2017-05-17 / Front Page

Marlette board offers buyout

20 teachers could qualify

Sarah Barratt Sarah Barratt MARLETTE — Marlette Community Schools will be offering teachers a separation agreement in the amount of $15,000. The agreement will come in the form of a tax-favored retirement plan designed for school employees, with recipients able to make additional contributions.

“We like our teachers and it will definitely be a ‘brain drain,’” said Superintendent Sarah Barratt.

“We need five employees to take the buyout to make it work. It will represent a cost savings to the district for at least the next five years. At least five teachers need to take the buyout or it will be withdrawn.”

Twenty employees may qualify for the separation offer, according to Barratt. Teachers must be eligible for retirement or be at Step 17 of the pay scale to qualify.

The board approved the agreement on a 3-2 vote with two members absent. Board members Janet Mutch and Gina Kraft voted no.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, board President Mark Huggett and other members thanked the district’s teachers for their hard work “day in and day out.”

Barratt added, “Teaching is the one profession that makes all other professions possible.”

Interim Junior/Senior High School Principal Anne Wood reported that teacher Melanie Robinson would receive the STRIPES award at the May 15 ISD board meeting after being nominated by students and parents for making a positive impact on education.

In attendance at the board meeting was 10-year-old Kristanna Van Etten, who recently donated $1,000 to

B.C.U.P.S., a program that helps uninsured women secure mammograms. In lieu of receiving gifts for her birthday, the 10-year-old raised money for B.C.U.P.S.

“It’s really hard to imagine a 10-year-old to think beyond herself,” said Huggett. Other board members also offered praise and gratitude to Kristanna for her generosity and selflessness.

Honored by the board was art teacher Sarah Opperman. This was the second time in two years Opperman has received the Shining Star Award. She was praised for her creative projects, hard work and efforts to make a superior art program at Marlette.

Chartwell will continue to provide food service to Marlette Schools. The board approved a one-year contract. The program is “up” in numbers at the high school but “down” at the elementary. Efforts will be made to understand why fewer elementary students are participating and to improve the situation.

Marlette Schools and Our Savior Lutheran School will join together for student accounting. Changes in the Michigan Department of Education Pupil Accounting will alter the district’s relationship with the Lutheran school in Marlette. Kindergarten students are now eligible for shared-time services. Barratt indicated it will be “a win” for both schools as additional funding is captured from the state but it will also involve “lots of paperwork.”

The board was addressed by special education student Hunter Rye, who felt that graduating special needs students were ignored as far as receiving information relating to senior meetings and activities. The board looked toward Principal Anne Wood, who said, “We’ll have to do better.”

Parent Roger Wilcox also addressed the board, with questions about his child being suspended. He felt his child was punished with no evidence and claimed he was never consulted about a closed meeting to discuss the issue. Wilcox said he could not appeal the suspension because no evidence was presented against which he could appeal. The board did not respond to his complaints.

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