Holding steady: Ontonagon School Board re-elects slate of officers for 2018

Skip Schulz/For the Gazette The Ontonagon School Board discusses a range of topics from leadership elections to changing the school year at their most recent meeting

At Monday’s Ontonagon Area School District (OASD) Board meeting all of the officers from last year were re-elected. This includes Dean Juntunen as president, Tanya Weisinger as vice president, Nancy Mattson as secretary, and Karen Jackson as treasurer.

Committee assignments were also handed out.

Just as the officer election is held annually, Juntunen read the annual policy regarding board members giving their opinions or statements that may be misunderstood as an “official” position of the board.

“The misunderstandings that can result from incidents can embarrass both the member and the board,” said Juntunen as he read from the bylaws. “Therefore, board members should, when writing or speaking on school matters to the media, legislators, and other officials, make it clear that their views do not necessarily reflect the views of the board or their colleagues on the board.”

The OASD policies come from Neola, an Ohio-based educational policy organization this district, and many districts in the area, follow.

OASD Superintendent/Principal Jim Bobula highlighted some of the changes.

“Changes dealing with the use of technology, who controls the data from this technology, and the policy and protocol dealing with student suspension,” Bobula stated. “There is enough changes that I think we need to address these changes before our next board meeting.”

An important issue that the board members discussed dealt with potentially starting school before Labor Day.

While the start of school has been a political “hot potato” for years, the concern that Bobula brought up dealt with how the 180-day school year extends later into June.

“Many students are stressed out by then and the warm weather doesn’t help,” said Bobula.

With the district taking time off for the Michigan firearms deer season, the concept of starting school in August was brought up. Bobula stated that he talked to teachers, and they do not have a problem with this.

The school calendar, including when school begins, would have to be approved by every school in the Gogebic-Ontonagon intermediate School District (ISD).

During the financial report, clarification was given as to the “acknowledgement” of income and expenses is what has been received and paid, and board approval is for bills to be paid.

Bobula joined with Business Services Director Linda Karttunen in stating that even with the cuts in financial aid from the federal government on both Title 1 and Title 2, the OASD will maintain its staffing for the federally-mandated programs when it comes to special assistance to students.

The OASD Board hired Michelle LaBine for 5.5 hours per day for the Title 1 program and Margaret Lewis for a half hour each day for the program.

Wendy Collins-Gouin was also hired for an additional 2 hours as Title 1 Facilitator.

The OASD Board accepted the resignation of Scott Cleary as Girls Junior High Basketball Coach. Bobula commended Cleary for teaching the girls sportsmanship and the importance of academics.

With the basketball season not starting till next fall, no action was taken on hiring a new coach.