HANCOCK - A 1 percent raise for unaffiliated, or non-union, staff at the Public Schools of Hancock was approved Monday by the members of the district's Board of Education, but not without dissent.
By a vote of six to one, the raise was approved for the superintendent and school principals, except Gordon G. Barkell Elementary Principal Howard Parmentier, who started in July.
However, board member Chuck Paoli said he had concerns about the raise since the district has had to make so many cost cuts recently.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Members of the Hancock Public Schools Board of Education during their regular meeting Monday voted to give the district’s unaffiliated staff a 1-percent raise.
"I have a little trouble with this," he said. "I think we should take a look at this."
Board President Mark Peters said he thinks the raise is justified because unaffiliated staff members haven't had a raise in four years.
Board Vice President Robbyn Lucier said she agreed the raise was reasonable.
"To go without a raise in four years, it's time for the unaffiliated staff to get a raise," she said.
Board members voted to approve the raise with Paoli voting against.
Superintendent Monica Healy updated board members about recent support to the district from the Hancock Public Schools Foundation.
Healy said the Foundation provided $12,454 to the district, including $1,650 to the elementary school for technology upgrades.
The handbook for the elementary school, which Healy said was completed by Parmentier very quickly, was approved by the board members.
"Barkell has been without a handbook for quite a few years," she said.
Board members approved accepting the new elementary school handbook.
The cellphone use and absence policies for the district were also approved by the board. Cellphone use must be limited to times between class and during lunch, or during class for class work with the approval of the teacher. The absence policy allows students to skip certain tests if they have a good grade and a good attendance record.
Healy, Parmentier and Hancock Central High School Principal John Sanregret all reported their buildings are ready for the start of class.
Healy said during the middle school Sneak Peek event, 52 of 56 incoming seventh grade students and many parents came to look over the building.
During public comment period before the start of the meeting, resident John Haeussler spoke about his disappointment the members chose not to support the proposed enhancement millage for the operation of BRIDGE Alternative High School.
Not enough districts in the CCISD supported the enhancement millage in time to place it on the November ballot.
In April 2010, the DB-TC 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-Portage Township, Lake Linden-Hubbell and the Copper Country Intermediate School District, formed to operate BRIDGE with DB-TC acting as the fiscal agent of the school.
At its June meeting, the DB-TC Board of Education voted to end its oversight as fiscal agent for the school because since 2011, some of the districts have decided not to fully support the consortium agreement of 2010, which has led to problems fiscally. Some districts have not passed on to DB-TC their at-risk and special education funding for their students attending BRIDGE.
Haeussler said at a recent meeting of the Houghton-Portage Township School District one board member said it was disappointing the word of some school boards regarding the BRIDGE consortium "means nothing."
"It appears it's directed at you," he said.
Haeussler asked if Hancock was making payments for the operation of BRIDGE, at which point Peters said Haeussler's time to speak had expired.
Although no one responded to Haeussler's question about the payments during the meeting, this morning Healy said it was known by all superintendents what the district's position would be.
"We have not paid them anything," she said.
In March 2010, when the CCISD decided to give up fiscal control of BRIDGE, Healy said the Hancock board of education chose not to take it over and passed a resolution to allow another district to take over operation with the knowledge of Hancock's position.
"It states in black and white, 'with no financial obligation from Hancock,'" she said.
Healy said the Hancock schools have not hidden the fact they weren't financially supporting BRIDGE.
After DB-TC took over BRIDGE, Healy said BRIDGE became a school of choice, which caused some concern with the Hancock district administration and board because of the potential loss of students at a time when it was working on reducing a $2 million deficit.
"To us, that was big," she said.
In other business, board members:
accepted with regret the resignation of varsity boys basketball coach Ryan Walter, who wants to spend more time with his family.
approved bids from Bimbo Bakeries USA and Jilbert Dairy for the 2012-13 school year.
approved a 15-cent increase for lunches for the 2012-13 school year.