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Chelsea School Board approves building and site updates; hears bond committee report

Courtesy photo from Nick Angel. Matt Ceo, assistant principal at Beach Middle School, recently received the Michigan Association of Middle School Educators (MAMSE) Educator of the Year award.

By Crystal Hayduk

The Chelsea School District (CSD) Board of Education learned about building entry and site and paving improvements in a presentation by Rob Atkins of Kingscott at their meeting on March 11.

Superintendent Julie Helber said the building entry updates will be paid for through a security grant from the Michigan State Police. The grant requires that work be completed within a year.

The site and paving project at Beach Middle School consists of three phases, but only Phase I will be completed this summer. Phase I improvements include a new parking lot with a dedicated drop-off site located on A.D. Mayer Drive where the current basketball courts are.

“This will be more organized and provide more separation [of the drop-off area],” said Atkins.

Atkins said the basketball courts will be reconstructed elsewhere. The tennis courts will be protected, as will the trees that provide a wind break.

Selected members of the bond study committee presented an update to the board. Gary Munce, community committee member, said the committee’s purpose is to give input to the board about how to best use bond funds to provide students with an excellent education.

The committee is guided by the school district’s mission, vision, and goals (from the CSD website: “… prepare students to possess the skills to communicate effectively, express themselves creatively, think critically and work collaboratively to maximize their potential and meet the challenges of a global society”).

The committee meets over the course of months to assess needs, explore possibilities, and make recommendations to the board. One of the primary goals of the committee is to avoid raising any future bond millage above current levels.

Munce said that once the assessment and exploration processes are completed, the next step involves discerning the most strategic plan for moving forward to develop a combination of facilities and programs to support students and faculty.

Matt Ceo, assistant principal at Beach Middle School (BMS) and member of the bond committee said that teachers are already changing how they teach students for creating 21st century learners, but that bond funds will support and improve education.

With board members Shawn Quilter and Dana Durst absent, the board accepted the bid from the Spieker Company for interior renovations to the 500 building on the Washington Street Education Center (WSEC) campus in the amount of $257,200 in a four to one vote. Tammy Lehman was the dissenting vote.

Lehman also voted no on the bid from Clark Construction for $244,612 to oversee the site work at BMS and the WSEC 500 building remodel. Prior to the vote on the individual action item, Lehman asked if the item could be split into two separate items, because she was in favor of the site work at BMS but not in favor of the work at the 500 building.

Helber said that the bid was for both parts of the work and could not be split. The item passed four to one.

Following the meeting, Lehman said that as a board member, she is responsible to wisely spend the taxpayers’ money and she doesn’t see the need to spend money renovating a building with no immediate plans for its use.

In other board news:
The board approved the purchase of internet firewall to replace the existing 10-year-old system. The low bid from InaCOMP TSG includes the appliance, installation, and warranties for a total cost of $13,378.60. It is expected that half of the cost will be covered through a federal program, Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).

The board approved an updated wireless controller at BMS and network switch upgrades. The Vector Group won the low bid for the project at a cost of $69,667 to be paid for with a combination of federal funds (USAC) and 2016 technology bond replacement funds.

The board approved updates to social studies, art, world languages and English curriculum.

Helber announced that Joe Tinsley, instructional technology coordinator, plans to retire at the end of the school year. The district hopes to hire his replacement soon so that he can provide training prior to his retirement.

The school board made the following commendations:

Courtesy photo from Nick Angel.

Matt Ceo for receiving the Michigan Association of Middle School Educators (MAMSE) Educator of the Year award at its annual conference on March 11

Rick Boham, transportation services director, for the 15th year of receiving 100-percent ratings on bus inspections from the Michigan State Police

Chelsea High School Student Council for making $7,000 through their Mini-VictorThon on March 9 to donate to C.S. Mott and Beaumont Children’s Hospitals for pediatric rehabilitation

and senior Jacqueline Taylor for being chosen as one of three finalists in the Detroit Free Press “I Am Sport” award.

Upcoming dates:
There will be no school March 25-29 for spring break.

The next board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on April 8 at Chelsea High School, 740 North Freer Road.

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