MAPS board continues discussion on old high school building

MANISTEE — Manistee Area Public Schools officials continue to work on a process that they hope will include the demolition of the old high school building located behind Kennedy Elementary Schools on Sixth Street.

Members of the Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education listen to a report on the old high school building.

Superintendent Ron Stoneman updated the board of education this week on the status of that process that is being worked on by a facility committee.

“We plan on meeting with the board and the facility group at our next workshop,” said Stoneman. “On Jan. 23 we would like to run the board through that process and provide you with the information on what we have received thus far and talk with the board about it at our study session.”

The process is moving forward according to Stoneman. He said they have conducted and planned other meetings with the staff, community members and an external stakeholder group.

“We really are gaining some serious momentum in this process at this point,” said Stoneman.

Board president Dr. Paul Antal said that the process has also included for the board a historical look at bond proposals and facilities that he said board members have found to be helpful.

“Even for us board members who have kind of been through a lot of this and that history, we were missing a lot of that and it was very informative for us too,” said Antal.

Stoneman said they are looking at it in a 20/20 format with the 20 years that have led up to this point with the district and the plan for 20 years related to their facilities and to their overall vision for the district.

“When we start talking to external stakeholders they really related to that conversation and getting their thoughts on what education in this community should look like and needs to look like moving forward,” said Stoneman. “But facilities are definitely part of that conversation.”

Stoneman also gave the board an update on the MCOE 2020 meetings that MAPS participates in with other school districts in Manistee County.

“In our superintendent’s meeting this week we finalized the conversation that MCOE 2020 has in relationship to Launch Manistee,” said Stoneman. “I am part of the Launch Manistee Leadership team and we are meeting on Jan. 22 to talk about what that relationship looks like between MCOE 2020 and Launch Manistee. We are just interested in moving that forward.”

Stoneman said they aren’t attempting to take over Launch, but just want to be associated with some of their goals and objectives because it is heavily related to the students in Manistee County.

“It looks like a good avenue for MCOE 2020 to at least be informed on the objectives of Launch Manistee,” said Stoneman. “Launch has kind of stalled in ways and is looking for direction. It doesn’t have to be there for everything for MCOE 2020, but it is a good place to be associated with Launch and understanding their objectives in moving forward. That is kind of what the superintendents relayed back to Launch and their leadership is going to take that information and start processing that on Jan. 22.”

Business manager Howard Vaas delivered a report on finances for the district until the end of December.

“It goes midway through our fiscal year, but school business is kind of odd in we don’t get our first state payment until October,” said Vaas. “We are approaching tax collection time, so a little bit of taxes are trickling in for December and will really pick up in January and February.”

He said at this time of the fiscal year they are at about one-third of their expenditures even though they are halfway through the year.

“The biggest part of our expenditures is people and those get accrued during the summer, so things always look skewed  through the halfway point of the year,” he said.

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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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