By Crystal Hayduk
The Chelsea School District Board of Education voted to approve a donation of $10,000 from the Chelsea Education Foundation (CEF) to support an outdoor learning space at Beach Middle School (BMS).
Lynn Fox, president of the CEF, made the presentation to Nick Angel, middle school principal, at the board meeting on Nov. 11. Fox said the funds were donated to CEF by the Mansfield Family Foundation of East Lansing so that the middle school can continue its design challenge efforts to construct an outdoor classroom space. (Related story here.)
Angel said the Mansfield Family Foundation sought the opportunity to support BMS because of the innovative educational programming, and he is thrilled to accept the donation with the board’s approval.
“We’re ready to get to work,” he said.
Superintendent Julie Helber said that CEF is providing nearly $40,000 in teacher grant requests this year, thanks to fundraising that did well over the past couple of years. “We want to thank Lynn Fox for her guidance to the Chelsea Education Foundation,” she said.
The school board also approved a new pay scale for paraprofessionals, which will be effective immediately. In the previous scale, paraprofessionals earned $11.73/hour at Step One to $15.17/hour at Step Ten. In the new scale, hourly pay will range from $13 to $16.
“This new scale puts us in better line with other schools in the district and will hopefully help us to retain staff,” said Helber.
Andrew Thomson and Scott Theisen of Chelsea Community Education updated the board regarding changes since 2017 and recommendations for sustainability moving forward.
Community education has offered 13 additional programs since 2017. Some fees have increased due to the rise in cost of supplies and materials. Theisen said he plans to pursue additional grants and scholarships to help offset some costs.
Thomson said they are still working on improving staffing. Some ideas include finding interns, hiring seasonal help or an additional full-time help if the budget will allow, and utilizing volunteers and students.
Community education has increased its social media presence (Facebook and Twitter) and is saving money through the use of software for scheduling to save staff time. Currently, facility rental fees and policies are in review, and some instructor fees and rates are being adjusted.
Thomson said that the current increase above the five-year average participation for fall is a “ray of hope” for the department. The five-year average number of participants for enrichment classes is 334 and for recreation is 622. Current numbers stand at 404 and 713, respectively.
There is no school for students Nov. 27-29; records day for teachers the morning of Nov. 27.
There will be a work session at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 25 in the administrative offices.
The next regular school board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 at Beach Middle School, 445 Mayer Dr.