All the Buzz
News and Info from HCS -- September 16, 2022
"Strive for five...or less." Before the pandemic, this was one of the many rallying cries around positive school attendance - we wanted no more than five absences per student over the course of the school year, unless there was a serious health issue. Last year, our chronic absenteeism rates were still higher than we would have liked; so far this year, we are looking much better and we want to keep it that way.
While our COVID protocols still require five days of isolation when positive, we are looking to maximize attendance except for sickness. The reason is simple: the biggest impact on learning comes when students are face-to-face with a highly-effective teacher.
Our Board policy on attendance (5301) allows the following as excused absences, assuming they are called in by the parent/guardian: the student’s physical or mental illness (a physician’s verification is required after 4 consecutive days of absence for illness, unless COVID isolation); severe weather; medical appointments for the student; death or serious illness of the student’s family member; attendance at a funeral, wedding, or graduation; appearance at court or for other legal matters; observance of religious holidays of the student’s own faith; and college planning visits. More than five unexcused absences, or ten absences of any kind, may result in contact by the school with the parent/guardian, and possibly the county truancy officer.
Our shared goal with you is to have your child in school, learning, on every school day possible. According to the National Center for Education Statistics: "Students who attend school regularly have been shown to achieve at higher levels than students who do not have regular attendance. This relationship between attendance and achievement may appear early in a child's school career. A recent study looking at young children found that absenteeism in kindergarten was associated with negative first grade outcomes such as greater absenteeism in subsequent years and lower achievement in reading, math, and general knowledge...Poor attendance has serious implications for later outcomes as well. High school dropouts have been found to exhibit a history of negative behaviors, including high levels of absenteeism throughout their childhood, at higher rates than high school graduates. These differences in absentee rates were observed as early as kindergarten, and students who eventually dropped out of high school missed significantly more days of school in first grade than their peers who graduated from high school. In eighth grade, this pattern was even more apparent and, by ninth grade, attendance was shown to be a key indicator significantly correlated with high school graduation."
We are here to work with you. If there are mental health, school avoidance, transportation, housing, or other issues that are getting in the way of regular attendance for your child, please reach out to your school principal/assistant principal, counselor, or social worker. You can count on us to work confidentially with you to resolve whatever we can.
Thank you for your continued partnership and trust.
Celebrating Constitution Day & Citizenship Day
Beginning in 2004, the original signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787, has been recognized in our public schools. It was combined with Citizenship Day, previously celebrated in May. When the date falls on a non-school day as it does this year, schools may choose to celebrate it before or after September 17th. Schools also have the flexibility to do a school-wide recognition or within individual classrooms.
Regardless of the actual day of celebration, we use this time "to reflect on the importance of active citizenship, recognize the enduring strength of our Constitution, and reaffirm our commitment to the rights and obligations of citizenship in this great Nation."
Upcoming Varsity Athletic Events
- Football at Meridian (7:00 pm)
- Cross Country at Evart Invitational (9:30 am; MS @ 11:00 am)
- Volleyball at St. Louis Tournament
- Volleyball vs. Pinconning (6:00 pm)
- Cross Country at Clare (4:00 pm; MS @ 5:00 pm)
- Volleyball vs. Meridian (6:00 pm)
- Football at Clare (7:00 pm)
- Cross Country at Cadillac Invitational (9:30 am)
International Dot Day
Life Saver Award
Military Appreciation Night
Our seventh-grade historians are working with Mr. Haley on quick tips to pronounce names and locations from around the world.
Board of Education Meeting
The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by students from our middle school, and Principal Jennifer Thrush will present an instructional/school highlight.
Mon, Oct 10, 2022, 05:30 PM
Hillside Elementary School, North 4th Street, Harrison, MI, USA
Non-Homestead Millage Renewal
Funding for schools in our state fundamentally changed with the adoption of the 1978 Headlee Amendment and Proposal A in 1994. School districts became limited in what and how they could seek money from their local community.
Currently, the state taxes all real estate at a uniform rate of 6 mills (1 mill = $1.00 for every $1,000 in value) and collects those funds for a more equal distribution per pupil across the state. Michigan law also requires local communities to ask voters for 18 mills ($18.00 on every $1,000 in value) on non-homestead property (basically, all real estate that is not your primary home, such as vacation homes, commercial real estate, etc.). The money collected goes toward the total dollar amount per pupil that the state pledges to us.
As an example, this year the state is pledging $9,150 per pupil across the state. However, a portion of that dollar amount comes from our local 18 mills. If voters choose not to approve the renewal, we will get less money per pupil from the state and our budget is impacted.
The Headlee Amendment also requires us to reduce our 18 mills by fractional amounts when annual growth on property is greater than the rate of inflation. This is called a “roll back.” A “Headlee override” is a vote by the electors to return the millage to the amount originally authorized to counteract the roll back. On the ballot this November, voters in the Harrison Community Schools district will be asked to renew the non-homestead millage at the rate of 17.6524, and through the override, to restore 0.3476 for a total of 18 mills.
What might this mean for property owners of real estate that is not their primary residence? Let's say there is a vacation home in Harrison valued at $200,000, and the owners have their primary residence somewhere else in Michigan. In addition to the 6 mills the state collects from all real estate for schools ($1,200 on this property), the impact of the renewal of 17.6524 mills ($3,530.48 on this property) and an override for 0.3476 mills ($69.52 on this property) amounts to a total of $3,600.00 from the vacation home owners in this example.
We are at the point in the pandemic where public health officials are viewing COVID-19 much in the same way as other communicable diseases. Therefore, we will be starting our school year with the following protocol for positive cases, staff or student:
- With a positive case, the person must isolate for 5 days and not attend or be in school. In counting those days, the first date of symptoms (or the test, if no symptoms) is day 0.
- The COVID-positive person may return to school on Day 6, assuming symptoms are subsiding. We recommend, but do not require, masking for days 6-10 in school.
We are also attaching a handy resource from public health officials that provides guidance on when to keep a child home from school in a variety of illness-related situations.