September 18, 2014

Bay-Arenac meeting has districts planning on countywide services for next school year

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BAY CITY — A meeting with all school boards and superintendents from Arenac and Bay counties on Dec. 7 at the Bay County Country Club could lead to countywide transportation and professional development days in the 2010-11 school year.

Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District Superintendent Michael Dewey said out of 37 board members voting on 16 options the BAISD proposed at the two-county meeting, the two aforementioned items garnered lopsided support.

“The countywide transportation, we’re moving forward on that,” he said. “Our commitment is next year, all the special education programs’ transportation will be handled by the school districts other than an outside group.”

Currently, Dewey said district busses are often stopping at homes to pick up students for school, while Arenac Opportunities or Bay-Metro pick up students enrolled in special education programs from the same homes. He said the BAISD pays $450,000 a year for bussing from non-school district transportation services.

“We’re going to be rolling those numbers back into our local school districts,” he said.

He gave an example of the current bussing system for special education students.

“In AuGres, they’re coming from the East and taking students to a program in Pinconning. Why can’t they just pick up a student in Standish going to the same program?” Dewey said. “You may see a Standish bus in AuGres (next year). … We’re mapping out the entire two counties just like one school district.

“We’re just trying to be efficient as possible,” Dewey added.

When it comes to professional development days, Dewey said that by having the BAISD hold the training days for all the districts in the county at once, schools could close down for a day, similar to single-district in-service days, and prevent the districts from scrambling and competing for substitute teachers.

Some of the other cost-cutting options superintendents and school board members voted on, though, didn’t garner a lot of support.

Dewey said the option of districts sharing superintendents and reducing/eliminating athletics were pretty much split amongst the voters.

“The fact that all of these districts had to come together to discuss these questions shows us where we are in funding schools,” said AuGres-Sims Superintendent Anne Doriean. “One of the things I appreciated about the meeting was that instead of every district for itself … this is one for all and all for one.”

Dewey added a similar meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 2010 to follow-up on the Dec. 7 topics that the board members and administrators discussed.

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