One county-wide school district?


Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN – The Iron Mountain School District approved a request from a community committee at Monday’s meeting specifically to investigate a community-wide school district.

The committee will put forth $25,000 to cover legal fees, an opinion study and community study as it would relate to a community school district.

Iron Mountain School Board President Jeff Michaud said Bill Verrette, chairman of Champion Inc., is spearheading this initiative that seeks to explore the opinions on this issue in Dickinson County.

Approval was given by the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District Board of Education at its meeting on April 9, on this request. This allowed the request to be brought to the four school district boards of education in Dickinson County – Iron Mountain, Breitung Township, Norway-Vulcan and North Dickinson.

The community committee will hire an outside company to investigate the opinions of residents about a county-wide school district.

“He wants to stress that this is just an opinion study and not a feasibility study. The goal is to see if the community is interested and if it warrants any further study,” Michaud said.

The approval by the ISD board allowed the same request to come before the individual school districts in Dickinson County.

“In no way do we have any financial commitment associated with this request. There is no commitment from any of the school districts in Dickinson County. It is coming from this community committee,” Michaud added.

He noted that in Verrette’s letter to the editor in The Daily News on March 17, he said that the “four school districts should be merged into one system giving the students the best possible educational opportunity.

It was his opinion that this should be done given that there were less than 3,000 K-12 students in Dickinson County.

At Monday’s meeting, the board also heard a report from Jim Ebli, the project manager for the school’s bond projects from Gundlach Champion. Ebli said that the projects consisted of four bid packages with the first two already completed. They are now starting on the third bid package, which will include work at East Elementary in the area of mechanical and electric.

They are starting with the mechanical work in the tunnel and boiler room and the rest will start when school is out for the summer. The work in the third bid package will be completed by August.

The fourth bid package concerns mainly the high school building and some outlying buildings. Last week, the mandatory bid meeting was held with more than 27 contractors attending. There will seven different bids including general trades and roofing at North, East and high school buildings, floors and ceilings at the high school, mechanicals at the high school, electrical work at the high school and mechanical controls at the high school, administration building and East Elementary School.

A special board meeting will be held on April 30, to award the recommended bids.

The first phase of work in the high school building starts in June on D, C, and part of B floors. Phase 2 work at the high school includes A floor and part of B floor as well as the auditorium. This work starts in June 2015 and will be completed by August 2015.

Supt. Tom Jayne asked Ebli specifically what the work being done this summer at the high school will entail.

Ebli said that there will be minor renovation work on D Floor, moving offices from C to B Floor to renovate the east end of the high school. The bathrooms on C Floor will be augmented this summer and the new bathrooms on B Floor next summer. He added that the electrical work to put the buzz-in security system in all district buildings will be completed this summer.

In other action, the board:

– Amended the board motion from Feb. 10 concerning the dispensing of the sale of real property of the rental property owned by the school district to include that Jayne as superintendent and Michaud as board president have the authority to execute the sale of real property. Jayne said that this was a technicality and something the buyer’s bank and title company needed to complete the sale.

– Approved the operating millage resolution that will be on the August ballot. The 18 mills on non-Homestead property is a rate set from the 1994 Proposal A and is up for renewal. This would be a renewal of the current operating millage that goes again to the voters for approval.

Linda Lobeck’s e-mail address is