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Hancock opts out of resolution

August 14, 2012
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - Members of the Hancock Public Schools Board of Education chose not to support a resolution calling for the Copper Country Intermediate School District to put on the November ballot an enhancement millage for the operation of the BRIDGE Alternative High School.

At the board's work session Monday, Superintendent Monica Healy showed board members a letter from CCISD Superintendent Dennis Harbour asking for a resolution from the school boards to support placing on the ballot a request for an enhancement millage to operate BRIDGE.

Healy said if a majority of the 13 districts in the CCISD approved the resolution, the millage would be placed on the ballot. If it was approved by voters, even the districts which didn't want the millage would be assessed for it.

Article Photos

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Members of the Hancock Public Schools Board of Education chose not to support a resolution from the Copper Country Intermediate School District to place on the November ballot a request for an enhancement millage to run the BRIDGE Alternative High School in Hancock.

In April 2010, the Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools Board of Education voted to become the fiscal agent for BRIDGE after officials at the Copper Country Intermediate School District decided it wasn't financially able to run it on its own. As part of the agreement for DB-TC to take over BRIDGE, a consortium of districts, including Adams, Chassell, DB-TC, Hancock, Houghton, Lake Linden and the Copper Country Intermediate School District, formed to operate the BRIDGE with DB-TC acting as the fiscal agent of the school.

However, Dr. Jan Quarless, DB-TC superintendent, said at the school board's May meeting since 2011, some of the districts weren't fully supporting the consortium agreement of 2010, which led to problems fiscally. Some districts did not pass on to DB-TC their at-risk and special education funding for their students attending BRIDGE.

Currently, Healy said Hancock Public Schools have nine students at BRIDGE. Although the BRIDGE provides an important function for some students who may not do well in a traditional high school setting, Hancock Central High School can provide services for those students.

"They are welcome to come back here," she said. "We have ways we can deliver a curriculum to students."

Healy said such methods as online instruction and other special instruction can be given to those students who might otherwise attend BRIDGE.

Some of the students from BRIDGE may choose to go to the Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium & Keweenaw's Horizons Alternative High School in Mohawk, and the district has agreed to provide transportation for those who do.

For each student, Healy said BRIDGE costs more than the $7,300 per-pupil aid schools get from the state of Michigan.

"It's an expensive thing to run," she said.

The minimum number of students needed to operate BRIDGE economically is 35, which is the enrollment now. It would be better with 50 students.

Hancock Public Schools Business Manager Ken Maki said the number of students attending BRIDGE any year is very important.

"It's such a small budget, one or two students make a big difference," he said.

Hancock Central High School Principal John Sanregret said he was uncertain if any new teachers would have to be hired if the district's BRIDGE students came back into the district.

This morning Healy said although BRIDGE does provide a valuable service, only 30 percent of students graduate.

Healy said she agrees with the school board members' decision not to support the resolution for the proposed enhancement millage for BRIDGE.

"It's the right decision," she said.

Board members also heard from Maki the audit of the district will take place in late August or early September, and financially the district situation is on target.

"We're coming in where we expected for this time of year," he said.

The district is in a positive position related to revenues and expenditures, Maki said.

The district's workers compensation costs are going down, Maki said.

In other business, the board members:

heard the cellphone policy will be changed to allow students to use them before and after classes, during lunch and during class with teacher permission for class-related reasons.

the attendance policy will be changed to give an incentive of not taking some exams to students who have good grades and good attendance.

decided to vote at its regular meeting Aug. 27 on a 1 percent pay increase for nonaffiliated employees, including Healy, building principals (except new Gordon G. Barkell Elementary School Principal Howard Parmentier who just started last month).



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