2012-07-19 / Front Page

Program to return for year

Successful pilot lands Emeralds’ ‘Little Explorers’ a second run

MANISTIQUE – A pilot preschool/daycare program will be returning to the Manistique Area School District this fall. Based on its semester-long trial period in the spring, the “Little Explorers Program” was approved to run for entire 2012-13 school year during Monday’s meeting of the MAS Board of Education.

The Explorers program was originally approved as a pilot in November 2011. It debuted in January 2012 with a group of 20 students, consisting of 3 and 4 year olds, according to Superintendent Kathy McDonough. The students attended from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m., with a daycare service offered in the afternoon until 5:30 p.m. Both the daycare and preschool program were tuition-based, with a rate of $1 per hour, she added.

This time around, things will remain the same, explained McDonough, however, the school is looking at one possible tweak to the program.

“They (Erik Mason, Emerald Elementary principal and Giannine Perigo, board vice president) had wanted to consider splitting out the 3-year-olds in this next round, because they felt they just could not make as many academic achievements with the two ages mixed together,” she said. “If we do that, then our initial round of thinking was we would be giving up our daycare portion, but he’s working on doing something there.”

McDonough suggested the board approve a fullyear budget of $12,000 for the program, noting their first year indicated this would be an appropriate amount.

“Last year, we had revenue of $8,032 … we had expenses of $12,373,” she said. “So there was a net cost to the district, in that time frame, of $4,142.”

The total expected net cost to the district for a full year would be $8,284, McDonough added, though the program will need a few extra items this time around.

“There is a need for more supplies then were garnered last year,” she explained. “Also, the advertising for the program came out of the board’s advertising line, as a pilot. Now, if it’s going to run as its own program, it needs its own advertising line.”

According to McDonough, the program has 25 students with completed enrollment packets thus far, with six packets still unreturned.

The board unanimously approved to continue the Little Explorers Program, removing the “pilot” title, and allotting a $12,000 budget to the program.

“We did pretty well; we did very well,” Perigo said. “I think the more students we get, the less our out-of-pocket expenses are.”

Those interested in the Little Explorers Program can contact Principal Erik Mason at 341-4332.

In other business, the board also unanimously approved a list of teachers to recall in the case of openings within the district. These teachers, currently laid off, would be called back, in order, if an opening should arise.

“ Currently, there are five teachers on recall:

Mr. (George) McClinchy, Mrs. (Beth) Nelson, Logan Carlson, Christine Partyka, and Mandy Spettel,” McDonough said. “We have a retirement at Emerald, Kathy Brown’s, to fill, so we do need an extra teacher at that level.”

The board unanimously approved to send a recall notice to Carlson to fill Brown’s position, as well as to use the list for any other vacant teaching positions.

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