Ontonagon district sheds 'financially distressed' label


November 15, 2019



Ontonagon — The state of Michigan won’t be designating the Ontonagon Area Schools as a “financially distressed” district, a designation the state puts on districts that have fund balances less than 5% of their budgets.

The district’s business manager, Linda Karttunen, Monday presented the results of the 2018-19 audit to the district’s board of education. The audit showed a general fund balance of $163,605 as of June 30, 2019. That puts the fund balance at 5.21 % — above the 5% threshold and enough for the district to shed the “financially distressed” designation. Board president Nancy Mattson expressed approval and gratitude to members of the staff, faculty and administration who helped to work within the budget restraints.

The board approved a contract with Don Sidlowski from Northwoods Economic Development Corporation for consulting and design fees for the district’s “fab lab” and “markerspace” program. Superintendent Jim Bobula explained some of the activities the hands-on environment will provide, how it will help students build skills for future employment with local tech industries.

He said the fab lab would give students the opportunity to manufacture items using tools like plasma cutters and 3D printers.

Bobula also explained a situation with woodchip delivery for heating. He explained the cancellation of the current contract with Pestka Construction and that Pestka was able to help find a new vendor — Northern Hardwoods, of Atlantic Mine. The board approved that contract.

In other action, the board:

—Hired Dawson Pollard as the boys junior varsity basketball coach.

—Adopted a resolution to continue the practice of summer school tax collection in Ontonagon, Rockland and Carp Lake Townships.

—Heard the district will be sending four students, three girls and one boy to Girls and Boy’s State. It was noted that, due to the generous donation of members of the Rockland American Legion, two additional students will be able to attend this year as normally there is only funding for two students.

—The board also gave a special mention of a new project called Caring Closet, which has been initiated by Wendy Gowan, Peggy Lewis and Michelle LaBine. The goal is to provide toiletries and other personal hygiene items, along with various winter clothing like gloves, hats and scarves to students who might need them. The closet will be located at the school and easily accessible to students.


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