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Huron Valley School Board Approves 2012-2013 Budget

The Huron Valley Schools Board of Education met Thursday night to discuss several items, including the budget for the 2012-2013 school year.

Huron Valley Schools will dip into its fund balance in order to balance the 2012-2013 school year, in a budget approved by the Huron Valley Schools Board of Trustees Thursday night.

According to Donna Welch, assistant superintendent of administrative services, the district will use approximately $4.8 million from the fund balance to cover the more than $84 million in projected expenses. The district is expected to bring in approximately $80 million in revenues during the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

That will leave $8.4 million left in the schools fund balance.

Cuts will be made this year to several services, including the elimination of one secretary position at a district building, and cuts to instructional staffing and parapros.

A detailed copy of the budget can be found on the district's website.

Resident upset with merit pay

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Highland Resident Lisa Kelly expressed her disappointment in the district. Kelly said she did not think it was prudent of the district to pay former Superintendent Jackie Johnston her merit bonus after she left the district.

According to a report in the Milford Times, the board decided at the May meeting to award Johnston her merit bonus for her last 10 months in the district.

The article states, "Merit pay is based on three areas: superintendent roles, district goals and focus goals. The board's approval of merit pay for the focus goals and superintendent roles equates to about $6,500. Based on the district goals, she could receive another $2,200 in merit pay."

Only Trustee Charles Dittmar voted against the motion, Trustee Lisa Blackwell was absent from the meeting.

"I don't think any administrator should get a bonus or merit pay if they leave for greener pastures," Kelly said. "She was looking for and hired at that position while working for Huron Valley. That money could have been spent on our kids, keeping some of the staff you cut here tonight."

In a post on Facebook following the publication of the Milford Times article, Dittmar clarified his position on the merit pay, and the circumstances surrounding it, "No evaluation of the former superintendent's 2011-2012 school year performance occurred prior to her departure and the end of her contract on April 30, 2012... the former superintendent thought ahead enough to give a presentation about the work on the (district) goals, but never asked for an evaluation. Had she contemplated receiving the merit pay she should have asked for an evaluation before leaving the district, and the contract ending."

Dittmar wrote that the decision by the board sets a bad precedent for any future employee that has merit pay or bonuses included in their contract, "They can all point to this action after a contract is over and argue for their merit payout, even if the contract ends early and if no evaluation of their work was completed."

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