Clare Schools a finalist for Thompson technology grant

April 19, 2019

By Pat Maurer

At Monday’s Clare Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Jim Walter reported that Clare is a finalist for the Thompson Technology Grant, which if awarded could support a program at Clare High School dedicated to flight (drones and/or piloting aircraft).

The superintendent said, “We are seeking to fund equipment and staff training for an innovating flight training program (progress toward pilot’s license and/or drone flight training).  Our positive relationships with the city, Mr. Gary Todd and the Clare airport, as well as the support of individuals in the industry have led us to pursue this innovative programming for CPS students.”

Clare Middle School students who participated in the 22nd annual Middle School Math Competition at Delta College March 16th included (left to right) back row: Back row:  Emily Klaver (8th), Duncan Lowe (8th), Alexander Leos (8th), Abigail Isaac (6th),  Ethan McKinney (7th), Ryan Newkirk (7th),  and Hogan Walter (6th). Front Row: Morgan Bowers (7th), Calder Cornwell (6th), Matthew Mast (6th), Ethan Rogers (6th), Tyler Sehy (6th), and Noah Camp (7th).

Walter explained, “The Thompson Technology Grant is funded by the Thompson Foundation (Robert and Ellen Thompson)…funded with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Thompson-McCully Company, once one of the largest asphalt paving companies in Michigan.  The mission of the Foundation is to assist in the education of students in areas that have a high concentration of working families.  The amount of the award is determined at the discretion of the foundation.”

He said Clare will participate in final interview later this month.
Walter noted, ‘We’ve also written for the Schneider Electric Innovative Grant,” but said, “We were not awarded the Michigan State Police School Safety Grant, but will try again in the 2020 fiscal year. He said, “The Schneider Electric Innovation grant is for $100,000 and we’re anticipating hearing from them in June.”

In his report to the board Monday, Walter also noted that Transportation Service Bids are due at noon Friday (April 19th) from thee locally operating services – Auxilio, Dean Transportation, and First Student. Vendor interviews will take place April 24th, he said.

In February, the BOE gave Superintendent Jim Walter the go-ahead to solicit a Request for Proposal for the district’s transportation services.
“The problems [we have] are not with the fleet,” he told the BOE members in February, “it’s drivers.” He explained, “The Board authorized a request for proposals for management of transportation for the district.  It is our plan to maintain ownership of the bus fleet, which retains some flexibility for the district.  If we receive competitive bids and award a contract it would allow the district to possibly realize a financial savings while raising driver wages at the same time, and give more time for administration to focus on the physical plant.  Most importantly, more of our time is focused on the education of our students.  But a safe transportation record and valuing our people (kids, drivers, adults and families) will be foremost on the Board’s mind.”

The superintendent’s report to the board also said the board would not have to borrow at the beginning of the next school year. Walter said, “Our cash flow analysis should allow us to enter the 2019-20 school year without borrowing money for the first time in years. This is a credit to your (the board’s) stewardship of taxpayer dollars that ultimately saves the district important funds.”

Walter said an “anticipated decision on privatizing transportation would be the May board meeting.” 

Middle School 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who competed in the 22nd annual Middle School Math Competition at Delta College March 16th were also honored at the Clare Board of Education Meeting Monday evening.
Math Department Chair Mark Cooper presented certificates to the competitors who attended the meeting. He said 380 students attended the competition.

Delta has been hosting the competition for 6th through 8th graders since 1997. Forty schools from all over Michigan come to compete each year. This year’s theme was “Math Through the Ages.”

Clare sixth graders competing include Kassidy Allen, Calder Cornwell, Pierson Gallagher, Abigail Isaac, Matthew Mast, Adrian Nummerdor, Ethan Rogers, Tyler Sehy, Riley Smith, Catherine Taft, Jack Thompson and Hogan Walter.

Seventh graders honored included Chloe Allen, Morgan Bowers, Eli Buccilli, Andrew Klaus, Ethan McKinney, Ryan Newkirk, Sydney Nummerdor, Keegan Pack, Brogan Russell, James Tice, Anastasia Wentworth and Kadence Zelinski.

Eighth grade competitors included Emily Klaver, Alexander Leos, Duncan Lowe, Chloe Sprague, Elizabeth Sproul, Mya Tait and Kyia Tunder.
Other business at the meeting included:

*The second reading and approval of 4000 and 5000 policies for support staff and student sections of the NEOLA (North East Ohio Learning Associates policies.

*The first reading and discussion of NEOLA policies for 6000 and 7000s property sections.

*The designation of Board President Ben Browning as electoral representative and Vice President Steve Stark as alternate for the Regional Education Service District Biennial Election June 3rd. There are two six-year terms expiring and a four year term to fill on the RESD board.

*The approval of Chartwell’s low bid for food service management for a one-year contract with four one-year contract renewals.

*The approval of bills totaling $251,431.70 as presented.

Following the regular meeting the BOE met in closed session to discuss collective bargaining unit negotiations.

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