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Chelsea School Board OK’s New Superintendent Contract; Site Change for New Athletic Building

By Crystal Hayduk

Mike Kapolka’s first day on the job as superintendent of the Chelsea School District will be Aug. 1.

At the meeting on July 25, Chelsea School Board Vice-President Eric Wilkinson said Kapolka’s start date allows him to “…hit the ground running before the … students and teachers all come back. It will be very helpful for him to get grounded before being overwhelmed with the day-to-day.

“I think we came together with a reasonable agreement,” said Wilkinson of Kapolka’s proposed contract with the district.

The board approved the contract during the meeting. No details were discussed at the meeting; however, Board President Jason Eyster released the contract to the press the following day.

The contract, effective Aug. 1, 2022 through June 30, 2025, gives Kapolka a starting base annual compensation of $155,000. Superintendent evaluations will take place annually by March 31.

Kapolka will also receive health and life insurance, merit pay for effective and highly effective ratings respectively, and annuity contributions. A longevity supplement will begin in 2023-24.

Additionally, the contract calls for the district to cover the superintendent’s membership dues for the American Association of School Administrators, the Michigan Association of School Administrators, and two additional professional organizations pre-approved by the board; and continuing education reimbursement for up to two courses a year relevant to the position.

The contract can be viewed as an agenda attachment here.

At the close of Superintendent Julie Helber’s final report to the board prior to her retirement, she thanked the board for their service and for supporting her during her six years as superintendent. “I also want to thank all of our staff across the district,” she said. “This has been a phenomenal district to work in and I’m so proud to have been here for the last six years to see the things that we’ve been able to accomplish together.”

She thanked the administrative team, “…wonderful people with huge hearts and all of them have their eye on kids all the time … and they’re looking for the best for them.

“I love Chelsea,” said Helber, in her thanks to the community. “I can’t wait to watch what happens next. I wish Mr. Kapolka the best in his career here.”

The board approved the site modification for the fundraised multi-use indoor athletic building. It was initially planned to be constructed near Pierce Lake Elementary School, but due to problems with the location, the building will be constructed near the Washington Street Education Center (WSEC).

Prior to construction, the board will need to approve the architectural renderings. (Related story here: https://chelseaupdate.com/chelsea-school-board-approves-budget-athletic-building-update/.)

The board heard a proposal for the purchase of sound systems for the outdoor athletic fields. A line item allocating $90,000 for audio enhancement at the football stadium was written into the bond. Helber commended Brad Bush, athletic director, for obtaining a bid from Rauland SoundCom for the hardware and installation of audio equipment to upgrade the sound systems at not only the football stadium, but also the baseball, softball, and soccer stadiums, for $87, 315. The board is expected to vote on the proposal at their next meeting.       

A recording of this relatively short meeting, including public comment, will be available for viewing for one month at https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Agenda/911?meeting=539055.

In other board news:

Two community members spoke during the opportunity for public comment. One stated his appreciation for both the outgoing and incoming superintendents and the school board. The other questioned the absence of a program for gifted students at early grade levels, and her hopes for the district’s future under new leadership.

The board commended Helber for “six years of effective leadership of the Chelsea School District.”

Upcoming date:

The next board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 8 in the board room at the Washington Street Education Center. 

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