Marquette approves school realignment

Marquette Area Public Schools will be changing its grade levels in elementary schools starting for the 2014-15 school year.

The MAPS School Board approved the realignment plan by a 5–1 vote.  Laura Songer was the lone member to vote ‘no’.

The new plan would turn Graveraet into an elementary school and streamline all grade levels at the three other elementary schools: Cherry Creek, Superior Hills, and Sandy Knoll.  The district will now have four K-5 elementary schools.

Realignment would cost the district a one-time cost of $180,000, and an additional $280,000 per year.

School board members were concerned where the additional funds would come from.

“We’ve saved, or whittled down, what easily could have been $400,000 over budget right now down to about $50,000 (over budget),” MAPS Interim Superintendent Bill Saunders said.  “Looking at what we have in place (for budget cuts)–not looking at the classroom–I still believe there’s quite a bit of money and quite a bit of savings.”

Due to the realignment, the YMCA Early Childhood Development Center will be displaced from the Vandenboom Childhood Development Center; the Alternative High School will take over the space in that building.

The board will have talks with the YMCA to decide if the two should share a building for a few months until the YMCA finds a new building.

“There’s probably some things we could move, from gym usage or something like that,” Saunders said.  “Until we sit down (with the YMCA) and work with it as a group and find some common ground I think it’s going to take time and work.”

The YMCA made a request to the board for a year’s notice to find a new building.

The board will come to a decision by April on whether to remove the YMCA Early Childhood Development Center by the fall of 2014, or allow the center to stay until a new property is found.