BELDING — The Belding Area Schools district will begin this school year by welcoming back some new and familiar faces within its faculty.
At the Aug. 19 school board meeting, board members unanimously voted to bring back two teachers who had been laid off in the spring due to low projections in enrollment
“We have two staff members that we laid off last spring due to the estimated enrollment numbers,” Superintendent Sara Shriver said. “Over the summer, we’ve had a teacher resign and had two teachers that have asked for a leave of absence. Therefore, we are able to do a recall and bring back some of our staff members.”
Those two staff members are Ellis Elementary School kindergarten teacher Victoria Meyer and Belding High School special needs teacher Sandra Curran.
The district will also be welcoming a new position to the district after board members unanimously voted to hire an assistant principal who will serve at both Ellis and Woodview elementary schools.
Dwight Quinn of Kalamazoo will be the new assistant principal and will work closely with Ellis Elementary School Principal Tiffany Jackson and Woodview Elementary School Principal Bruce Cook.
“On behalf of Principal Cook and myself, I’d like to welcome Dwight Quinn to the district,” Jackson said. “He’s only been with us a few days but he’s already done many things across our district and has begun to familiarize himself with the schools. He will be a great relationship builder with our kids and be another positive male role model to influence them in many ways.”
Jackson said Quinn will be working closely with the Positive Intervention Behavioral Plan used at both elementary schools.
“I’m really excited and am looking forward to meeting with both the students and their parents,” Quinn said.
Additional kindergarten section
Board members unanimously voted to add an additional kindergarten section at Ellis Elementary School after enrollment numbers are projected to place approximately 32 to 35 students per class based on current staffing.
“When we did our first projections for our enrollments for this year, we believed that we would be losing a couple of sessions throughout the district and kindergarden was one of them,” Shriver said. “But through the kindergarden round-up process and through enrollments over the summer, Ellis Elementary Principal Tiffany Jackson and her staff have been monitoring the numbers very carefully. We are bubbling over with students enrolling at Ellis, and students across the district.”
With the additional classroom kindergarden enrollment per classroom will be reduced to 26 to 27 students.
Shriver said one of the reasons for the increase in enrollment is a larger number of migrant students.
“A preliminary report estimates 41 migrant students at this point in the year,” Shriver said. “In comparison, at this point last year there weren’t any migrant students enrolled.”
Board members also unanimously voted to approve a resolution to the 2013-2014 budget.
According to Finance Director Adrienne Barna, the budget revision will result in a positive net change of $76,800 from the general fund.
In June, board members approved a budget resolution with the district operating with a deficit of $686,369.
“In our first budget of the year, we projected to spend approximately $680,000 of fund balance,” Barna said. “With this revision, that has been reduced to about $610,000.”
Barna said reasons for the revision include adding back one additional kindergarden section at Ellis Elementary School, a number of “leave of absence” requests and teacher recalls, and a change to the policy in the Affordable Health Care Act.
“A large factor was adjusting for the Affordable Health Care Act employer mandate,” she said. “The penalty was pushed back one year from Jan. 1, 2014 to Jan. 1, 2015.”
Barna said the revised budget does not reflect any student count changes.
“Those revisions will come in November,” she said.