Manistique schools reinstates band director

MANISTIQUE – The Manistique Area School Board took action to reinstate a part-time band director position and change school lunch prices at its meeting Monday night.

“It’s no secret that this has been long-awaited, desired, wanted,” said District Superintendent Kathy McDonough of the reinstatement of the band director position.

The position is available due to some retirements in the district and financial shifting which opened up a half-time position in the general fund.

“It’s not going to be an easy road but if it’s something that we want, then it’s something that we’re going to have to work on it. I think it’s vital that we bring it back,” said Middle and High School Principal John Shiner.

The part-time band director will be teaching three band sections. Twenty-eight high school students have signed up for band so far.

“It’s not going to be easy. It might take a couple years to get it going. Hopefully, we can get the right person on board,” said Shiner.

While the board expressed pleasure at reinstating the band director position, they were less enthusiastic when approving an increase to the cost of hot lunches in the district.

The increase will raise the cost of hot lunches by 25 cents per meal, and was required to meet new state requirements.

“This is the most involved the state’s gotten with the lunch prices but I think what they’re trying to eliminate in schools across the state are both extremes – either the general fund subsidizing food service by a lot or food service profiting by a lot,” said District Business Manager Donna Winkel. “So they’ve come up with this formula that pretty much tells us … what we have to charge for our lunch.”

According to the formula, the district is required to charge an average of $2.66 per meal. The 25-cent increase approved by the board brings the cost of meal for elementary students to $2.50 and a meal for middle and high school students to $2.75 to meet this requirement.

“We did increase our prices at least two years ago but that was the first increase in a long, long time. We still are low compared to the area,” noted Winkel.