April 13, 2020 Minutes

SAULT STE. MARIE AREA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SAULT STE. MARIE, MICHIGAN 49783

REGULAR MEETING, BOARD OF EDUCATION

Phone 906/635-6609

 

Minutes – Monday, April 18, 2020

 

168.    I.     CALL TO ORDER

 

President Smith called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. via electronic meeting

https://eupschools.zoom.us/j/555099076

 

A.     ROLL CALL OF BOARD

 

Board Members Present:  Daniel L. Smith, Christine M. Curtis, Melissa S. Pingatore, Esther L. Proulx, Jay D. Wilson, Joseph A. Cochran, Martin R. Wolski

 

Board Members Absent:  None

 

169.     B.     ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

 

It was moved by Member Cochran, supported by Member Curtis, that the Board of Education adopt the agenda as presented.

 

Yeas:  Smith, Curtis, Pingatore, Proulx, Wilson, Cochran, Wolski

Nays:  None

Absent:  None

Motion Carried.

 

170.    C.        BUSINESS REPORT AND APPROVAL OF BILLS – Mrs. Michelle Bennin

 

Mrs. Bennin sought approval for the March General Fund Bill List and the Food Service Bill List.  

 

Mrs. Bennin reported there was a significant amount of revenue over expenses due to the winter tax revenue deadline.

 

Mrs. Bennin reported there was a slight variance in percent of budget due to the amount of capital improvements and timing of invoices.  She noted the expense to the Food Service account for the renewal of the Meal Magic Software and meals through the end of the year.

 

Mrs. Bennin reported the second budget amendment will be brought to the Board in May or June due to the uncertain circumstances surrounding the pandemic.

 

President Smith confirmed there were no questions, and indicated the report was discussed at last week’s finance meeting.

 

It was moved by Member Wolski, supported by Member Curtis, that the Board of Education approve the General Fund Bill List in the amount of $1,893,096.89 for March, including $5,085.00 for the Food Service Bill List.

 

Yeas:  Smith, Curtis, Pingatore, Proulx, Wilson, Cochran, Wolski

Nays:  None

Absent:  None

Motion Carried.

 

 

II.     PUBLIC COMMUNICATION AND CORRESPONDENCE

 

171.   A.     AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

 

There was none.

 

III.     ACTION ITEMS AND BOARD REPORTS

 

172.    A.     PERSONNEL – Superintendent Hall

 

Superintendent Hall reported on Steve Thoresen as an outstanding candidate and the district’s recommendation for hire as Lead Mechanic.

 

There were no questions.

 

New Hires

 

  1. Steve Thoresen – Lead Mechanic – Sault Area Public Schools

 

It was moved by Member Wilson, supported by Member Pingatore, that the Board of Education approve the recommendation to hire Steve Thoresen as Lead Mechanic for Sault Area Public Schools.

 

Yeas:  Smith, Curtis, Pingatore, Proulx, Wilson, Cochran, Wolski

Nays:  None

Absent:  None

Motion Carried.

 

President Smith asked administration to pass on the Board’s appreciation for Mr. Thoresen’s application.

 

173.    B.     SALE OF MALCOLM BUILDING – Superintendent Hall

 

Superintendent Hall reported the agreement to purchase the Malcolm Building by CHN did not materialize, the ISD is no longer interested in buying it, and we have an offer from the Sault Tribe for $61,000 - the initial offer by the ISD.  He noted the district kept the $40,000 in hard money from CHN and the final sale would net approximately $60,000 after attorney fees.

 

Superintendent Hall acknowledged Ken Dunton was in attendance.

 

Member Wilson inquired on the rationale behind this addition to the agenda as it was not communicated to him on Tuesday, and later found out about it when he received the agenda on Friday.

 

Superintendent Hall reported President Smith and he discussed placing this item on the agenda a couple of times as well as the hiring of Steve Thoresen. 

 

Member Wilson inquired on what the district was trying to accomplish with the sale of the building.

 

Superintendent Hall reported he doesn’t think it looks good to have buildings falling in disrepair.

 

Upon inquiry from Member Wilson, Superintendent Hall confirmed it costs the district approximately $20,000 a year to maintain the empty building.

 

Superintendent Hall stated the district’s focus is to sell the building regardless of any other discussions the Board may have heard out in the community.  He confirmed he is not aware of the Tribe wanting a separate alternative program or another building for that purpose.

 

Superintendent Hall asked if there were any further questions.

 

Superintendent Hall and President Smith confirmed the district cannot dictate what the use of the building will be.

 

Upon inquiry from President Smith, Superintendent Hall confirmed the motion is just for the sale of the building and it does not have anything to do with the alternative program.

 

Member Cochran reported he wants to ensure that there are no implied or hidden expectations associated with the purchase and sale of the Malcolm building and there is no obligation by the district or Board regarding the sale, and the district and the board are separating themselves from any implications.

 

Superintendent Hall confirmed the Tribe did not initiate any plan to coincide with the sale of the Malcolm building.   He indicated the sale was because he does not want to leave an empty building sit.

 

President Smith confirmed there were no verbal agreements with the sale of the building, and it is just a standard purchase agreement between two entities.

 

Superintendent Hall reported the sale of the building will produce an at-will check.  He indicated he understood Member Cochran’s concern surrounding the athletic field renovation donation.

 

Member Cochran inquired on any foreseeable changes with the sale of the building.

 

Superintendent Hall indicated the sale of the building was a separate arrangement.

 

President Smith indicated he had heard the rumor that the Tribe was going to open up a high school, but he stated they could do that regardless of the building they chose to use.

 

Member Wilson expressed concern for timely Board disclosure of items prior to placing them on the agenda. He indicated he had not heard any recent information about the Tribe placing a bid on the Malcolm building except for in an email.

 

Member Wilson inquired on the short notice of placing this item on the agenda.

 

President Smith indicated the Board received an e-mail from Dr. Hall about a month ago when CHN dropped their offer. 

 

Superintendent Hall confirmed the sale of the Malcolm building did not have any conditions tied to it.

 

Superintendent Hall confirmed the sale is just for the building.

 

President Smith indicated the sale was presented at last week’s finance meeting and there were no concerns.

 

It was moved by Member Wolski, supported by Member Curtis, that the Board of Education approve the recommendation to approve the sale of the Malcolm Building to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and authorize the Superintendent to sign the necessary documents.

 

Yeas:  Smith, Curtis, Pingatore, Proulx, Wilson, Cochran, Wolski

Nays:  None

Absent:  None

Motion Carried.

 

Members Wilson and Cochran raised concern about the timing of notification that this item was being placed on the agenda. 

 

Superintendent Hall reported discussion on the sale of the building had been going on for a long time and he raised the issue with President Smith and it was placed on the agenda.

 

Members Wilson and Cochran reported they were not aware that there was discussion with the Tribe that the building was still available after CHN moved on.

 

President Smith reported he understands every one’s concerns, but the Board did authorize the Superintendent to sell the building.

 

Member Wilson asked that going forward he would like more advanced notice of when an item such as this is being placed on the agenda.

 

Superintendent Hall reported he would bear responsibility for this, but he thought everything was in place and the district should move forward on it.

 

Member Wilson reported there was a lack of communication with the Board members who are not on the Finance Committee.

 

Superintendent Hall reported if there was discontent, he will take the responsibility for it. 

 

President Smith confirmed the meeting would move on to the Superintendent Report.

 

 174.    IV.     ADMINISTRATION REPORTS

 

A.     SUPERINTENDENT REPORT

 

Dr. Hall reported 465 chrome books had been distributed for students in grades 5 through 12.  He indicated the devices were loaded with the mandated internet usage requirements at home.   He’s already to track things for

 

Dr. Hall reported as part of Governor Whitmer’s executive order, the district has been preparing and distributing meals on a weekly basis for 225 students.

 

Dr. Hall reported on the district’s Continuity of Learning Plan that requires ISD approval prior to submission to the state.  He indicated a lot of planning has gone into developing the plan even though it does not supplant teachers being in front of the class.

 

Dr. Hall gave an update on the possible Summer School and Food Distribution Plan.  He indicated he would provide updates as appropriate.

 

Upon inquiry from President Smith, Dr. Hall reported the state is estimating to have its budget ready in July.   He noted there are a lot of work groups involved in planning the budget, and even though there is a possibility of raising school revenue, the district will continue to budget for a zero increase as the Senate Majority Leader could not confirm or deny there would not be a proration to the budget based on this year’s early closing. 

 

Upon inquiry from Member Wilson, Superintendent Hall agreed there could be a higher reduction of students based on incoming Kindergarteners, but explained there is always movement over the summer and you have to wait and see how it all works out. 

 

Superintendent Hall reported it is hard for the district to forecast what the 2021 budget will look like due to this year’s early closing and inclusion of the Continuity of Learning Plan.  He stated he will plan for the worst case scenario regardless of it being an election year.

 

Upon inquiry from Member Wilson, Superintendent Hall reported given the current Covid-19 situation, he has not had time to consider what building improvements could be made over the summer.  He noted the high school siding replacement was on the list, but he is hesitant to look at substantial repairs with the unknown budget.

 

Upon inquiry from Member Cochran, Superintendent Hall indicated he would let the Board know how much money the closing cost or saved the district.

 

Member Cochran suggested the cost of not running the buses could be applied to another expense.

 

 

175.    V.     FUTURE PLANNING

 

President Smith reviewed the upcoming events. 

 

Superintendent Hall reported the district is looking at rescheduling the April 27 annual meeting, and he would notify the Board in the near future.

 

April 27 – Annual Board Meeting – JKL Bahweting School – 7:00 p.m.

May 11 – Regular Board Meeting – Middle School – 7:00 p.m.

June 8 – Regular Board Meeting – Middle School – 7:00 p.m.

 

Upon inquiry from Member Curtis, President Smith confirmed there would be an opportunity to comment in Board Governance.

 

 

176.    VI.     BOARD GOVERNANCE AND BOARD POLICY ISSUES

 

Member Curtis thanked Superintendent Hall for keeping the Board posted on what the district is doing to facilitate continuity of learning as she had received questions from the public.

 

Upon inquiry from Member Curtis, Superintendent Hall reported the teachers received a positive response on the number and type of internet access students have at home, and indicated the Board would receive a compiled response.

 

Dr. McFarlane reported the Special Education Department has been meeting with the ISD for a regional approach to support continuity of learning for students with Individual Educational Plans.  She reported each family has been contacted to find out which students have access to the internet and what their comfort level is with the different forms of learning to help them progress with their objectives and goals.

 

Mr. Carl McCready reported he has attended secondary principals’ meetings and the district is mimicking what has been happening around the region.  He stated the district is very fortunate as everyone is working well together with a multiple faceted approach.  He reported teachers are following up when they do not hear back from students to determine the reason.  

 

Mr. McCready reported in contrast to the elementary level, the Middle School and High School are trying to communicate via the internet for most of their teaching. 

 

Mr. McCready reported Counselors Susan Kenn and Susy Talentino have been working on the next steps for graduation and in planning for next year’s schedule.

 

Upon inquiry from Member Curtis, Superintendent Hall reported he will have Mrs. Lussier research if students can continue to be certified as CNAs through the CTE program, and he will update the Board.

 

Superintendent Hall reported the elementary school teachers are mailing out homework and contacting their students by phone.  He indicated the Intervention Specialists will be contacting those students who have not responded to see what level of support is needed to assist them in their learning.  

 

Superintendent Hall reported the school nurse is contacting parents of students who have special health needs to ensure they have the supports they need.

 

Member Proulx indicated she had received feedback from parents on the disparity of teaching methods and hoped there was a better plan for a more standardized mode of teaching.

 

Superintendent Hall reported it might be difficult to get all of the teachers to use the same method of teaching as they have not all been trained on the same platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Google Needs and Hangouts, and YouTube videos.  He noted they use their own special modes when teaching face to face and stated it is more important to have the teachers work at communicating with their students through what they know best than to limit them to a specific format. 

 

Superintendent Hall reported teachers have been working very well with the sudden impromptu change and noted they will be better able to track which students are gaining access to their homework after a couple of weeks.

 

Member Pingatore suggested parents check their child’s e-mail and other school accounts regularly to follow up on the methods for receiving and submitting homework.

 

Member Proulx indicated some teachers are more proactive in reaching out and distributing information than others.

 

Superintendent Hall asked if anyone was aware of a particular situation that needs to be address and hew will address it with the building principal.

 

President Smith confirmed there were no other concerns and asked Dr. Hall to continue keeping the Board informed on what is going on.

 

177.    VII. ADJOURNMENT

 

There being no further business to come before the Board at 7:56 p.m., it was moved by Member Cochran, supported by Member Wolski, that the meeting be adjourned.

 

Yeas:  Smith, Curtis, Pingatore, Proulx, Wilson, Cochran, Wolski

Nays:  None

Absent:  None

Motion Carried.

 

________________________________

Daniel L. Smith, President

________________________________

Melissa S. Pingatore, Board Secretary

 ________________________________

 Judy L. Sirk, Recording Secretary