2005-05-27 / Top News

School Gets 1st ‘Saving Paradise’ Payment

By Leslie Rott

As Mackinac Island Public School students look forward to the approach of summer, the Mackinac Island Board of Education still has plenty on its plate. At its Thursday, May 19 meeting, the board accepted its first payment from the “Saving Paradise” fund in the amount of $53,797, a large portion of the $84,546 the school will receive from the fund this year.

The “Saving Paradise” fund is part of the state aid bill that was passed last September to supplement state education funds at small, geographically isolated districts who operate grades kindergarten through 12th grade, have fewer than 250 students, and meet at least one of the following conditions: the district is located in the Upper Peninsula at least 30 miles from another public school, or the district is located on an island, which is not accessible by a bridge.

Superintendent Jack Dehring updated the board on potential sports season changes that could be dictated by a court case against the Michigan High School Athletic Association. Mr. Dehring told the board that the Supreme Court has asked that the case be looked at again in the lower courts but said that several other small schools have decided to offer after-school or intramural basketball programs so that girls will have the opportunity to play basketball. Mr. Dehring said that Mackinac Island Public School is considering taking similar action, however, he later told The Town Crier that many girls at Mackinac Island Public School have said they would not be interested in playing basketball, even if there was a team for them to play on.

“We’ll see what happens” in the courts, he said.

Mr. Dehring also updated the board on the status of the special education position that is available at Mackinac Island Public School. Twenty applications for the position were received, but after three interviews, the position was again posted and will be posted through the middle of June.

The board approved the general fund budget of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District, which serves the school districts of Bois Blanc Island, Brimley, DeTour, Engadine, Les Cheneaux in Cedarville, Mackinac Island, Moran Township, Pickford, Rudyard, Saint Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, Tahquamenon at Newberry, and Whitefish Township at Paradise.

Voting on the general fund budget of the ISD is now required by the state, and all local districts are required to take part. Before voting on the budget, several representatives from ISD gave a short presentation as to why Mackinac Island Board of Education should approve the general fund budget.

Including Mackinac Island, every district has approved the ISD’s general fund budget, except Sault Ste. Marie.

“The Sault Board was sending a message to our board,” said ISD Assistant Superintendent for Special Education Susan Kabat.

Mr. Dehring said that, although he was required to alert the Mackinac Island School Board about the rejection by Sault St. Marie, he said the Sault board rejected the general fund budget because it disagreed with the Co-op and Special Education budgets, which shouldn’t have been a consideration. They were, he said, only supposed to be voting on the general fund budget.

“I’m very comfortable with the ISD budget,” he told the board.

After voting on the ISD general fund budget, school board voted on who would represent them at the ISD board election, which will be held on Monday, June 6. School Board President Ben Mosley was appointed the representative for Mackinac Island and trustee Jason St. Onge was appointed alternate.

Mr. Dehring drew the board’s attention to three new benches adjacent to the playground, which were built and donated to the school by the Blacksmiths of Mac Carey Blacksmith Guild.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2005-05-27 digital edition