Schalow appointed as new school board member

LEROY — Pine River Area Schools Board of Education members welcomed Ron Schalow as its newest trustee during a special meeting on Monday, Sept. 30.

Vacancy at the board table was opened after former board member Becky Johnson Himes announced her resignation at the Sept. 9 board meeting.

"I'd like to provide a different view on issues, try to better the board and contribute to the school district," Schalow said.

Schalow served on the school board for nearly nine years before failing to be re-elected during the last board election. He said he is interested in seeing policies come together to help the district accomplish quality education for its students and hopes to utilize his past board training for his new term. He feels the combination of a tight, declining budget and declining enrollment are going to be some of the hardest challenges he and fellow board members will face for the 2013-14 year, he added.

"It won't be an easy time, but I look forward to contributing whatever I can," Schalow said.

In other business, Katrina Bontekoe from the Wexford-Missaukee Intermediate School District provided an overview of the business services the ISD can provide the district to help them save money. A number of districts, including Marion and Lake City, use the ISD for services including accounts payable, payroll, workers' comp audits and more. If PRAS decided to transfer all of its business services to the ISD, it would cost $15,000, while partial services would cost about $7,500.

If the PRAS district moved their business services to the Wexford-Missaukee ISD for a three-year contract, the district would save nearly $100,000 every year. PRAS Superintendent Jim Ganger said he believes the service might be valuable, since he estimates he will have to make a cut of between $200,000 and $300,000 to balance the budget without taking money from fund equity, cutting staff or cutting teaching positions.

The board decided to review the information and possibly vote on a motion to accept the proposal at the next board meeting, which will take place at 6 p.m. on Oct. 14.