the former school was k-4 and the Academy is k-8.

Patterson noted that because this is a start-up year that he has no baselines to work with so some figures are “placeholders”. The state is currently providing $6,846 per child which includes a recent $120 increase that legislature recently approved. He also noted that the implementation grant will help offset some expenses for basic instruction especially in the area of technology.

The Academy will receive their first state payment in October however the payroll will begin in August. Patterson explained that “we may need a state aid note only because of cash flow”. He explained that it is common for schools to use state aid to jump start cash flow in order to pay staff and expenses for the first couple of months. Patterson noted it is “going to take a year to catch up on cash flow”. The intention is to maintain a fund balance each year to keep cash flow positive at the beginning of each year as the school awaits the October payment from the state.

Glenn Bachman, representing the authorizer Lake Superior State University (LSSU), spoke in regards to the presented budget. “One of the things we told this group way back was you must convince LSSU of two things. Kids will learn and the money will be taken care of. Our trust in this board is this money will be spent wisely”. He further reiterated Patterson in stating “your first year there will be many changes to this budget. If we (LSSU) we not confident in this board we would not be here today”.

In regards to the food service Bachmann noted “managing 250 hot lunches makes this the largest restaurant in town. At $3 or less a meal that is a challenge and you must be very careful with who you choose for your food program”. Patterson concurred noting that the Board was going to take additional time in determining the structure of their food program. He anticipated a program in place by August.

The budget hearing was closed at 7:37 pm and the regular meeting re-opened. Richard Wood motioned for an approval of the budget which was supported by Joseph Roush followed by an approval of the Board.

In other business Patterson made his recommendations regarding uniforms. The recommendations include grades k-2 will wear blue polo shirts with the school name embroidered on them, grades 3-5 will wear red polo shirts of the same design, and grades 6-8 will wear white polo shirts of the same design. Additionally all students are to wear solid khaki colored pants or shorts. Girls have the option to wear solid colored khaki skirts or jumpers. All students wearing bottoms with belt loops must wear a belt. The Board approved the recommendations and further approved the recommendation that Land’s End will be the preferred vendor.

Board President Jennifer Jarosz noted “we need to make sure it (uniforms) is as affordable as possible”. Patterson stated that “if a family truly cannot afford uniforms then the school should have a program in place to help”.

Reprinted with permission of The Roscommon County Weekly June 29 issue