CCISD starting to put millage funds to work

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Two students in the CCISD Auto Tech class work together on a project Friday at the Copper Country Intermediate School District’s Career Tech Center.

HANCOCK — The Copper Country Intermediate School District’s Career Tech Center will see significant changes to its layout in the future as accommodations are made for new classes, thanks to a dedicated millage that was approved in August.

Auto Tech Program instruction aide Jeff LaMuth said he does not anticipate changes to his department, however.

“For our program, not much is going to change, just because we’re established, we’re here,” LaMuth said on Friday. “The new millage is going to implement the new programs, which, actually, the engineer is here right now, getting some information for electrical updates, and they’ve probably got a floor plan in place.”

The ultimate goal is to move the health careers programs upstairs, and perhaps the nursing program, LaMuth said. A new welding program will then be constructed in the current space of the health careers programs.

“They’re not sure on that yet,” LaMuth said. “They’re still figuring everything out — where they’re going to put stuff, and maybe later on down the road, hopefully, down here will also be machine tool, so there’s going to be auto machine tool, and welding, and all the metal (courses) down here.”

LaMuth said in his department, student enrollment is down this year. This year there are only two female students enrolled, which is down from last year.

The auto tech program sometimes experiences a lull, he said. He believes the program will see lower enrollment in the future, which could improve the quality of the classes.

“I think overall the automotive class numbers are not going to be high as they used to be. They used to be about 20 per class,” said LaMuth. “Now the millage is in place, it’s free for the schools to send them, but there are going to more programs for them to choose from. So, hopefully we’ve stabilized, because (some of) the kids that would have taken auto tech wanted to take welding, so they will take that instead.

He said the program might get smaller groups of better students.

“Kids that want to be in auto tech are here,” he said. “The kids that want to be in welding are over there. This is what (CCISD Superintendent) George (Stockero) and (CTE director) Shawn (Kolbus) think is going to happen. That’s the way it generally works out.”