By LINDA LOBECK
IRON MOUNTAIN - Class sizes, bond projects, and getting the buildings ready for the beginning of a new school year were all discussed during Monday's meeting of the Iron Mountain School District Board of Education.
Approximately 40 residents attended the meeting to hear what progress was being made in two vital areas - class sizes and the movement of classes to different buildings.
The first day of classes was also set for students on Tuesday, Sept. 3 and the first day for teachers on Wednesday, Aug. 28.
Katie Maxon, of 1300 Grand Boulevard Circle in Iron Mountain, again expressed he concerns to the board about the higher numbers in the lower elementary classes this year.
"The classroom sizes scare me. I just want to encourage you to look at creative ways to alleviate these numbers including pulling kids out for extra help so all the students have more interaction with staff. Please don't give up on this - continue to fight for it," Maxon said.
Board President Marv Harry expressed his appreciation for Maxon's interest in the district and for 'keeping this issue on the burner."
"The budget is always a moving target and we hear what you are saying," he said.
Maxon added her thanks for Supt. Tom Jayne meeting with the parents and providing them with updates on what is going on in the district.
Jayne also presented an update on the enrollment projections as of Aug. 9 compared to the previous projections made on May 28. At that time it was expected that there would be 941 total students in the district at the start of the 2013-14 school year.
The most recent numbers show a loss of 22 students or 2.5 percent bringing the total number of students to 919. He added that this is a fluctuating number up until the first weeks of school.
The early elementary classes, from Early Kindergarten through the third grade, will be at North Elementary School this year and the recent projections had a loss of five students from May.
The breakdown showed an increase of three students in Early Kindergarten to 20 students; increase of two students in kindergarten to 52 with two sections of 26 each; a decrease of five students in first grade to 56 with 28 students in each section; the numbers the same at 60 students in second grade for two sections of 30 students each; and a decrease of five students in third grade to 62 students for two sections of 31 students in each.
Students in grades 4-6 will be at the East Elementary School building this fall and the new numbers show a reduction in 10 students from the earlier estimates. The breakdown was 76 students in fourth grade - the same as in May with three sections of 25, 25 and 26 students; a loss of five students in the fifth grade for a total of 63 with class sizes of 32 and 31 in the two sections; and a loss of five students in the sixth grade with two sections of 31 students each.
Grades 7-8 are moving to their own floor in the high school building this year. The new numbers showed an increase of one student in the seventh grade bringing that total to 79; and a loss of one student in the eighth grade with 79 students in that grade.
A loss of seven students was seen in the high school numbers in grades 9-12 for a total of 310 students.
In the ninth grade, there was a decrease of four for a total of 76 students; no changes in the 10th grade with 75 students; an increase of one student in the 11th grade for a total of 88; and a decrease of two in the 12th grade for a total of 71 students.
At Monday's meeting, board members also received an update concerning the bond projects being completed this year as well as then plans for the two upcoming years. Representatives of the architecture firm, OHM and Gundlach Champion, the project coordinator, attended the meeting.
Jim Ebli of Gundlach Champion noted that there are now schematic designs of projects for all school buildings. The committee had met and discussed that with changes that had been made, they are $500,000 over in the budget from where they wanted to be.
The projects started at East Elementary School this summer since grades 4-6 were moving up to that building this year and some at North Elementary School for the lower elementary grades as well as behind the scenes work for the wiring for technology. The last component, he noted is in the high school and how much they will renovate the science labs.
"It all depends on how much money we have left. If we do everything on the wish list, that would put us over," Ebli said.
Jayne said that the changes made were good ones.
"With staff input, this augmented the original plans for projects. We will have to see where the bids come in first to see how much we can do," Jayne said.
A total of 225 new lockers are being installed this week at East Elementary school and should be completed by Thursday along with cabling and wiring by MJ Electric and new gym lighting.
At North, new wiring and new carpeting will be completed in the computer lab and work is just starting on putting in the new boiler, which should be done the first part of September.
Harry noted that work on the east end entry to the high school building is part of the project and will be done this year due to the condition of the stairs. This will be a handicapped accessible entrance to the school.
Plans are also in the works to move the superintendent's office to B Floor of the high school next year adding another administrator in the high school building.
Some of the plans for 2014 include replacing windows at East Elementary, heating and lighting updates with bids going out in January/February as well as the renovation work on B and C floors of the high school, bathrooms on C floor, a new boiler system at the high school, new security and accessibility at the high school and taking care of the west entry where the stairs are deteriorating.
Other work planned in 2014 includes ensuring security and access controls and improve lighting at North Elementary along with a new roof at Central School and security and access control for that building.
In the final phase in 2015, the work in the high school auditorium will occur as well as the science labs and media center at the high school, a new boiler at Central School, and work needed in the administration building where the gym and music room are located.
The board went into a closed session at the end of the meeting to discuss negotiations.
Linda Lobeck's e-mail address is email@example.com.