By Erich T. Doerr
The Farwell School Board met Monday in the high school’s media center.
The meeting lasted just under 90 minutes and began with a presentation by Farwell High School Assistant Principal Dee Yarger regarding ACT research. According to Yarger Farwell was one of 63 schools nationwide taking part in the study and the school did well, the full study can be found online at act.org/research.
“It’s nice to have a chance to share a little good news with you tonight,” Yarger said.
According to Yarger the study found a strong working relationship between students and teachers in the Farwell district. She added the study also showed that Farwell students are expecting higher academic standards as many are now aiming for higher education and that the use of in-class time to prepare for tests is important.
“We need to encourage our students to be high achievers,” Board President Max Paine said.
Yarger also presented a report on the school from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The Mackinac Center report measures a combination of socioeconomic status, measured by the percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, and test performance using the Michigan Merit Examination results. This produces each school’s resulting Context and Performance Report Card, or ‘CAP’ score, which Yarger said is supposed to represent an ‘apples to apples’ comparison.
According to the study, carried out over four years, from 585 high schools tracked in the state of Michigan Farwell came in at 178, earning a grade of ‘B’ as part of the top 30 percent. Harrison High School was ranked at 171 while Gladwin High School was ranked at 149 with both also receiving ‘B’ grades. Clare received a ‘C’ and came in at number 268 according to a full copy of the study’s results.
“I couldn’t be any happier,” Yarger said of the school’s CAP score. “I am so proud of this kids.”
One of the main points of discussion was the upcoming Regional Enhancement Millage to be voted on in November. The millage affects not only the Farwell district but also Harrison, Clare, Beaverton and Gladwin in addition to the area’s Clare-Gladwin career center.
A video describing the need for the millage at the career center was shown during the meeting, the video noted the career center is having a hard time competing with others in the area such as Mount Pleasant Area Technical Center. Superintendent Carl Seiter showed the video before passing out booklets on what the millage would provide for Farwell.
“The main focus is enhancements,” Seiter said.
According to Seiter and the booklets Farwell’s main improvements should the millage pass would regard buses and facilities. The booklets noted the dirt roads that make up much of the district are hard on the school’s buses and often cause them to rust out and become ‘unrealistic’ to fix. If the millage passes some of Farwell’s funding would go to the purchase or lease of new buses to replace parts of the current fleet.
On the other end of the issue is facilities which according to the booklet would include several measures that would ‘save money in the long run.’ It gave examples of boiler consolidation and the addition of a direct digital control system for the heating and cooling systems at the elementary and middle schools.
This week is also Farwell’s homecoming and the event was briefly discussed during the meeting. Seiter noted during his comment section the floats for the school’s homecoming parade are going to start lining up at 3:15 p.m. The parade itself starts at 4 p.m. with the route taking the floats down Michigan Street before a right turn onto Wright Street and another right turn onto Ohio Street to bring the parade back to the high school.
The board’s final action of the night was the approval of updates for the school’s NEOLA Policy. Without an questioning the approval was motioned for by board member Paula Sullivan and seconded by Rose Sharp. According to Paine the changes were minor, mostly done just for wording and state requirements.
One item planned for the meeting was canceled, an audit presentation by the Saginaw-based accounting firm Yeo and Yeo. According to Seiter the presentation was to be given by CPA Michael Zimmerman.
Every member of the Farwell board was in attendance except for Duffey Doxtader. According to Seiter Doxtader was unable to make it due to a trip to Colorado.