September 19, 2014

AE, AGS joint board meeting to be held Jan. 26

By Tim Barnum
Staff writer
Posted

TWINING — The Boards of Education representing the Arenac Eastern School District (AE) and AuGres-Sims School District (AGS) will hold a cooperative meeting on Jan. 26 at the Arenac Eastern High School gymnasium to inform the public on the prospects of the districts consolidating or annexing portions of one district into the other.

Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District Superintendent Mike Dewey will make the presentation on consolidation and annexation during the meeting.

Superintendents of both districts say the meeting should be of the utmost interest to the respective communities the schools serve, since members of those communities will ultimately decide whether or not the districts consolidate or annex services.

“I think it’s extremely important so if it comes to a vote, they (community) have the knowledge to know what consolidation means or what annexation means,” said AGS Superintendent Gary Marchel.

“Both Boards will be out on the floor, both superintendents,” added AE Superintendent Rocky Aldrich. “The accurate information will lead to a better decision by the community.”

And since both communities and districts will be represented, the administrators are hoping for a large turnout.

“It may be 20, 30 (people), it may be 150 to 200,” Aldrich said. “We’re literally going to sit the community in the bleachers. … We want to encourage everyone to come out.

“Bottom line, we have to do what’s right for the kids.”

“I think it’s going to be a packed house,” Marchel added.

However, unlike other Board meetings, there will not be time set aside for public comment, but those in attendance can still offer up inquiries regarding the issues.

“We’re going to allow parents to write questions on three by five cards or some piece of paper and we’re going to take those back to our boards,” Marchel said.

As for questions, Marchel and Aldrich have heard not a lot yet.

Marchel says the majority of questions regarding the issue have actually been about this upcoming meeting on Jan. 26. He says people have asked, “What are they going to talk about? Is this (Jan. 26) the date for sure because we’re tried tentative dates and they’ve kind of bounced around.”

“A few community members have asked about it,” Aldrich said. “Teachers are concerned and asked some questions as well.”

Even though the questions or comments haven’t been piling up in the superintendents’ inboxes, they said they believe there are plenty of them.

“I haven’t seen or heard any questions, but I’ve gotten questions from the board,” Marchel said, adding these were relayed to him by board members, who heard them from residents.

Aldrich added he believes the questions will flow more frequently after the joint meeting.

“I have not personally known anyone to speak out strongly for or against it,” he said. “I believe they’re waiting.”

The AE Superintendent says he and Marchel will also make a presentation that will focus on projected district enrollments from 2009-2013 during the meeting.

“Basically we’re going to show a trend of what enrollments have been in the past and what they’re projected to be in the next three or four years,” Aldrich said. “Usually they’ve (enrollment projections) been right on the money.”

The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. For more information, call 989-867-4231 (AE) or 989-876-7157 (AGS).

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