Harrison BOE introduces new member, Roger Peterson

Erich T. Doerr | Review Correspondent

The Harrison School Board had a meeting Monday night and used it to meet with newly elected member Roger Peterson.

It was one of the few actions the board could take due to absences. With only Vice President Connie Cauchi and members Dan Pechacek and Angie Cullen present the board did not have enough members to met its quorum and could make no official decisions as such. Cauchi presided over the meeting in the absence of regular President Marie Roth.

The meeting was the board’s first after the election and Peterson was in attendance after he defeated board member Doug Cobb last week. Peterson begins his term in January but has been attending board meetings for the last seven months.

“I thought it was time to see how it works,” Peterson said of his decision to run for office. “It seems to be a good group but we have our work cut out for us.”

Despite his concerns about the economy and making sure the kids are being treated right Peterson, 66, said he is looking forward to starting his new position. He added he is originally from the Lansing area but has lived in Harrison for the last 8 years and believes that he can bring a fresh out of town perspective to the board.

The board and Harrison Superintendent Thomas discussed the results of the election during the meeting, including both Peterson’s election and absent board member Therese Haley’s re-election. The board also discussed the failure of the RESD millage. According to House it had enough votes to pass in Beaverton, probably because it was tied to the renovation of a school building there for use as a community center, but failed with margins in the range of “40/60″ everywhere else. He said the vote was close in Harrison and Farwell but it still went down in those areas.

“It was pretty consistent,” House said, adding he didn’t know what would happen next at this point.

The school’s student count was also discussed. According to district business manager Janice Ranck the district planned on about 1,475 students this year but the early count indicated they have 1,493. If that number stays up it could mean the district could receive about $125,000 more than originally planned from the state.

Because of the lack of quorum the board had to table all of its action items including the affirmation of four new coaches for the district’s athletic teams and a closed session to discuss negotiations with the Harrison Education Association. The potential coaches were Becky Haskin for the bowling team, Jim Hoshield for JV boys basketball, Chris Fletcher for eighth-grade boys basketball and Nichole Carlstrom for seventh-grade girls basketball. Pechacek said all would most likely be approved at the board’s next meeting in December.

The board had no committee reports and spent most of the hour-long meeting discussing issues including a letter from the Department of Education about an inspection of its summer food service program. Superintendent Thomas House said the letter listed those who did the study before adding they appreciated and complimented the program.

“It’s simply a thank you and good job letter,” House said.

House also gave an update on the Educational Talent Search, one of three main outreach programs from Mid-Michigan Community College. According to House the program encourages kids to do well in school and pursue going to college. He added Harrison’s participation in that program has increased.

“We have 92 students who have signed up,” House said.