By Pat Maurer
With a little more help from a generous community, Phase I of the Brookwood 2.0 is going to happen this year, said John Punches, Chair of the Pioneers Are Leaders committee Monday evening.
The Clare Board of Education unanimously approved authorization for Superintendent Doniel Pummell to sign a contract with Astro Turf contingent on funds for the project and approval of the contract by district Attorney Kirk Herald of Thrun Law Firm.
Punches said Monday that the group has raised $554,701 towards the project since they began fundraising earlier this year, “thanks to the amazing efforts by committee members and organizations in the area.” He went on, “We have had people working constantly to raise the money. One committee member took two weeks off work just to fundraise.”
A Facebook post reported Tuesday that only $30,000 was still needed to reach the goal, which will pay for artificial turf on the Brookwood playing field. A Wednesday post reported the total raised had increased to $580,201.67 and another $61,750.00 has already been pledged for next year.
An estimated $600,000 is needed before the first Phase of the improvement project can begin. Once it begins, Punches said the field could be ready when the football season starts.
Pummell said, “It is amazing what has been done. It’s something we are all going to be very proud of.”
In another matter, Business Manager Lynn Graham outlined costs and a proposal to purchase two busses from Capital City Bus Sales at a cost of approximately $81,000 each. The busses would be financed over three years at an annual cost of $56,000 each year. The board had already set aside $85,000 for purchase of a bus.
The matter will be voted on next month. Pummell said one of the busses to be replaced was “on its last legs.” The other, she said, would be used just for special trips.
Both busses would be Internationals, allowing quick access to repairs right in Clare, Graham said.
Recognition for Clare’s High School Band members was another item on Monday’s BOE agenda.
Band Director Melissa Sapianza was on hand to honor 11 members of the band, seniors who have been with her since she came to Clare. “When I came in 2006, these kids were my first group from beginning to end.” The departing seniors are Jacob Betzer, Jordan Bugai, Lucas Combs, Justin Duffett, Caitlin Field, Jordan Hales, Keagen Owens, Jeff Staten, Nikki Stinson, Scott Wentworth and Sarah Wolfe.
She also named 17 band students who went to the State Solo Ensemble festival recently and came back with more honors for the group. They include: Laura Mater, Sam Warner, Dani Wood, Sam Gray, Tessa Huovinen, Kevin Spicer-Torres, Josiah Bear, James DeRocco, Hannah VanBuskirk, Jeff Staten, Doug Prince, Keagen Owens, Kyler Phillips, Peter DeRoche, Michael Wertheimer, Erin Gray and Trisha Wentworth.
During Public Comment, Clare Police Chief Brian Wilson introduced the new school liaison officer Brian David, who will take over for retiring officer Al White. White has been liaison officer at the Schools for most of the past 17 years. He will retire August 31. “Brian has some big shoes to fill,” Gregory said at the meeting.
As a co-owner, White also made a presentation of $1,000 to the schools from Cops and Doughnuts. With monies raised at the school carnival, the donation will help pay for the security system at the Clare Primary School.
Primary Principal Mandy Bolen reported that only one Primary door is now accessible and at times other than when students arrive and leave, the door is locked and office staff must “buzz” visitors into the building.
Other business at the board meeting Monday included:
*Board member Dick Shively announced his intention to resign from the board either after the June or the July board meetings. He has been on the board for the past ten years and was reelected to the seat three times.
*A presentation by Dwayne Strachan, Jason Lundin and Mark Weaver on Math data and curriculum improvements. Strachan said the focus of the meetings with Sam Ewin were to identify gaps and student weaknesses and make improvements. “A big part of this is the transition to the ‘common core’ program,” he said.
*Discussion of a proposal to increase school lunches by ten cents due to increased food costs and regulation by the USDA. The matter will come to a vote at the next meeting. Pummell also spoke on the decrease in lunch purchases, saying she believes it is due to changes in the rules for the food service preparation and the way the lunches must be served.
*Approval of changes to the student handbook.
*The designation of Steve Stark as board representative, and Carol Santini as alternate in the upcoming Clare-Gladwin RESD board election, with instructions to vote for Sarah Kyle of Gladwin and Joe Sprague of Beaverton.
*Approval of the annual Clare-Gladwin RESD budget.
*Setting June 17 at 6:30 p.m. for the annual Budget Hearing.
*In their report, the Education Boosters noted that they have donated over $5,000 to the school.
*Representing the Band Boosters, Jill Ouellette said the High School Band will wear their new uniforms to march in the Memorial Day parade.