MANISTIQUE - The Manistique School Board recently approved a number of changes for this school year, including modifications to the Little Explorers pre-school program, changes to the middle/high school handbook and lunch price increases.
According to Manistique Superintendent Kathy McDonough, a new structure and fee schedule for the pre-school program was approved by the board.
The changes were due to an inability to reach an agreement with the Michigan Education Support Personnel Association (MESPA) regarding a grievance with the program's assistant caregiver, and due to an increased number of 4-year-old applicants.
This year there will be two sections of 4-year-old students, capped at 12 students per section, which eliminates the need for an assistant in the room.
"The fee for the program will go from $1 per hour to a flat $5 for the program portion of the day; and from $1 per hour for extended care to $1.50 per hour," McDonough said.
This means there will be no 3-year-old program this year. Applicants for the 3-year-old program will receive automatic enrollment in the 2013-14 program as 4-year-olds.
Another change the board implemented was the passage of a new discipline rubric for the middle/high school handbook. Offenses are now grouped A through F with the most severe being Group A. Each offense has a definite stated consequence for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th offenses.
McDonough also said the middle/high school received a $2,500 donation from the Shopko Foundation to implement Saturday School. Middle/High School Principal John Shiner explained that Saturday School will be used for both punitive and academic reasons and students who receive discipline violations would be required to attend. Students wanting time to work on group projects or homework would have access to a certified teacher during this time.
The board also approved the following increases for weekly lunch prices: elementary from $2 to $2.25, middle/high school from $2.25 to $2.50, and adult from $3.25 to $3.50.
During the superintendent's report, McDonough noted State Savings Bank of Manistique has been named the bid recipient for the Manistique Area Schools State Aid Note.
She said State Savings Bank beat out the Michigan Financial Authority with a "great rate." It also saved the district approximately double the amount in note interest.
"With SSB's rate, the district interest on the note will be $15,000," said McDonough.
"As previously approved by the board, the district must annually borrow to meet expenses as first State Aid payments do not arrive before the start of school," she explained.