Following a technology report at the Clare Board of Education meeting Monday, the board approved 7-0 a $40,251 project to install wireless technology at the High School. The project will be funded through the Capital Expenditures Fund.
Technology Coordinator Kevin Kickbusch worked to secure the discounted price through Xirrus. He said all the other schools in the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District are using the same vendor.
The Primary School will also be getting the wireless technology. The $33,250 cost of that project will be funded through Title I Federal grant funds.
The $40,651 cost for the upgrades in the Clare Middle School will come from this year’s surplus operations and maintenance funds.
The project will allow faster access and students will be able to use their devices, when approved. Board Secretary Carol Santini asked Kickbusch about security. He said, “Yes there are ways to protect our students and limit outside access to the wireless.”
The board also authorized Kickbusch and Business Manager to develop a Request for Proposals (RFP) and solicit bids for a new phone system. The current system, in place for many years, is no longer able to keep up with current technology.
In another matter, there was some concern over the approval of the Bullying Policy adding state recommendations, with the approval of two year extensions for administrators, the business manager and the Operations/Maintenance/Transportation Director through June of 2014, and with proposed changes to the student handbooks.
Board member Ben Browning voted against both the policy and the handbook changes. He said, “I have a number of issues with the [Bullying] policy. The state is getting ridiculous.” About the handbook changes he said, “Kids can’t even throw snowballs anymore. A lot of the things in here will create people without a backbone. It’s not realistic with today’s society.”
Board President Tom Weaver said, “We have to be in compliance with the law, but we don’t have to like them.”
Browning said he wouldn’t be voting for the policy or the handbook changes. They were both approved by a 6-1 vote.
Carol Santini said she was still concerned over the proposed contract extensions, a matter that was not approved at April’s meeting because there weren’t four votes in favor with two members absent.
“I still feel that it isn’t right to go out that far [with contracts],” she said. The extensions for all three principals, business manager and Operations/Maintenance/Transportation Director were approved with a 6-1 vote.
Other business at the May meeting included:
*Retiring employees including five teachers were honored including Terry Bond (technology), Bruce Byers (teacher), Julie Isaac (transportation), Elsie Lynch (parapro), Helen Powell (teacher), Joan Sampson (music teacher), Regina Schlafley (parapro), Charlene Smock (transportation), Marc Yenkel (teacher) and Jane Zientek (teacher). Pummell noted that combined they have 213 years of service to the district.
*A proposal from Superintendent Doniel Pummell that the board meet for a workshop on the Thursday before each regular meeting at 7 a.m.
*During Public Comment time, Parent Lisa Harper praised the schools and administration. “When we moved here with four of our six children about two years ago, the office staff was really helpful,” she said. “We have something very special in this community.” She spent some time reading comments from her children, who attend both middle and high school, about why they like Clare Schools.
*More complements for all the help Drama teacher Terri Beatty received in the recent production of Cinderella. “It was a great success thanks to the collaboration of alumni, art students, the band, industrial arts, Steve Stark, the technical department, music teacher and several local businesses including Steve Stark, Isaac’s Cleaners, Dave Maxwell and Ponderosa, Cid’s Subway, Mancinos, the Doherty, and JT Bakers. This is a community we can be proud of,” she said.
*A report from Primary Principal Mandy Bolen that 121 new Kindergarten students were enrolled and with the second year Kindergarten students the total would be 143 for next year.
*The District Technology was approved by a 7-0 vote. It was updated to meet State qualifications.
*Also approved was a Post Issuance Tax Compliance Policy as mandated by the state IRS to meet Federal tax requirements.
*Approval of the annual RESD budget.
*A closed session for the Superintendent’s evaluation.
*A closed session to discuss Transportation negotiations.