Hancock Board replaces ranks

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Shown here at the previous regular meeting with only four members present, the Hancock School Board appointed two former board members Thursday morning to fill vacancies created by resignations.

HANCOCK — Catherine Jordan and Dale Kero were appointed at a special School Board meeting Thursday to fill seat vacancies created when Board President Kevin Kalinec and Secretary Paula Nutini resigned.

Kero was appointed to serve as president, replacing Kalinec.

Jordan was first appointed to fill a vacancy on the board in February 2018 and was defeated in her November bid to retain her seat in the Nov. 6 elections.

Kero was a member of the board several years ago but resigned his position.

The School Board’s Personnel/Athletic Committee met at 6:45 a.m. Thursday to discuss the board vacancies and to hear public comments.

The purpose of the committee’s meeting was to select two candidates from the five who submitted applications, and then make recommendations to the School Board, which convened in special session at 7 a.m., immediately following the committee meeting, to approved the appointments.

Superintendent Kipp Beaudoin was unavailable for comment.

The appointments came just before evaluations of Dan Vaara, principal of the elementary school, and Ezekiel Ohan, principal of the middle and high schools, as well as a search to replace Beaudoin, who also submitted his resignation, after serving two years as superintendent.

Ohan started with the district when the board voted unanimously approved his hiring at the Aug. 21, 2017, regular meeting, after interviews were conducted on Aug. 18, with the Personnel/Athletic Committee recommending Ohan for the position.

Ohan replaced Kipp Beaudoin, who was hired as superintendent.

Since then, Ohan has become the center of controversy and criticism, in spite of his progress in significantly increasing student scores and reversing the percentage of declining enrollment of students.

Soft projections for the 2018-19 school year, based on declining enrollment over the past number of years, predicted the current enrollment to be 400 students.

However, according to calculations compiled and analyzed in late February, grades 6-8 showed 182 students, with a full-time enrollment equivalency of 176.46.

According to the initial projections, the enrollment was predicted to be 400 at the beginning of the school year.

Calculations compiled on Feb. 27 showed that middle school full-time enrollment average was 173.46, while high school full-time enrollment is 222.46, for a combined total of 395.99 full-time enrollment.

The grades 9-12 student population totals 232, with full-time average enrollment of 222.46 for 2018-19, for an overall total population of 414 students, which 4 percent over the projected enrollment for the year.