New optimism at IM Schools

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

– Norman Vincent Peale

Iron Mountain School District officials are changing their thoughts.

With the school district facing a deficit budget, they are emphasizing the positive.

Supt. Tom Jayne recently highlighted some of the positive changes the school has made at the end of the school year, as well as what’s planned for the upcoming school year.

“We listened to parents, staff and the community and have made some great additions to the curriculum next year. We have also reinstated K-12 busing with no added cost to the school district along with no staff layoffs at this point. We have a lot of things that are positive moving forward,” Jayne said at a recent school board meeting.

One of the plans for the 2014-15 school year is to partner with local businesses and Bay College. Jayne said that they are working with Bay to come to Iron Mountain High School to teach psychology and English composition.

“At this time, it looks very positive. Bay will work with us and come on campus even if we don’t have the mandatory 13 students they state they need in order to offer this on campus. If we have 9-10 students, they may still come during the day,” he said.

There will also be two sections available during the day for students to go to Bay as well. If needed, the school will even provide transportation

Additionally, Jayne said that they are advertising the sale of the Central School and 13 acres of land the district owns east of North Elementary School to help solve some of the district’s budget problems.

Enrollment predictions for the next five years still show declines for the school district.

Jayne, however, is not defeated.

“Anything we can do to maintain the current enrollment of 870 and add 50-60 new students could solve the financial and contractual challenges in the upcoming fiscal year,” Jayne said.

If this was accomplished, he said, it would solve the district’s debt problems and they wouldn’t have to implement any salary reductions.

“We are working hard behind the scenes to stabilize us and add to our numbers. I encourage our staff and public to concentrate on the positives that are taking place within the district this summer and next school year so we can all move forward in a united stance to attain our goals.”

Iron Mountain Schools supporter Katie Maxon agreed.

Addressing the parents and students at the meeting, she asked them to stay with the school district.

“Pulling your child from this district hurts the opportunity of every other student,” she said.

Maxon, who has children attending Iron Mountain Schools, said the school has incredible teachers who are dedicated to giving children the best possible education and they should give them the chance to do that.

“If you leave and your $7,000-plus per child leaves with you, you have sealed the fate of the remaining students here. Please, I’m begging you to give Iron Mountain a fighting chance to fix itself. Keep your students enrolled here and get involved to help make the change you want to see.”

Instead of cutting salaries, Maxon suggested lobbying legislature for more funding.

“I think we need to fight for this, just as we fought for and changed other important issues that impacted our district, because we truly are the place to succeed,” she said.

School Board President Jeff Michaud endorsed the positive approach.

“I think we need more positive statements like we heard tonight. We have a great district and we need to continue to highlight it and focus on all we have to offer here,” he said.

So will this new enthusiastic attitude get results?

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

– Winston Churchill