RC meets Best Practices

ROGERS CITY – Rogers City Area Schools meets the latest round of Michigan’s so-called Best Practices requirements, meaning it could qualify for extra funding.

For the third year in a row, the district has to meet a set of rules imposed by the state to receive an extra $52 per pupil, district Superintendent Katy Xenakis-Makowski said. To qualify for the funding bump – or partial restoration of previous cuts, as Xenakis-Makowski pointed out – the district has to meet seven out of eight requirements. On Monday, board members unanimously passed a resolution stating the district qualifies.

There are new requirements the district must meet each year, Xenakis-Makowski said. Some are similar to those imposed on school districts in the past, with a few changes added. The district has until the end of the year to comply, although some are already met.

By qualifying, the district will get a slice of $80 million set aside in June by Gov. Rick Snyder, according to a letter from the Department of Education. If the district’s enrollment holds at 575 full time-equivalent students as Xenakis-Makowski reported in October, it could get a $29,900 bump in funding.

The district is the policy holder for its employees’ medical benefit plans, accepts applications from non-resident students under the state’s Schools of Choice law and provides physical and health education, according to the resolution. It also provides an online dashboard of its financial information, although this will need to be updated to include a new requirement, Xenakis-Makowski said.

“We will have to update our website,” she said. “For the dashboard, we need to include a budget projected for the 2014-15 school year.”

Another requirement is met through the district’s contract for bus maintenance. Schools must seek competitive bids for non-instructional services for the 2013-14 school year, and both High School/Middle School Principal Dave O’Bryant and Xenakis-Makowski praised their mechanic’s work on keeping the bus fleet in good shape. O’Bryant told of how the mechanic worked with transportation staff through the weekend ahead of a Michigan State Police bus inspection, and all buses passed “with flying colors.”

Rogers City High students can dual-enroll and receive college credits while attending school, meeting a sixth requirement, and monitors each pupil’s academic growth in each subject at least twice per year, fulfilling a seventh, according to the resolution.

The district likely meets requirements in an eighth area, where qualified students must have online or blended learning opportunities and publish course syllabi, Xenakis-Makowski said. While RCAS contracts with Suttons Bay-based Great Lakes K-12 Virtual School, district staff are still learning the finer details.

“We’re still learning about how accounting for this is going to work, so we’re going to hold off on that for now,” she said.

In other business:

  • Xenakis-Makowski demonstrated to board members how to sign in to new STAGES software they’ll use to evaluate her at a coming meeting. It’s the same software that will be used for all district employees, and she and O’Bryant discussed how to use it.
  • board members heard a first reading of revised district policies provided by NEOLA of Michigan. Policy Committee member John Krajenta went over the topics affected, which mostly deal with anti-harassment policies, defining bullying and family and medical leaves of absence. The changes are all in response to changing state laws.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.