Esky schools prepare to fill vacancy

ESCANABA – The Escanaba School Board continued its preparation to fill an upcoming board vacancy at Monday’s school board meeting.

Board Vice-President Nicole Dewar-Braun expressed her intent to resign from her position during the school board’s regular meeting in November.

At that time, Dewar-Braun indicated she had anticipated to serve only a four-year term, but a change to state law regarding school board elections had extended the length of her term.

Dewar-Braun began serving the district on July 1, 2009. Her final day on the board will be Dec. 31.

The district has been seeking applicants to fill the remaining year of Dewar-Braun’s position. Any U.S. citizen 18 years or older who is a registered elector of the district and would not have a conflict of interest in the position is eligible to apply.

The board has also created a list of additional qualifications for the position, which were approved during the meeting. Some of these include: the ability to put children first; having no personal or political agenda; providing leadership; appreciating diversity; knowing educational policy; understanding budget and finance; demonstrating integrity; and understanding community outreach.

The deadline for applications is Jan. 6 at 4 p.m.

Applications can be sent to Escanaba Area Public Schools, 1500 Ludington St., Escanaba, MI, 49829.

“We have four people so far that have expressed an interest in this position,” said Board President Jim Hermans during the meeting.

Additionally, the school board discussed and finalized their timeline to fill the position.

The school board will hold a meeting Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. to review the candidates and narrow down questions to ask them in an interview. The board will also elect officers for the coming year during this meeting.

Then on Jan. 13 at 6 p.m., an open interview of candidates will take place and the board will vote for who they believe should fill the vacancy.

During the school board’s regular meeting Jan. 20 at 6 p.m., the new member will be seated and the board will make committee assignments.

All meetings will be held in the Courtyard Room at Escanaba Upper Elementary School.

Board members also unanimously approved the self-funding of boys’ tennis for the 2014 school year at Monday’s meeting. The boys’ tennis program had been eliminated this year due to budget cuts and will now join gymnastics, another sport that faced elimination, using the self-funding model.

“It’s a sport that’s supported,” said Athletic Director Dave Wilson at the meeting. “There’s a lot of kids in the sport – a lot of boys. Tennis is a very popular sport for boys and girls.”

According to Escanaba Superintendent Michele Lemire, the funding of boys’ tennis will be accomplished through fund-raising and donations. Approximately 40 students participate in the sport.

In other business, the board:

– presented a plaque to Dewar-Braun to commemorate her years of service on the school board.

– presented certificates to Esky 150 Trees project coordinator Marilyn Kinsey and renowned Ph.D. horticulturist Dave Gafner for their contributions in the planning and planting of more than 70 trees and 50 shrubs within the school district in the past two years.

– approved the 2013-14/2014-15 contract agreement with the Escanaba branch of the Michigan Education Support Personnel Association (MESPA). The two-year agreement provides a 25 cents per hour wage increase for MESPA employees in 2013-14 and a 10 cents per hour wage increase in 2014-15 for MESPA members hired before July 1, 2014. The costs of the increase will be paid for over time with savings rendered from implementing a different wage scale for new hires.

– recalled Jamie Pirlot to serve as an itinerant teacher for K-3 technology, effective Jan. 6.

– approved hiring of Melinda Kallio as the two-hour noon hour supervisor at Lemmer Elementary School.