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By Crystal Hayduk

The Chelsea School District Board of Education approved several projects at their meeting on Feb. 12. Jeff Burch, project manager with Clark Construction Company, provided information and answered questions prior to the board’s final vote.

The board accepted the bid from Astro Turf for the synthetic field turf project. The cost of $504,031 will be paid with sinking funds.

The board also accepted the bid from Best Asphalt, who will repave the entrance drive at the Washington Street Education Center and the track. The total cost for both of these projects will be $550,000. Pavement costs will be covered through bond funds; track costs will be covered through sinking funds.

Superintendent Julie Helber said that in simple terms, sinking funds cover repair projects, whereas bond funds cover replacement projects.

Chelsea School District was named an Academic State Champ for 2018 by Bridge Magazine. Through research conducted by Stanford University, the honor is based on the grade level progression of students between third and eighth grades.

Chelsea is ranked in the top ten among mid-sized schools. For more information, visit http://www.bridgemi.com/talent-education/academic-state-champs-top-10-mid-sized-michigan-school-districts-growth.

Groups of fifth-graders presented a concert to highlight the fifth-grade music program, in which students choose either band, orchestra, or vocal music. South Meadows Elementary School Principal Stacie Battaglia introduced the concert as “… the unofficial debut of the music students,” who have only begun practicing in their focus areas in late September.

“We’re proud of what they can do, even at this young age,” she said.

Orchestra students played with supervision by Nathan Peters, choir students sang under the direction of Andrea Miller, and band students were conducted by Katie Steklac.    

During the opportunity for public input, parent Kristi Cook addressed the board about issues with the Chelsea High School Theatre Guild. She said that students who participate in theatre do not feel emotionally supported by the district or teachers, which results in increased “chaos and negativity.” Cook said that the program lacks financial support from the district as well, and has had four different directors in recent years. She also cited safety problems in the shop that are not being addressed. “[Compared to sports] … it seems there is an aversion to supporting the theatre program in the district,” said Cook.

In other board news:
Board member Kristin van Reesema said she’s learned through attendance at legislative meetings that Michigan schools are still underfunded by about $2,000 per student. “The governor’s recent budget proposal is going in the right direction, but it’s not sufficient,” she said. Community members may contact their representatives to share their thoughts on the budget.

The board thanked Battaglia for hosting the meeting at South Meadows. They also thanked the district’s paraprofessionals in honor of paraprofessional recognition week, Jan. 22-26, 2018. Board President Anne Mann thanked them “… for their hard work and dedication to the children in the school district.”

Helber thanked the operations department for their many hours of work keeping the district parking lots and sidewalks clear during the recent snowstorm.

Upcoming dates:
There will be no school Feb. 16-19 for Presidents’ Weekend.

The next school board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 at Chelsea High School, 740 North Freer Road.

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