Central Montcalm changes mind on adult ed program

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 11:13 am on Tuesday, July 30, 2013

STANTON — An adult education program will remain under the jurisdiction of Central Montcalm Public School after all.

The adult ed program, along with an alternative education program, have been housed in the Central Montcalm Community Building. With the retirement of director John Kearney, Central Montcalm officials had planned to transfer the program to Carson City-Crystal Area Schools.

CC-C’s Devin Pringle agreed to take over the program, which covers the CC-C, Central Montcalm, Greenville and Vestaburg school districts. On July 10, Pringle obtained permission from the Crystal Township Board to house the programs in the Crystal Township Community Center for one year at a rate of $3,000 ($1,500 per classroom).

However, this specific arrangement will no longer be happening.

“Carson City was willing to take it, but federal law says we can’t transfer it,” Central Montcalm Superintendent Kristi Teall told the Central Montcalm school board at a July 17 board meeting.

Teall told The Daily News that when Pringle accepted the program on behalf of CC-C, it was Teall’s understanding that Central Montcalm could transfer the program funding to CC-C. Teall said she learned sometime in June that the program’s Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds could not be transferred to CC-C.

Teall said she researched numerous options to see if there was any loophole that would allow the funding to be transferred to CC-C, but there were no options. Central Montcalm would still be responsible for the funding.

“We are not in a position that we could risk paying back any money because we would have no control over how the money was spent,” she said. “It was just not a risk that Central Montcalm Public School could take. The good intentions were there, but unfortunately the rules stopped us.”

So Teall decided the best option was to keep the program at Central Montcalm rather than losing the program altogether. The new plan is to contact the two teachers and the academic advisor who were laid off from the transfer and ask if they want the jobs back. A supervisor will run the program while Teall will manage the budget aspects of the program.

“I’m going to pick up one more hat and become the director of the program, but I will have an employee who will do all of the ins and outs,” she said. “It’s good for the community and I didn’t want to see it go away. We will continue to provide a great program as I believe CC-C will do. I think Devin will do a great job too.”

Pringle expressed disappointment with Central Montcalm’s decision. His vision had included satellite rooms for the program in the CC-C, Central Montcalm, Greenville and Vestaburg school districts.

“It really should have been a conversation between all four districts,” he said. “We made a commitment to our community and set up shop and now they’re (Central Montcalm) coming back and saying we want to do something else. At this point it would be a lack of integrity on our part not to move forward.”

Pringle will now have to work with limited funding, but he is optimistic about the future of both adult ed and alternative ed programs in the CC-C school district.

“We’re not changing our direction,” he said. We’re still going to offer adult education and alternative education to the Crystal community.”

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