Norway schools see increase in reserve funds

NORWAY — The Norway Vulcan School District has managed to build its general fund balance to about $700,000, almost double what it had only two years ago, a recent audit showed.

While that’s not yet at the preferred level of setting aside 15 to 25 percent of the annual budget in reserve, it’s a significant improvement from the $336,000 in 2016, Scott Sternhagen of Schenck SC told the school board Wednesday.

Some figures remain to be finalized, so the board took no vote on the audit until the full results are available.

In other business, the board:

— Heard the annual powderpuff football game and bonfire for Homecoming Week was postponed to 6:30 p.m. Friday due to the weather. Friday night was available after Manistique forfeited its game against Norway, and the rest of its season, for lack of healthy players. The bonfire will be just after the powderpuff game, said Joe Tinti, high school principal and athletic director.

— Authorized a 50 cent an hour pay raise for employees in the district’s day care program. The increase is in line with increases support staff received, Superintendent Lou Steigerwald said.

— Put off a decision on whether to have deer blinds removed from school land along the golf course where a bike trail extension is being installed. Both board president Candy Brew and vice president Wendy Mattia said they favored letting the blinds remain unless research showed they might pose a liability to the district. Steigerwald said he would look into the matter.

— Approved having the school district pay the $47.50 per student cost for any junior who wishes to take the SAT early. The state now offers the exam free of charge in March, but students who take the test multiple times have the chance to improve their score, Steigerwald explained. This would put the district’s juniors on a more even footing with their peers, without the test expense factoring in, he said. He estimated perhaps 40 of the district’s 70 juniors would take advantage of the offer.

— Approved a new policy officially banning vaping pens, e-cigs and related equipment used for vaping products on school grounds. While state law forbids the sale of such products to those younger than 18, it has not set an age limit for use.