Details of this year’s award winners’ programs will be spotlighted in future issues of the MSBO eNews & Views.
The MSBO Meridian Award of Excellence is a special recognition award acknowledging successful practices in all areas of school management and education. We know that people are sometimes hesitant to toot their own horn, but if you, or an individual or group of school business professionals you know, have done something that is noteworthy, they should be recognized and the success shared with others. This year there were five recipients.
Winner: Jon Barth, Berkley Schools Custodial and Operations Facilitator
Berkley Schools needed a mentorship program. Barth extensively researched, developed and implemented a mentorship program for the district’s custodial maintenance team, knowing that the succession plan in his department would be applicable to other departments. One of the many benefits of the program is fostering talent, building capacity, and developing leadership and management skills within the district and also providing a solid, viable option involving succession planning within the facilities and operations department.
Winner: Macomb Intermediate School District
The Macomb ISD Transportation Department was struggling with an estimated $200,000 cost to replace its bus wash system. Lutz School in Macomb ISD offers work experience for post-secondary students with cognitive impairments who are between the ages of 18 and 26. The community partnership between Macomb ISD and Lutz School has provided the opportunity for students to gain real life experience in the area of auto maintenance and cleaning by working directly with transportation department mechanics and staff.
Honorable Mention: Dexter Community Schools
Dexter Community School’s recent bond debt structure saved Dexter taxpayers $54.7 million dollars. In August 2017, Dexter citizens approved a $71.7 million-dollar bond issue. When preparing for the bond sale, several strategies were identified that dramatically reduced the total debt payment required to execute the voter approved bond. The debt plan required $265.7 million in total debt payments and all school bond indebtedness would be paid off by 2046. This is where the story gets complicated. The end result of the numerous strategies implemented by Dexter Community School’s business office is that all school bond indebtedness will be paid off by 2033 – 13 year’s ahead of the original projection of 2046, which will save local taxpayers approximately $54 million dollars.
Honorable Mention: Matthew Hess from Birmingham Public Schools
A number of years ago a charter bus full of high school students was pulled over on a Detroit freeway. The bus driver was arrested for intoxicated driving and it was confirmed the charter bus company had a well below average safety record. Oh, and let me confirm, it was NOT a Birmingham Public Schools chartered bus. Yet, the incident, prompted Matt to work on developing a charter bus pre-assessment, pre-approval process that would decrease risk and increase the quality of chartered transportation. The program has resulted in a list of vendors that Birmingham’s district buildings and departments use to contact vendors who have been vetted and can provide a better, safer experience.
Honorable Mention: Geno Montayne from Wayne Westland Community Schools
In the winter of 2013-14, the year of the Polar Vortex, Wayne Westland Community Schools experienced several frozen and broken heating coils during their winter break shut-down that resulted in extensive building damage and school closures. Now, when building temperatures fall below a certain threshold, an alert is sent to the facility supervisors and emergency response teams. By adding a smart meter at all of their water mains and tying these meters into their building automation systems, Wayne Westland Community Schools can track water usage at all buildings and maintain trend reports that show average usage during occupied and unoccupied times.