STANTON — Central Montcalm Public School may follow in the steps of neighboring Lakeview Community Schools by hiring a police officer for the district in conjunction with the city of Stanton.
At Thursday night’s meeting, the school board revisited the proposal, which has been dormant since last spring.
“We had discussed the possibility earlier and with the transition of changing superintendents, it kind of got lost in the shuffle,” said Superintendent Kristi Teall.
Teall said James Freed, who is the city manager of Stanton and village manager of Lakeview, approached her about a similar proposal the village of Lakeview is working on with Lakeview Community Schools. The previous proposal recommended 25 hours of officer service in the district’s buildings at a cost of $9,000.
“The financing would come out of 31-A finances and not the general fund,” Teall said. “Are you interested in me meeting with Mr. Freed to see what it could look like?”
Newly inducted school board member Jim Rogers questioned whether a Stanton police officer would have jurisdiction outside city limits, noting the officer would have to be deputized by Montcalm County or the state to be able to be involved in a situation of criminal nature. Board members agreed that if approved the officer must meet that qualification.
“That is certainly a possible situation, though the purpose of an officer would be a more preventive role, working with the students on making good choices, providing one-on-one contact between students and officers and, with the younger students, making positive relationships between officers and children and help with truancy issues,” Teall said.
Board members agreed to have Teall look into the possibility of employing an officer, with an option of approving the proposal at a later time.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, the school board heard about an opportunity for juniors and seniors to earn an associate’s degree while attending high school via a proposal from the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) and Montcalm Community College.
“Students who meet certain qualifications may be able to graduate from high school, earning their high school diploma, while being part of a program where they would attend classes at MCC and, at the end of the two-year program, have an associate’s degree,” said Teall, explaining that the proposal is still in the early stages of development.
“The students would be enrolled in our district, however we would not receive the FTE (full time equivalent) status for funding,” she added. “MCC would receive it to cover the cost of early college.”
Board members questioned how this new program would differ from dual enrollment, which has been successful for many Central Montcalm students.
“It would not take the place of dual enrollment, but would be similar,” Teall said. “The students would also be able to participate in high school sports, like dual enrollment students. It would not replace dual enrollment, but would be one more opportunity for our students.”
Having two years of college costs covered would be a strong incentive for many families, noted board member Bill Collins.
“If a student was able to get their associate’s degree, it would be that much easier financially to transfer on to Ferris State, Central Michigan or Alma,” Collins said.
Board members were given booklets about the program and advised to read them.
“(MCC President) Bob Ferrentino and (MAISD Superintendent) Dr. K. (Scott Koenigsknecht) will attend our February meeting to answer questions and share more about the program,” Teall said.
Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area correspondent.