RCAPS approves superintendent contract, budget
REED CITY — Tim Webster officially became Reed City Area Public Schools’ next superintendent on Monday, when the board of education unanimously approved a two-year contract with him.
On June 8, board members selected Webster, who has been principal of Reed City Middle School since 1997, as their choice for superintendent, beating out five other top candidates. Webster’s contract is effective July 1.
He will start in the position with a $95,000 base salary plus insurance and other benefits. Outgoing superintendent Steve Westhoff, who led the district for nine years, left the position making $118,400 annually.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the board approved spending $104,500 to hire J. Stevens Construction to replace part of the RCMS roof. J. Stevens Construction, based in Muskegon, submitted the lowest of three bids for the project that will replace the east and west ends of the roof.
“We re-bid (from the original bid opening on June 6),” said board president Dan Boyer. “(Board member) Jim Dawson had some great questions about the material for backing. That extended the warranty from 15 years to 30 years and lowered the cost.”
About one-quarter of the roof, which is the original from when the middle school was built in 1993, will be replaced, Boyer said. While the whole thing needs repair, that is all the district can afford at this point.
Other aspects of RCAPS’ financial status also were addressed at the meeting. Board members unanimously approved borrowing $2.19 million through the Michigan Finance Authority in August to cover expenses during times of low cash flow this summer, when there is a gap in state aid payments. The loan will be repaid within the same school year.
After amending the 2012-13 general fund and community education budgets, the board also unanimously adopted the 2013-14 general fund and community education budgets — although Boyer said the general fund budget — which accounts for about $13.14 million — will change. The version adopted on Monday includes an $823,000 reduction in the general fund and a $234,000 hit to the fund balance compared to the 2012-13 budget.
The budget before the board was proposed by Westhoff, prior to the board’s search for a new superintendent. That budget does not reflect changes within the district since then, Boyer said.
He gave the example of deans of students positions that were included in the budget when the board was planning on Webster becoming middle school and high school principal. Now that he has been named superintendent, the district is searching for other candidates to fill those principal positions, and the budget will be changed accordingly.
“Probably two months from now, we’ll approve another budget that’s a more accurate reflection of where we will be this year,” Boyer said.
In other news, the board:
• Approved the 2013 tax rate request that allows RCAPS to collect its annual 18-mill non-homestead tax that allows it continue general operations;
• Approved hiring Ayla Kitchen as a new special education teacher for G.T. Norman Elementary School. Kitchen fills the position vacated by Robbie Svegel, who retired at the end of this school year. “She’s worked here for years. ... But she was formerly a (Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District) employee and ran our middle school Autism Spectrum Disorder room,” Boyer said. “We will have someone on hand who not only knows a lot about autism, but she’s actually taught these kids”; and
• Approved a four-day trip to North Manitou Island this summer for students in the ALPS program, a high school program for students who are advanced in math and science.
The board will meet again on July 15, with an organizational meeting at 6 p.m. and a regular meeting at 7 p.m. in the Central Office Building.