2009-09-13 / Viewpoints

Chalk Talk

By Donald Barnes Superintendent Chesaning Union Schools

Chesaning Union Schools opened Tuesday, September 8, 2009 with approximately 1775 students attending. We plan to have an exciting and productive school year. All members of the community are encouraged to visit all buildings, attend as many functions as possible, and offer ideas to make your schools even better.

Chesaning has many dedicated and qualified employees who help make this institution stand out as a successful school district. This year we have hired the following ten new employees:

Amy Darling -- Middle School vocal music Heidi LaClair -- 5th grade

Jodie Mohrhardt -- Middle School art

Krystle Niewiadomski -- High School Special Education

Jeremy Reiber -- Compass Learning

Amanda Reynolds -- Big Rock Early Elementary Special Education

Jessica Rich -- Middle School 5 & 6 Special Education

Janelle Ritter -- Brady Elementary Literacy Coach

Kyle Robinson -- High School PE/Health

Dawn Steffes -- High School Special Education

In addition, Robert Paris is the new High School Principal and Melinda Soule is the new Middle School Assistant Principal and K-8 Curriculum Director.

We plan to add new rooms at Big Rock this year and close Brady and Albee next year. I did not want to close these buildings, however, declining enrollment, increased costs, and the expense of repairing these buildings resulted in this decision. I hope the community will understand and endorse this change.

The addition and renovations of Big Rock Elementary School will cost approximately 2.8 million dollars and will be financed without additional tax dollars. We are fortunate to be in good financial shape and our four-year union contracts have been reasonable enough to enable the district to pay for the project by making the payments from General Fund dollars.

We realize that many families are experiencing difficult financial times and the Board of Education has made some changes to student fees for the 2009-2010 school year. Pay to play for athletes has been eliminated and parking fees for High School students has been eliminated. By showing their student ID, admission to home athletic contests will be free to our students. Elementary students when accompanied by an adult may enter without a charge. Hopefully, more students and parents will be able to attend these events. Also, we may be able to provide student accident insurance at no charge.

Program changes include the addition of Art at the Middle School and the possibility of adding a health program including a school nurse in the near future. Next year we will be adding Art to the elementary program.

Please feel free to contact me with your comments at the office at 989-845-7020, x 1007 or at home at 989-292-4168.

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