By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium
ST. JOSEPH — After running a deficit for the past five years, the St. Joseph school district will be operating with a surplus for the upcoming school year.
As a result, the school board approved a 2 percent salary increase to administrators and secretarial staff.
Superintendent Ann Cardon, who made the recommendation, said all groups will get raises this year – including bus drivers, custodians and teachers, who are getting their steps plus a 1 percent increase.
“We are pleased to be able to do this because of the tough decisions we made a year ago in order to make budget cuts,” Cardon said. “We are on the right track. We are coming into this school year with a surplus and we will be putting money in the fund balance for the first time in five years. It’s good to see all the other groups are getting an increase this year.”
Cardon said they would not release how much would be added to the fund balance until the district’s audit is completed.
It’s been two years since administrators had a raise, Cardon added.
The board then approved the hiring of nine staff members, including Special Education Director Denise Reisig – who was present at Monday’s meeting.
Reisig comes in after the school district had originally hired Michelle Allison in June, who went on to tender her resignation last month. Reisig attended the administrative retreat last Friday before her first day on Monday.
“We have some teachers coming in that are brand new and some that have experience,” Cardon said. “We are thrilled with Denise coming on board. She’s from Benton Harbor and was their special ed supervisor.”
The board also adopted the resolution for the lease and purchase of 235 computers from Apple, Inc. as part of the district’s One-to-One initiative at Upton Middle School.
This marks the fourth year Upton sixth-graders are given a laptop, which was made possible through the $38 million bond issue passed by voters in 2010.
“As you know, every year with the incoming sixth graders, we lease and purchase them Mac Book Air laptops,” Cardon said. “That computer is assigned to them which they keep all three years in middle school. They have the option to buy them at the end of the eighth-grade year.”
Board President Amy Porritt-Pierce, Treasurer Chris Cook and Trustee Corey Corolla were not present for Monday’s proceedings.
The board will hold a workshop meeting at 5 p.m. on Aug. 17 inside the Harbor Shores Conference Room in Benton Harbor.
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Aug. 11, 2015)