Sweeney outlines goals for district

By By Joanna Arnett / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Brandywine Public Schools Superintendent Gene Sweeney announced his draft of the organizational plan for the upcoming school year at Monday night's regular board meeting.
The organizational plan, Sweeney continued, was carefully worked to assess the situation of the Brandywine Public Schools.
Brandywine has the largest number of students choosing it as their School of Choice in this area, though the number of students newly enrolling has plateaued in the past few years.
Sweeney added that the ends to the means is to increase student achievement, as Brandywine high school students continually score in the lower half on standardized tests. He also emphasized the need to be financially responsible, as "money will be tight, especially funds from the state," he said.
As for the changes in staffing, he told the board and visitors how he came to implement them.
The plan will mean layoffs for some employees, which the board discussed at its last meeting. Those to be laid off have not been determined. However, the board should have a list of those employees by its next meeting.
The basic problem is "We don't have enough people to do all the things we have done in the past, but we don't have the money for new people. At no point did I want to make any reductions, but it is my intent to reduce personnel expenses while follow the organizational structure.
The board approved the resolution calling for the layoff of employees and also approved the hiring of Mary Borton as Middle School/High School Spanish teacher.
The board approved the School Readiness Program Participation Resolution, which, if not passed, would have cost the school $99,000 in funding.
Dick DeVos, school financial advisor, introduced bond consultant Nancy Nichols of Stauder, Barch &Associates in Ann Arbor to the crowd.
There were a total of four bids. The purchaser of the bonds was UBS Financial Services, Inc. at the rate of 4.856635, the best possible rate available right now, Nichols emphasized. The district had originally anticipated a 5.2 percent rate and the difference will save the district $98,000 plus.
The board approved to appoint 5/3 Bank as the bond registrar (paying agent).
In other business, the board voted to approve the purchase of two 2001 78-passenger Thomas school buses at $42,000 each, versus $68,000 each for brand-new ones.
Sweeney also announced that the high school will be hooked up to city water within a month.
The next board meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 11 in the Carlson Lecture Hall at Brandywine Senior High School. The board will discuss the severance package payment for those employees that were let go.

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