Marquette school board talks technical education

The Marquette Area Public Schools are getting involved in a local effort to create a technical middle college. It would be a five-year program leading to a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

There are 29 such programs in Michigan; Escanaba and Calumet are the only ones in the U.P.

MAPS board members Jean Hetrick and Matt Williams will serve as liaisons between the school board and the Marquette-Alger Technical Education Committee.

“All we were trying to get was the Marquette school board to go along with studying it, to make sure and see if it’s appropriate, so we’re not looking for any financial commitment at this point, but just the interest of pursuing to the welfare of the kids,” Technical Education Committee chair Stu Bradley said.

Teacher contract talks have been in progress in the district since August, and many teachers attended today’s meeting.

The last three contracts did not have a base salary increase. Teachers say that needs to change now that the state’s financial crisis has eased.

“Marquette is in the best financial condition of any district in the area but is near the bottom on what they spend on compensation for teacher salaries and total, including benefits,” Marquette Senior High School teacher Fred Cole said.

The board is expecting to take action at its October 28th meeting on a grade realignment proposal for next fall.