MAPS board agrees to continue collaborative efforts without a resolution

The Manistee Area Board of Education honored student board representative Allie Zimmerman for two years of service in that role. Zimmerman and fellow student Sarah Sheathelm would report to the board of education each month on input from a committee of student leaders. It was done to keep the board better informed on student interests. Zimmerman will be graduating on May 28 and she was presented a certificate of appreciation by the MAPS board and one from the Michigan Association of School Boards for leadership. Shown (left to right) are athletic director Kenn Kott who was the adviser for the student committee, Zimmerman, and superintendent Ron Stoneman.

The Manistee Area Board of Education honored student board representative Allie Zimmerman for two years of service in that role. Zimmerman and fellow student Sarah Sheathelm would report to the board of education each month on input from a committee of student leaders. It was done to keep the board better informed on student interests. Zimmerman will be graduating on May 28 and she was presented a certificate of appreciation by the MAPS board and one from the Michigan Association of School Boards for leadership. Shown (left to right) are athletic director Kenn Kott who was the adviser for the student committee, Zimmerman, and superintendent Ron Stoneman.

MANISTEE — The Manistee Area Public (MAPS) Schools Board of Education members made it very clear Wednesday evening they see the value of continued collaboration between the area school districts.

However, they made it just as clear they are not interested in signing a resolution or document that would enter the district into the Exploring Education Committee that is discussing collaborative efforts between schools right on up to possible consolidation.

That document was submitted to the MAPS board by Onekama Consolidated School Board President Sally Koon for consideration. The document previously was signed by Onekama, Kaleva Norman Dickson, Bear Lake, CASMAN school districts and the Manistee Intermediate School District.

Superintendent Ron Stoneman told the board he felt the MAPS board had three options. They could pass the resolution, not pass it or state they are not interested the resolution at this time but are always interested in collaboration between the districts.

Board member Paul Antal explained what he felt was the board’s position.

“We need to do what is best for our schools,” he said. “We are focused on us, but we are also focused on the community as a whole, as that is important. We have lots of different things going on in our school system, so I think we have made it clear with our willingness to collaborate with systems in our district. However, specifically putting time and resolutions toward it at this point seems a little preemptive.”

Antal and fellow board member Richard “Duke” Edmondson said they would like to see a letter sent back written back to Koon expressing that opinion.

“It should show our interests to collaborate, but right now signing a specific agreement is probably not in our best interests,” said Antal.

Board member Kris Thompson also felt that was the best course of action.

“I agree we should collaborate, but I don’t think we need a resolution to do it,” said Thompson.

Stoneman asked if that was the feeling of the board to express those feelings in a letter and send it back to the Exploring Education Committee. The motion passed on a 5-0 vote of the board.

Board members also were given a preview of the possible technology purchase for this year by MAPS Director of Technology Ken Blakey-Shell. The board will take up the purchase for consideration at its May 24 meeting.

“What we are basically looking at is 200 MacBook Airs, 200 iPad Airs, 450 of the iPad Air 2 and six iPad Pros,” said Blakey-Shell. “We have been piloting the iPad Pros around with math teachers and have got some really positvie information back on those machines.”

Blakey-Shell said the Pros are a bigger iPad and they make iPad pencils that are styluses to be used with the machines so teachers could write on the screen.

“This really helps to utilize a projector in the classroom and there are a lot of things they can do with it,” he said. “That is why we are trying to expand to all the secondary math teachers. The one thing we don’t have the ability to nail down in terms of availability yet is to purchase 400 of the STM Dux Case for the iPad Airs to protect them.”

Total cost of the purchase would be $372,898 for those items.

Blakey-Shell said there would be some additional costs for the purchase of Kuzy cases for MacBook Airs and Higherground Gear Shuttle laptop cases at a total cost of $12,000 making the entire purchase this year for $384,898.

Stoneman said he wanted to offer the board members the opportunity to hold a study session or to meet with several board members at a time less than a quorum, to discuss the possible purchase.

“We could do three board members at a time if you are interested,” he said. “I want all of you to be be most informed decision makers.”

Wednesday’s meeting also saw the board honor student board representative Allie Zimmerman for her service in that capacity for the past two years along with Sarah Sheathelm. Zimmerman, a senior,is graduating on May 28.

Board president Paul Wehrmeister said he appreciated the efforts of Zimmerman.

“Allie worked very hard in keeping us informed on what the students were thinking and she has led that very well and we have been very pleased to had her here at every meeting,” he said.

Stoneman was joined by Athletic Director Kenn Kott who oversaw the student committee in presenting Zimmerman with certificates or appreciation for her efforts the past two years.

“We have a letter of appreciation signed by myself and the board president and we also have a certificate from the Michigan Association of School Boards for leadership.”

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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