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Milan News-Leader
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2011 Weave the Web:
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VOL. 129, NO. 38

School district nds extra money for use

Two soccer elds to be built from leftover $343,195
By Lori Maranville
Special Writer

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Photo by Lori Maranville

Construction projects at Milan Area Schools are on time and on budget, and with a perk. Supplemental funding is allowing for the reconstruction of the high school soccer fields. The school board recently approved the use of $343,195 leftover from Phase I of the districts 2009 bond project to reconstruct two new soccer fields. The old ones were rendered unusable because of ongoing construction of a new bus garage on the districts property. Milan Schools Superintendent Bryan Girbach said because of an excellent bid market at the time of Phase I, the district ended up with somewhere between $1.8 million and $2.1 million in extra bond dollars for capital improvements after the project was finished. Its important to note that we accomplished everything the voters wanted in Phase I and more, he said. Phase I included remodeling projects at Symons and Paddock elementary schools, as well as the middle school, which have been completed. Phase II-A includes the construction of athletic team rooms and a concession building, which are expected to be complete by Sept. 30, Girbach said. A bathroom building and a parking lot for all the corner fields on Platt and Redman roads should be complete by May 1, 2012, Girbach said. The new bus garage should be complete with transportation services moved into their new space by Jan. 1, 2012.

The Greater Milan Area Community Foundation announced its 2011 grant award recipients last week. Nina Pemberton, director of Aid in Milan, talks about her plans for the money. The grants were made possible by donations to the Greater Milan Area Community Foundation General Endowment Fund, which was established in 2005. The funds provide interest for the foundation to award annual grants to deserving recipients. Since the foundation was established in 2005, it has dispersed about $125,000 in grants to about 40 nonprot groups in the area.

Foundation awards nearly $30K in grants

By Lori Maranville
Special Writer

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Board looks at efciencies

By Lori Maranville
Special Writer

Milan Area Schools is navigating its way through economic muddy waters with a blueprint for better efficiency. Ric Peterson of Peterson Public Sector Consulting, LLC, recently shared some of the results of his district-wide efficiency study with the Milan Board of Education. The 60-page report, a joint venture between Peterson and school staff, details what Peterson describes as possibilities for the district. He spent a week at the school interviewing staff and also reviewed existing business processes in an attempt to find areas for improvement. This punch list of possibilities includes streamlining and standardizing administrative tasks, reviewing board policies, having multi-credentialed staff members, digitizing student records and forms, and having all staff have a plan in place for professional development. He told board members the key resource for the district is its staff. The creativity, flexibility and talent of staff members are essential

elements to improving student outcomes, he said. He also said its crucial for every employee to be fluent in using job-related software. With state and local budgets being squeezed more and more, Peterson said, it will become more important for school districts and their employees to take the initiative and solve their own challenges. The state will not solve your problems. You will solve your challenges. This is about all of you taking more control and doing for yourself. Superintendent Bryan Girbach said the district has implemented or is in the process of implementing about half of the items he would consider shortterm goals listed in the report. These efforts have included the addition of a staff data position and a director of student services; automation of the purchase order process; a consortium purchase of new finance software; a complete board policy review; full implementation of Data Director and curriculum mapping software; a revised facility-use policy; and a requirement that all

The Greater Milan Area Community Foundation awarded about $30,000 in total grants to 11 different Milan organizations during a reception last week at the Milan Senior and Community Activity Center. The mission of the foundation is to improve the quality of life within the greater Milan area. The foundation distributes grants annually to nonprofit groups in Milan. This year, 18 of 20 applicants received awards. Its our goal to help as much as we can, wherever we can, said Chris Wetzler, the foundations board president. The grants were made possible by donations to the Greater Milan Area Community Foundation General Endowment Fund, which was established in 2005. The funds provide interest for the foundation to award annual grants to deserving recipients. Since the foundation was established in 2005, it has dispersed about $125,000 in grants to about 40 nonprofit groups in the area. Wetzler said this will be the largest total

dollar amount that has ever been granted by the foundation in one year. The principle on the endowment, which now stands at about $500,000, is never touched, he said, making it a stable source for grants in future years. This year, the dollars will go to help fund such programs as the Milan Baptist Church Your Spot youth program for students in sixth through 12th grades. The program received a $4,000 award, as well as $650 through the Fayne & Joanne McGovern Youth Endowment Fund. Sue Kesterson was brought to tears when she took the podium to accept the award on behalf of the program. She spoke about tragedies that have impacted the community in the last year and the need for programs for area youth. I appreciate the fact that the community has come alongside us, she said. Kesterson relayed a story in which her granddaughter was telling her that everyone has baskets. Her granddaughter said to her, Its our job to fill those baskets with acts of love and kindness.

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Photo by Lori Maranville

The Greater Milan Area Community Foundation announced its 2011 grant award recipients last week. Pictured are Chief Jeff Lewis (left) of the Milan Police Department; Milan Public Library Director Susan Wess, Barbara Beaton and Jennifer Perryman of the library; Sue Kesterson of the Your Spot teen center; Michael Armitage of Moving Milan Forward; Ann Gee of the city of Milan; Jennifer Michalak of Milan Seniors for Healthy Living; Sally Clark of the Milan Area Historical Society; Nina PLEASE SEE BOARD/3-A Pemberton of Aid in Milan; and Chris Wetzler, GMACF board president.

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businesswomen, movie reviews, retirement and food. To pitch a blog idea or share a current blog, which would be featured at www., email Heritage Online Coordinator David Veselenak at School district gets safety award: The Milan Area Schools was recognized for exceptional safety practices at a recent

board meeting. A representative of the MASB-SEG Property/Casualty Pool presented the organizations Safety Award to Milan Superintendent Bryan Girbach and the Milan Board of Education Sept. 14. The MASB-SEG Property/Casualty Pool is a non-prot, self-insured pool that provides property and liability coverage to more than 480 member school districts throughout Michigan.

Bloggers sought: The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader are seeking community bloggers to write on a variety of subjects. Currently, carries blogs on high school sports, parenting, education, technology, fashion, religion, politics, senior issues, successful