December 17 2009

School Beat — December 17, 2009

December 17, 2009 // 0 Comments

The Good, the bad, the ugly by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools The Good—This fall, Rockford’s marching band took third place in the state in Division I competition. This is the strongest rating our marching band has ever earned in recent history. Congratulations! Several of our athletic teams won district and regional championships. Congratulations to Rockford’s boys water polo team, who won their seventh state title over the past 10 years. Their achievement was especially gratifying because the team was not considered a threat during tournament play. New classroom expansions, paid through the 2008 bond issue, at Cannonsburg, Lakes, Roguewood, and Valley View elementary schools are now ready for students. Planning continues for classroom additions to Belmont and Crestwood elementary schools. District-wide technology upgrades along with recreation and athletic field additions continue toward completion and within budget. Rockford’s academic and fine arts programs continue to exceed the high expectations established by staff, students and community. The successes our students experience in the classroom continue to validate Rockford’s outstanding academic programs. The Bad—Since the early 2000s, bi-partisan organizations such as the Citizens Research Council and University of Michigan economists, have been predicting that the current system to fund public education would soon be broken. Well, it’s almost 2010, and the system is on life support with barely a pulse. With the 1994 implementation of Proposal A, school districts currently receive two-thirds of their revenue through state sales and income taxes and one-third from property taxes. With Michigan’s high unemployment rate and significant downsizing of manufacturing, revenues from state sales and income taxes are below expectations, and revenue from property taxes are barely neutral, creating what is called a “structural deficit.” A structural deficit exists when revenues to fund essential services, such as police, fire and education, are less than required to maintain existing programs. Most experts will tell you that state government cannot “cut their way” out of a structural deficit and that new or expanded revenue resources must be created. Even in a severely stressed economy, Michigan lawmakers have the means to restructure the funding system for essential services. But the question still remains: “Does the will exist?” If Michigan’s current system to fund public education is broken because of the structural deficit, […]

Youth Initiative ‘stud sale’ to build Habitat Home

December 17, 2009 // 0 Comments

  Rockford Youth Initiative chose for its service project a very ambitious undertaking. The Rockford High School group will build a Habitat for Humanity house here in Rockford. Finding unique fundraisers to help come up with the money is part of the challenge of such a big project. The students organized activities by donation at the Heirloom Tomato Festival, but have something more substantial underway now. Launched December 2, is a “stud sale” where the public can purchase and personalize a beam that will permanently be part of the home. “The sale will continue until we have sold all the studs,” said Youth Initiative teacher Dan Modderman. “We have 200 right now, but about 500 go into a typical home. We would love to have all 500 personalized by members of the Rockford Community” “The Youth Initiative students have worked extremely hard this fall in the fundraising stage of this project. They have done everything: bake sales, pop can drives, presentations to businesses and community groups, even organizing a event where students purchased whip cream pies to throw in teacher’s faces.” The studes sell for $50 each and can be personalized with paint, markers, quotes, signatures, or nearly any other way the purchaser desires. Since they will be used in home construction nothing should be glued or nailed to them and the physical nature of the stud should not be changed. Interested parties can write Modderman at or call the high school at (616) 863-6030. The studs can be picked up from the high school or we can arrange to drop them off. The kids already are thinking of decorating ideas. The studs can be unique, alternative gifts, or just your own personalized way of contributing to something great. Please consider this opportunity. Get a group together, purchase several studs and have a “Stud Painting Party.” The possibilities are endless. Checks made out to Habitat for Humanity will be tax deductable. The studs can be picked up from the high school or the Youth Initiative can arrange one or more to be dropped off. Payment is expected upon pick up or delivery. “We are approaching $20,000, but we have a long way to go,” Modderman said. “The response of the students and staff at […]

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