September 1, 2014

Area schools thankful for tribe allocation

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ARENAC COUNTY — Four area schools will have a little extra money to spend on upgrades this winter thanks to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

On Nov. 29, the tribe allocated $677,959.06 to local government and schools during its fall 2 percent class-3 gaming revenue distribution.

Of that money, $237,285.67 was split between Arenac Eastern Schools, AuGres-Sims Schools, Pinconning Area Schools, and Standish-Sterling Schools.

Arenac Eastern received the most money, getting $95,506.51; AuGres-Sims received $45,616.38; Pinconning Area Schools received $47,493.94; and Standish-Sterling Schools received $48,668,84.

Arenac Eastern School District

Superintendent of the Arenac Eastern School District, Bill Grusecki said the district will be using the money it received to improve technology, school programs, and some school equipment.

“The largest amount of the money we received, $38,000, will go toward our (kindergarten-12th grade) music,” he said. “The arts are so important, and we want to expand that.”

Grusecki said that $17,000 will go toward upgrading technology.

“We are going to be adding (interactive white boards) in four classrooms,” he said. “Nowadays, (schools) have to be on the cutting edge of technology, and we are doing the best that we can.”

Arenac Eastern will also be upgrading desks for first-fifth grade. Grusecki said $14,000 will go to those upgrades.

Grusecki said that without the help of the tribal council and the allocation money they give, the school district would not be able to afford these upgrades.

“These additions would be impossible if we had to fund them out of our general fund,” he said.

Grusecki said that teachers write the requests for the improvements that they need. He added that he hopes the continued improvements the school has made with the help of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe will bring more students to the district.

“The money they provide makes us stronger,” he said. “I want to thank the tribe because it is a blessing to have them here.”

AuGres-Sims School District

AuGres-Sims School District Superintendent Anne Doriean said the district is very pleased to receive money from the tribe.

“It’s like being a kid on Christmas morning and opening that one big gift every time the tribe gives out the grant,” she said.

Doriean said that the use of money the district received will be focused on improving the district’s technology and energy saving equipment.

“We have a really tight budget right now,” she said. “This money will help us improve our student learning.”

Doriean said that the district purchased computers with money the tribe gave out in the spring and she added that now the school would like to expand its wireless technology.

“We want to continue to expand that process,” she said. “We are working our way toward that.”

Doriean said the school plans to get a wireless laptop cart that will be able to go from classroom-to-classroom, allowing students Internet access.

She also said the school will continue to improve its energy use.

“We have been focused on reducing our energy dependence,” Doriean said. “We are going to be changing the lights in the gym to lights that are more energy efficient.”

She said that the district is grateful the that the needs AuGres-Sims Schools matter to the tribe.

“What a thrill it is to be able to do the extra things for our students,” Doriean said.

Pinconning Area Schools

Darren Kroczaleski, superintendent of Pinconning Area Schools, said the district will use the money it was given for a number of areas.

“Our Business Service and Technology 2 class will be using the money for clothing design and developing the clothes for our school store,” he said. “We will purchase them technology to design the clothing and then produce it.”

The district will also update library software in its elementary school, add a Mac computer lab in the middle school, and will send high school art students on a tour of the Detroit Institute of Arts sometime in the spring.

“These are tough times,” Kroczaleski said. “Having this little extra helps us out.”

“The students are the real winners.”

Standish-Sterling Community Schools

Standish-Sterling Community Schools Superintendent Michael Dodge said the district has a great relationship with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and is thankful for the money given.

“We are very appreciative,” he said. “We are fortunate to have this good partnership established.”

Dodge said that the money given by the tribal council allows the district to make improvements to its schools “right now.”

“We have been able purchase a number of items that we would could not afford,” he said.

Dodge said that the district plans to purchase interactive white boards, interactive books for students, security cameras, updated equipment for special education teachers, and encyclopedia software for kindergarten through 12th grade.

“Our classes will be more interactive and more enjoyable for our students,” he said. “This (money) is the gift that keeps on giving every year. We are thankful.”

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