10 21 Boulley Author

Author Angeline Boulley with her book “Firekeeper’s Daughter.”

NEW BUFFALO — A New Buffalo High School graduate who recently released the best-selling book “Firekeeper’s Daughter” will return to her alma mater.

During its Oct. 18 meeting, the New Buffalo Area Schools Board of Education accepted a Pokagon Fund grant in the amount of $2,300 to cover a March 25, 2022, “author visit” with Angeline Boulley. The grant will cover the author fee and classroom books.

“Firekeeper’s Daughter” was released earlier this year to literary acclaim. It debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Boulley recently moved to New Buffalo from Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and originally is from Sugar Island, Mich. Before relocating to Southwest Michigan to be a full-time author, she was director for the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

“My father is a traditional firekeeper, who strikes ceremonial fires at spiritual activities in the tribal community and ensures protocols are followed, while providing cultural teachings through stories told around the fire,” she says on her website. “He is one of my greatest teachers.”

In an email, she described her debut novel as “a mystery-thriller-coming-of-age story, as in, Indigenous Nancy Drew meets ‘21 Jump Street.’” The book follows an 18-year-old Native girl as she reluctantly goes undercover in a police investigation on her Ojibwe reservation.

Higher Ground Productions – the Obamas’ production company – and Netflix are adapting the book into an original Netflix series. For more information about Boulley or the book, visit angeline boulley.com.

After a brief discussion near the conclusion of the Oct. 18 meeting, Board of Education members agreed to hold the 2022 high school graduation ceremony outdoors at the football field on the evening of June 4 with fireworks to follow. The option of moving the ceremony inside that evening in the event of rain also was the board’s general consensus.

Also, the board accepted the 2020-21 Audit from Kruggel Lawton & Company, LLC. Alex Schaeffer presented the audit report during an Oct. 11 session where less-than-a-quorum of board members were in attendance.

The report included the following:

The 2020-2021 school year brought many new challenges to the District. The biggest of which was

COVID-19. The health and wellbeing of the students and the staff were thrust to the forefront and many new health protocols were put into place. This led to changes in revenues and expenses for the District. New federal funds were allocated to the district to be used to mitigate the virus. The learning environment was changing daily. District expenses on operations and maintenance increased. Cleaning classrooms during passing time became the norm. Increasing air quality and creating better airflow to the buildings was put into place by adding ionization units to all the buildings. The interior courtyard was remodeled to give students a safe and inviting place outside to breath fresh air.

While the District’s final fiscal 2021 budget for the General Fund projected a deficit of $646,535, the

actual results for the year show a surplus of $86,998. The ending General Fund balance of $5,030,698 represents approximately 35.10 percent of total General Fund expenditures.

Revenue for the 2021 fiscal year increased by approximately $24,000. The biggest increase was seen in the operating grants and contributions due to COVID-19 funding.

Expenses for the 2021 fiscal year decreased by approximately $409,500. The biggest decrease was seen in athletics, food service, student activities, endowment activities, and facilities acquisition, construction, and improvement.

In other Oct. 18 business, the New Buffalo Area Schools Board of Education:

Approved the following for 2021-2022 coaching positions: Varsity Boys Basketball: Nate Tripp, JV Boys Basketball: Rodney Wash, 7th Grade Boys Basketball: Dr. Jeff Leslie, 8th Grade Boys Basketball: Nate Jones, 8th Grade Girls Basketball: Jessica Conrad; helper Marissa Bardusk.

Accepted the resignation letter of Jason Haskins (basketball, softball coaching).

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