The Portland middle school and high school robotics teams presented to the school board at the board’s March 12th meeting. The middle school team finished second in their one and only competition this year, their first year of existence. The high school has their first competition of the year this coming weekend.
Superintendent Will Heath reported that the three robotics teams in the district secured approximately $23,000 in grants this year, as well as technical assistance form THK Rhythm.
In a follow up question, Heath explained that much of the grants were for new teams only and will not be available or will be smaller in size next year. Heath said, “We will look for sponsorships moving forward.”
In other business, the board unanimously passed motions to extend the contracts of 18 non-union district employees, as well as the employment agreement of the superintendent. The motions make no changes to compensation, only the length of the current agreements.
The board also received updates on a few budget changes for the current school year. Heath explained an estimated cost increase of $1,630 in association to the addition of a secure entry phone at Oakwood Elementary for the Latchkey entrance.
First year Director of Finance Chris LaHaie reported a cost savings of approximately $5,000 due to the district now purchasing natural gas directly from Consumers Energy after ending its agreement with third party vendor, IGS. When the district initially made the move to IGS, the move resulted in a cost savings due to high and increasing natural gas costs, but current market conditions allow the district to save by buying direct from Consumers Energy.
VFW President Bill Almy presented teacher of the year awards to Oakwood’s Elizabeth Thelen, Angie Foote from PMS, and Mark Scheurer from PHS. The Beacon will have additional details on those awards in a follow up piece coming soon.