Central Montcalm schools organize for school year

By Lori Hansen • Last Updated 11:00 am on Thursday, July 26, 2012

STANTON — The Central Montcalm Public School Board of Education conducted an organizational meeting Wednesday to determine a roster of officials, then jumped into official business by discussing parking lot repairs and Schools of Choice options.

The 25-minute organizational meeting saw Doug Bowen re-elected president, Bill Simpson vice-president, Roxanne Switzer secretary and Mike Barnwell treasurer through January when new members will be chosen following the results of November’s election.

A special meeting Monday will continue discussion of parking lot repairs and renovations.

“We had received four bids for filling cracks, sealing, curb installation and striping but have since had a conversation with (Managing Director) Mark Christensen of the Montcalm County Road Commission and found it may be more cost efficient to work with them on some of the repairs,” said Transportation Supervisor Val Conklin.

“So we could piggy-back with the county on their bids?” asked Trustee Mark Grossbauer.

The board questioned what products would be used, if the repairs were only a “Band-Aid” fix and if it would be cost-effective overall picture.

“Aren’t we kind of in the hot seat on getting this done before school starts?” asked Trustee Todd Giles.

After more discussion, the board agreed in a 7-0 vote to accept a bid by Ralph Masonry and Concrete of Sheridan for curb work and to reconvene Monday to further discuss sealing, coating and repairs of cracks.

“We will have work begin near the bus garage and Upper Elementary and continue toward the Middle School and High School,” said Superintendent Kristi Teall, “It will be a four to four-and-a-half week project.”

The board’s vote this spring to make a change in the Schools of Choice, expanding from accepting students from the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) to also accepting students who are from ISDs that are contiguous to the school boundaries led to discussion on whether to open the schools of choice option to all grade levels, or to allow it for kindergarten and second grade sections only.

“At this time, our class sizes look like 22 (students per classroom) at the kindergarten level, 27 and 28 at first grade, 21 at second grade, 28 for third, 26 for fourth, 30 for fifth, 34 for sixth, 30 for seventh and 31 for eighth with high school classes ranging from 28 to 37 students per class,” said Teall.

“What if you have three children in kindergarten, second and fourth grades?” asked Switzer, “ Do we tell the parent we can take two but not the third? You could have two kids in the Central Montcalm district and another in Vestaburg.”

The board discussed how many students could be added at grade level before another teacher was hired and another class section could be formed, the financial benefits of allowing all no-disciplinary students to attend Central Montcalm, making waiting lists for students to who would like to get in and the ideal teacher/student ratio.

“I think we should open it up to all grade levels,” said Switzer. “There may be some parents that see the problem in fourth grade of too many students, and then would chose not to send their children to the Central Montcalm district. Let the parents make the decision themselves.”

The board eventually agreed 7-0 to table this decision to a later date.

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