MARQUETTE - As the school year begins to wind to a close, the Marquette school board and district administration hope to begin work on a long term grade configuration, and are looking to the community for help.
In a plan approved by the board at its March 26 meeting, a temporary plan was adopted that moves this year's third-graders from Superior Hills Elementary School to Bothwell Middle School for their fourth-grade year. In addition, this year's Cherry Creek Elementary School fourth-graders will stay at Cherry Creek for their fifth-grade year.
The new configuration is meant to help alleviate the overflow of students at Superior Hills.
Also presented to the board was a long-term configuration idea that would make all elementary schools kindergarten through third grade, Bothwell fourth through sixth grade and Marquette Senior High School seventh through 12th grade.
Though the plan was discussed, no board action was taken.
Marquette Area Public Schools Superintendent Deb Veiht said now that the district has a temporary plan in place that will provide space for all students in the district, the board can begin working on formulating a balanced budget for next year, then on a long-term district configuration.
A configuration committee comprised of a variety of stakeholders in the district will be formed in the coming months to develop a proposal.
Veiht said the long term idea offered at the March 26 board meeting can be used as a starting point for the committee.
"It's like building something," Veiht said. "We've got the basement in that we know can support a structure. Now, we're going to get a look at what else can we add to that and change it to make it different.
"The long term plan is not the district's plan. It's not the plan being recommended by administration at this time. It's an idea that was talked about. The administration's recommendation is to try to bring the community together and come up with a plan."
Board President Scott Brogan echoed those sentiments, saying there is not enough classroom space with the previous configuration and that while the problem now has a temporary fix, something more permanent will have to be developed.
Brogan and Veiht urged anyone interested in serving on the committee or becoming more involved in the planning process to call MAPS central administration at 225-4400.
"The difficulty we always have as a board is getting the word out," Brogan said. "We knew that someone was going to be impacted by this (temporary plan) in a way that none of us would particularly care for. It's tough to get people to come until it's really affecting them directly. That's understandable. Everyone has jobs and lives and other commitments. It's not the fault of the community. It's an ongoing problem."
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.