CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — When Devin Pringle was handed the reins of Carson City-Crystal Area Schools’ alternative and adult education programs this summer, one of his first tasks was to find a suitable facility.
After meeting with members of the Crystal Township Board on Wednesday evening, Pringle now has his facility. Board members approved the use of the Crystal Township Community Center for one year at a rate of $3,000.
“This would re-establish a school footprint in the Crystal community as well as serve dozens of local residents with education opportunities that are currently not available,” Pringle said. “It would also draw in dozens of people from outside of Crystal who would utilize local vendors for their needs while in town.”
The township board voted 5-0 to approve a contract between the township and Carson City-Crystal Area Schools for one year at a rate of $1,500 per classroom.
According to Pringle, the two programs will utilize two classrooms at the community center from Aug. 1 of this year to June 1, 2014, as well as occasional use of the gymnasium. Classes would operate on site with some online learning as well with the possibility to work students with township employees to learn on the job and assist as needed.
For Crystal Township Clerk Bob Naumann, the possibility of bringing people into the community was a key factor in deciding whether the community center was the right choice for the two programs.
“One of the things that I have had as a goal, and I think we all have as a board, when we acquired this building, was to bring people into this community,” Naumann said. “This will bring people into the building.”
The alternative education program will be run through Carson City-Crystal Area Schools and administered by Pringle.
“The district has decided on investing and starting the alternative education program which has been drastically needed for a large population of our kids,” he said. “We’ve taken a hit as a district because we (haven’t had) alternative education. We’ll lose seven to eight students a year to (Gratiot County) and I hope to reacquire those students back into the fold.”
Pringle said the adult education program is run through a partnership between Carson City Crystal Area Schools, Central Montcalm Public School, Greenville Public Schools and Vestaburg Community Schools.
According to Pringle, the adult education program was previously housed at Central Montcalm, but with the retirement of former Central Montcalm Elementary School Principal John Kearney, the district no longer wants to house the program, opening the door for Crystal Township to take over.
“Crystal, in my opinion, would be an outstanding spot to have this program,” Pringle said.
The board agreed that the decision would be revisited in one year to evaluate the status of the programs.
Naumann said the rate of $3,000 is not enough to heat the two rooms being used during the winter months and that if the programs were to continue after the first year, the rate would need to be raised.
“Giving them the opportunity at this price I think is us lending a hand,” Naumann said. “We can evaluate it at the end of the year. If he ends up with a great program with all sorts of people, that would be great, but a second year at this price is not a possibility.”