The Saline Board of Education sat for the first time of 2017 Tuesday at Liberty School. Incumbent Dennis Valenti and newcomers Michael McVey and Scott Hummel were sworn in by outgoing Board President Paul Hynek to begin the meeting.
The threesome, all elected for the first time in November, swore to uphold the US Constitution and the Michigan Constitution and pledged to faithfully discharge the duties of Board of Education members. After taking the pledge, they were greeted by Hynek with a handshake and applause from the audience.
When the board finally sat at the table it elected board officers. President Hynek nominated Tim Austin as President, himself ad Vice-President and Karen Delhey as Secretary. Without discussion or a call for further nominations Hynek called the question. The board voted 6-0 to approve Hynek’s nominations. Trustee Heidi Pfannes was absent. There’s little change in board leadership. Hynek and Austin switched roles and Delhey remains Secretary.
Hummel, a school teacher, replaces former Trustee Craig Hoeft, and McVey, a professor at Eastern Michigan University, replaces Alan Brilliant.
Superintendent Scot Graden credited transportation staff for their work on Tuesday morning following the overnight snow and freezing rain.
“It’s a challenging time of year. This morning was no different,” Graden said. “At 3 a.m. the snow started and there were different levels of snow and ice, particularly on the backroads. I very much appreciated their efforts,” Graden said.
Graden also credited staff who worked over the holiday break. In particular, he recognized the work of human resources staff, business office staff and operations staff.
Bid packages for year-two of the bond project could be out this week with decisions coming as early as the Feb. 14 meeting.
“If you think back to where we were last year at this time of year, we are much further ahead,” Graden said.
Board Member Remarks
Trustee Delhey commended organizers and school staff for their work on the memorial for the late Ryan Estrada, the Saline High School junior who died Dec. 10. His memorial service was held at Saline High School.
“I was very touched. So thank you for all your hard work,” Delhey said.
McVey recognized Assistant Superintendent Stephen Laatsch, who earned his doctorate in Education from Eastern Michigan University. McVey said Laatsch’s dissertation was entitled “The Relationship Between Instructional Strategies and Teacher Evaluations in Select Michigan Schools.”
Laatsch, who was at the meeting, received a round of applause the board and the audience.
The board heard a presentation on the South & West Washtenaw Consortium’s “Work-Based Learning Program.” SWWC Director Jody Gielinski and Mary Howley-Visel, Placements coordinator for the SWCC, addressed the board. Auto trades instructor Tim Timoszyk also addressed the board.
The goal of the program is to give students real-world and hands-on experience in the workplace.
The program offers students pay and credits for working co-op jobs around Saline and Washtenaw County. Most students make at least minimum wage working in agriscience, advanced manufacturing, CAD, education, culinary arts and other fields. 38 students participated in the co-op placement program last year. There are 20 students in the program (12 from Saline, 6 from Manchester, one from Milan and one from Lincoln) today.
The program will partner with universities, colleges and trade unions for a #GetHired jobs/apprenticeship program April 20.
The board went into executive session to discuss collective bargaining. The district and the Saline Education Association, representing the district’s teachers, saw their contract expire Dec. 31.
Annherst Kreitz, director of the Foundation for Saline Area Schools, invited board members and the community to attend Snowblast at Travis Pointe Country Club, Feb. 4. Kreitz said volunteers are working furiously to organize an exciting event which will feature a wine pull, games, an auction, silent auction and live DJ (Principal Brad Bezeau). Money raised during the event will benefit the foundation’s strategic grant, which is funding the creation of Hornet Hub, a next generation learning space in Saline High School. Buy tickets at http://www.supportfsas.org/snow-blast-tickets.
New Senior Center Director
During public comment new senior center director Nancy Cowan introduced herself to the board. The senior center is funded through the CARES millage, which is through the school district.
Cowan, a graduate of Michigan State University, was previously Superintendent of Recreation at the City of Novi. She also served as Recreation Manager for the Southeastern Livingston County Recreation Authority.
“I’ve been here for about 5 weeks and I’ve received a very warm welcome from everyone in Saline,” Cowan told the board.