Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bridgeport Spaulding School Board Meeting November 13th, 2017

I was able to attend Monday nights school board meeting and have the video here.  Sorry this is in 3 parts and I have not had the time to write the breakdown of when each agenda item starts at in the videos.  My video editing program refused to work with me last night so that is why it is in 3 parts.

The items on last nights meeting agenda were:
- Building & Grounds/Finance Committee Report
- Football Presentation with Coach Marshall and some of our Bearcats
- Middle School & High School Data Presentation.  You will hear from John Lagalo, Steve Baker and Jon Chapman
-  Discussion of the Career Technical Education (CTE) in Saginaw County.  This is a plan being put forth by the ISD.
- Board And Superintendent Comments

It was a good and informative meeting.  There will be another board meeting on Monday, November 27th.  

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Bridgeport Spaulding School Board Meeting August 14th, 2017

On the agenda:
- Student Growth Review begins at 1:17
- Blue Print Review begins at 22:41
- Blue Print Resolution And Discussion begins at 40:50
- High School Student Handbook Discussion begins at 47:23
- Consent Agenda begins at 56:46
- November 7, 2017 Special Election - Sinking Fund Resolution Discussion And Adoption begins at 1:01:01
- Emergency Seclusion And Restraint Policy Discussion And Adoption begins at 1:03:58
- Back To School Fun Fest begins at 1:09:32
- Board And Superintendent Comments begin at 1:13:44
© 2017 Carla Citizen All Rights Reserved

I shared this meeting video back in August on my Facebook page but never got it posted here on the blog. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Being A Team Player Redux

I originally posted this back in 2016 and thought it was worth sharing again.  If people would open their eyes, it would be easier to see the backstabbers.  There seems to be one in every team or group.

From October 2016:

"Most people think of sports teams when you talk about a team player but it also applies to any work setting, organizations, families, and society as a whole.  What is teamwork?  In the words of Vince Lombardi: "Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work."

What behaviors or characteristics make for a bad team player?  Here are a few that I can think of.

- A team member that shares confidential or sensitive information about other members of their team or situations going on within the team with someone that is not part of the team.  Especially if the goal for doing so is to undermine another member of the team.
- A team member that either cannot or makes no effort to hide their dislike of or frustrations with other members of the team.  When the disharmony becomes obvious to the public, perhaps it is time for that team member to step aside.
- A team member that would rather push aside, ignore, or drive out other team members instead of making the effort to get all members working together as a whole for the betterment of the organization.  Working together as a team requires dedication to the cause, if you can't step up to the task or are not willing to, then maybe you should not be a member of that team.

When looking for new members of a team, these are some characteristics in people that you may want to avoid.

- A person that thinks they are better or smarter than others. A braggart.  Know it all's and braggarts tend to never make good team players, they are a one man show, grandstanders.  If they do become part of a team, they most likely will never be content until they are the top dog, the one running the show.  And they tend to step on anyone who stands in their way.  Know it all's also tend to be some of the dumbest people in the world.  Braggarts also tend to exaggerate the truth especially about themselves.
- A person that says things about others like "We can't control him" or "He doesn't see things our way".  Also things like "I think we have him under control now" and "I think he is seeing things our way now".   Those are not the words of a team player, they are the words of a controlling person that will never be able to work together as a equal with others in a team setting.  It will always be their way or the highway.
-  A person that makes accusations against other people with no facts to back up the accusations, only speculation.  Maybe the basis for the allegations lies within their own goals?  What was their true goal?  If they are willing to make accusations against others with no proof, what will happen when they become part of a team?  Will they continue their ranting, grandstanding, accusation slinging ways within the team?
- A person that inflicts harm on others and then revels in watching their suffering.  Revels to the point that they brag about it to others and want others to join in the revelry in watching another suffer. 
- A person that will not admit when they are wrong or apologize for their actions that harmed others.
- A person that wants to be a team player, part of an organization, should be happy for any successes or benefits that come to the organization.  If they belittle or ignore any good events that benefit the entire organization, then it would appear that they don't really care about the betterment of the organization.  Is it  due to petty dislikes or petty jealousies? Is it because they are not the ones who will get the credit? 
- A person that belittles another's accomplishments or successes in any situation.  Petty shallow people never make good team players.
- A person that will participate in underhanded, backstabbing, backdoor dealing, ethic violating ways with a goal to undermine and destroy others that are members of a team. If they are willing to do those things from outside the team, imagine what they will do if they ever actually become part of the team?  Team members should be very wary of people like this!!
- A person that sees their own glory, their imaginary fame, rather than the truth about a situation as the main goal or result of their actions.  EX: "My video will go viral"  "I'm going to be on all the national news shows"
- A person that is dishonest.  A person that lacks morals and conscience.  A person that shows no remorse whatsoever for wrongs they have committed.  A person that shows no understanding, no empathy, no compassion towards others."

So Keep Your Eyes Open And They Won't Be Able To Back Stab You!! 

I Can See For Miles And Miles

Monday's Musings courtesy of The Who:

I know you've deceived me, now here's a surprise
I know that you have 'cause there's magic in my eyes

I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
Oh yeah

If you think that I don't know about the little tricks you play
And never see you when deliberately you put things in my way

Well, here's a poke at you
You're gonna choke on it too
You're gonna lose that smile
Because all the while

I can see for miles and miles
I can see for miles and miles
I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
Oh yeah

You took advantage of my trust in you when I was so far away
I saw you holding lots of other guys and now you've got the nerve to say

That you still want me
Well, that's as may be
But you gotta stand trial
Because all the while

I can see for miles and miles
I can see for miles and miles
I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
Oh yeah

I know you've deceived me, now here's a surprise
I know that you have 'cause there's magic in my eyes

I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
Oh yeah

The Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal are mine to see on clear days
You thought that I would need a crystal ball to see right through the haze

Well, here's a poke at you
You're gonna choke on it too
You're gonna lose that smile
Beacuse all the while

I can see for miles and miles
I can see for miles and miles
I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles 
and miles and miles and miles and miles 

I can see for miles and miles x9

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bridgeport Spaulding School Board Meeting May 8th, 2017

On the agenda:
- Agenda Adjustments begins at 0:43
- Building & Grounds/Finance Committee Report and Action begins at 8:36
- Personnel Committee Report and Action begins at 14:59
- Consent Agenda begins at 21:12
- ISD Board Election Discussion begins at 22:04
- Discussion Of Sinking Fund Proposal begins at 25:40
- Board And Superintendent Comments begin at 37:42
© 2017 Carla Citizen All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 8, 2017

Results From The May 2nd Bridgeport Spaulding School District Millage Elections

The good news from the May 2nd election is that the 18 mill renewal operating expense millage did pass by a vote of 717 Yes votes to 385 No votes.  Sadly the 3 mill sinking fund proposal failed.  The vote was 532 Yes to 570 No.  I am not sure why the sinking fund lost by just 38 votes.  Are people just tired of all the taxes they have to pay and thought this was unnecessary?  The sinking fund proposal wasn't an extravagant wish list, it was for needed repairs and upgrades.  I was looking at the unofficial precinct reports from the Saginaw County website and found the results interesting.  The 18 mill proposal passed in all 5 of the Bridgeport precincts and both of Buena Vista's precincts.  The sinking fund proposal passed in both of Buena Vista's precincts and 3 of the 5 Bridgeport precincts, but lost in Bridgeport precincts 3 & 5.  The most surprising result was from Spaulding Township.  They have 1 precinct and that precinct voted down both proposals.
I know it is not unusual to have a low voter turnout on special elections that just have local items on the ballot but it was sad to see how low that turnout was here.  The Bridgeport Spualding School District will try again this fall to pass the 3 mill Sinking Fund proposal.  Hopefully they will be able to get the word out to help inform the public and get it passed this year.

Here are the precinct results for anyone that may be interested in seeing how the vote went.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bridgeport Township Board Meeting May 3rd, 2017

On the agenda:
- Public Comment begins at 4:10
Unfinished Business -
- Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) begins at 9:13
New Business -
- R17-07 Mid Michigan Waste Authority Amended & Restated Resolution begins at 15:07
- Tatham Rd. Water Main Project - Bids begins at 16:53
- Job Description - On call Incident Support begins at 18:31
- Township Attorney List begins at 19:38
- Board Member Comments begin at 21:24
© 2017 Carla Citizen All Rights Reserved

For those that do not attend these meetings and don't watch the full video, the meetings are always started with a prayer from one of our local pastors.  I find them usually insightful and inspiring and hope people take the time to listen.  I only list the starting times for the agenda items in these videos that I think the public would be most interested in listening to, but I hope that the public will take the time to listen to the full meetings.
First up was a speaker during the public comment period that was in favor of medical marijuana and facilities.  He spoke about what he feels are the benefits of this but he did not mention the crime that it brings into the communities.  There is a lot that could be discussed about medical marijuana and the benefits or problems that go along with it all, but I am not going to get into that on my blog.
The Township Supervisor discussed their reasons for not approving the licensing of facilities etc... during the vote on the MMFLA.  He does have a valid point in that the law here in Michigan was poorly written and implemented, and it all is still being litigated in the courts at the taxpayers expense.  They should be publishing the full ordinance on their website.  If anyone is interested in reading it you can check there or contact the township offices.  https://www.bridgeportmi.org/
Township Manager Rose Licht always has updates and information on things going on in the township during the board member comments at the end of the meetings.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bridgeport Spaulding School Board Meeting April 24th, 2017

On the agenda:
- Citizen Participation begins at 0:33
- Agenda Adjustments begins at 3:03
- MDE Partnership Agreement Discussion begins at 4:52
- Discussion of the Superintendents Evaluation begins at 1:04:21
- Board and Superintendent Comments begin at 1:07:29
© 2017 Carla Citizen All Rights Reserved

Sorry I am so late in posting this meeting.  I was planning on reviewing the full discussion on the partnership agreement with the Michigan Department of Education before writing my blog post, but I have not gotten that done.  It was an hour long and very informative discussion and is worth the time to listen to.
Just a reminder that if you are looking for a meeting video and it is not up on my blog here yet, look on my YouTube account - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9CDuA3sJJPg8uWmmwZHLKA/feed
or on my Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/citizencarla/

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Some Thoughts On The May 2nd Special Election For Bridgeport Spaulding School District

I am getting some feedback about what people are saying about this election on May 2nd, how they are planning on voting, and I feel the need to address these things.

First thing I noticed is that there is a lot of misinformation being shared out there about these two ballot proposals so I put together all the information I could find into one post and shared that here on my blog.   You can see it all in this post - Information For May 2nd 2017 Ballot Proposals For Bridgeport Spaulding School District 

It is the responsibility of every voter to inform yourself of the facts about this issue, and any other issue.  Don't just listen to what other people may be saying, get the facts yourself.  The information is out there and if you have any questions about it you could probably contact someone within the school district to help clarify it.
Here is some of the misinformation I have been hearing from people:
- They are lying when they say these are not tax increases....
- They are lying when they say these are not new taxes....
- Bridgeport screwed up something when the students came from Buena Vista so that is why they are having to pass these proposals now....
- What they are saying about these proposals aren't the same as what is on the ballot....
So lets address these comments - The 18 mill non-homestead levy is just a renewal of the existing millage that has been approved by the voters in the past and has been in place for years and years.  It is the same exact amount as before.  It is not new and is not an increase.  The only connection this has to the students from the former Buena Vista school district is that the areas in Buena Vista that have been absorbed into the Bridgeport Spaulding school district will now also vote on this issue.  The 3 mill sinking fund proposal is to replace the 6 mill levy that was in place and has now expired.  This money will only be used for repairs and upgrades.  You can view the video that was made about the 3 mill levy here - Bridgeport Sinking Fund   I have looked at a sample ballot for the election on the Michigan Secretary of State website and I see no difference between what the information sheets say about the two proposals and what is on the ballot.  You can view the ballot here - https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/MVIC/selectpublicballot.aspx

If you plan on supporting these two proposals, please don't just assume that they will pass with no problem.  Share the information in my post above and help inform other voters.  And please make the effort to get out and vote YES on May 2nd because every vote will matter!!

Now I want to address some of the negative feedback I am hearing on why some people are planning on voting no on these two proposals.  Some of it is truly trying my patience and boggling my mind!!

First we have the regular naysayers, the Debbie Downers, the people that complain about everything and will just vote no based not on the actual information but just what their friends are saying about these proposals.  Maybe it makes them feel empowered to vote no?  Sticking it to the man?  I truly don't understand their thinking and behavior.  All I can say is that maybe they need to get some Valium and get a life!!

It is some of the other negative things I am hearing out there that I find very disheartening. I guess I will start with the thinking by some that they will never vote for these two proposals as long as so and so is employed in this district.  So if they are not happy with one or more people in this district, if they are not happy about the way they think things are being run, then they will vote down these proposals.  First I have to ask if their thinking is based on true facts or rumors?  Rumors, gossip, speculation and accusations can be a dangerous thing and people love to spread it all around.  Again I have to wonder if by doing that makes them feel empowered?   People need to also remember that there are two sides to every story, actually there are three sides to every story - Your side, Their side, and the truth that usually lies somewhere in the middle.
I don't like some things I "think" are going on in our district, I would like to see some people long gone from our district, BUT I will never vote no on these proposals just to try and hurt one or more people.  Who would really be hurt by voting down these proposals?  The students and their futures, the school district, and yes even Bridgeport Township would be hurt.  People need to think long and hard about who would be hurt the most by a no vote and what the far reaching consequences of that vote would mean.  Are you really willing to hurt the students and district just to hurt one or more people in this district?  I beg you to think long and hard before you vote no.  My conscience will not allow me to vote no and I pray that others will not also.

Some of the other negative feedback I am hearing is things like "they waste money".  Do you know that for a fact?  I don't.  Most of the information pertaining to the school district is open to the public.  I am not sure how much of the financial information is open but if you have concerns then seek out answers.  Contact someone in the district and ask questions.  Attend the school board meetings where you can publicly raise your concerns and the committee meetings.  I missed two committee meetings this month, a personnel committee meeting and a finance committee meeting.  These meetings can be very informative so I am sorry that I missed them.  The public also has the option to request information through the Freedom Of Information Act.  Use that right.  I don't have the time to attend all the meetings or to request documents, information etc...  Even if I did, I honestly would not understand it all and am not qualified to make a judgement on it all.  So please seek out answers to any concerns you have and base your vote on the facts, not rumors.
Other concerns I have heard is that people don't think they are being honest about the needed repairs and upgrades, feel that they don't need new bleachers.  I think the video for the 3 mill levy shows honestly some of the needed repairs, but I suspect it doesn't show all of them.  If you have concerns, then contact someone in the district and take a look for yourself.  Ask people who work there everyday what is truly needed.  As for the bleachers at the high school, yes money has been raised in the past and I believe the visitor side bleachers have been replaced, volunteers have also donated materials and labor to make some needed repairs on the main bleachers and paint them.  But does that mean then that they don't need to replace them?  I don't know exactly what their reasons are for that or exactly what their plans are.  Are they maybe planning on replacing the old wood bleachers that will always need more and more maintenance with new aluminum bleachers?  If you have concerns about that then just ask someone in the district that would be able to give you the answers.

So to any Bridgeport School District resident that has questions or concerns, please seek out answers, seek out the truth.  Get involved, volunteer your time, donate money.  The Bridgeport Schools have a lot of needs and the community could really step up and help them.  The Bridgeport Community Church has their sign out in front of the church and they recently had a message on there that said something like "The Bridgeport Schools Support Our Community" and on the other side of the sign the message was "The Bridgeport Community Supports Our Schools".  I am hoping that on May 2nd the Bridgeport community will come out and show that support by voting yes for these two proposals!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Information For May 2nd 2017 Ballot Proposals For Bridgeport Spaulding School District

 just click on any photo to see a larger image

I am hearing some misinformation being shared about the two proposals that will be on the May 2nd ballot for the Bridgeport Spaulding School District so I am gathering all the information out there and putting it in one place. 
There are two proposals - one is a renewal of the 18 Mill Levy for Non-homestead Properties in the Bridgeport school district, which now also includes some properties in Buena Vista Township.  This levy is one that has been approved by voters in the Bridgeport Spaulding school district for years and years.  This is just a renewal of the same amount.  This is not a new tax, this is not a tax increase.  Here is a information sheet explaining it all:

There is also a 3 Mill Sinking Fund Levy on the ballot.  This will replace the previous 6 mill levy that was in place but has now expired.  Here is a short video about the levy:

I would like to add that there are more repairs needed than what they mention in this video.  One of them is repairs needed for the track at the high school.  If those repairs are not done soon, then later down the road it will cost a lot more to fix the problems.
Here is a fact sheet explaining the 3 mill levy:

Here also is a screen shot of a sample ballot for the May 2nd election:

Voters will vote at their regular precincts on May 2nd.  The polls will be open from 7am to 8pm. The township office will also be open on Saturday, April 29th, 2017 from 9am to 2pm for absentee voting only.
These proposals have also been covered in the Birch Run/Bridgeport Herald and on MLive.  The Bridgeport Township Governmental Offices have also shared information about the millage's on their website. 

Bridgeport Spaulding School Board Meeting Time Change for April 24th

The school board regular meeting for this evening has been changed from 6pm to 5:30pm.  Hopefully there will be an update from the Superintendent and the board on the partnership agreement with the state.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bridgeport Spaulding School Board Meeting April 10th, 2017

On the agenda:
- Agenda Adjustments begins at 0:32
- Instructional Services Presentation - Rebecca Hornack, Director ISD begins at 3:14
- Consent Agenda begins at 52:20
- Partnership Agreement Update by Superintendent Selby begins at 54:17
- Board And Superintendent Comments begin at 1:06:50
- Discussion about the Building Trades Program with John Lagalo begins at 1:21:30
© 2017 Carla Citizen All Rights Reserved

Sorry but I am too sick to write anything about this meeting right now.  Maybe in a few days if I get better I will comment on it.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bridgeport Spaulding Special School Board Meeting April 7th, 2017

This was a brief meeting that was held just to discuss school policy on honoring former school employees and alumni and the renaming of school facilities.  Policy is in place for a reason and it does need to be followed.  It probably would be a good idea also if they put together a committee made up of various groups like board members, school staff etc... to make these recommendations.
Sorry again if you have trouble hearing the discussion. At past board meetings it seemed they used to make sure that the speaker was on and that every member used the microphone when they spoke.  They don't seem to do that anymore.  I have no idea why.  They may be able to hear each other, but they need to remember that they are not in a private meeting, they are in an open and public meeting.  The public has the right to hear what is discussed.

Bridgeport Township Board Meeting April 4th, 2017

On the agenda:
- Public Comment begins at 4:32
New Business -
- Resolution R17-05 Alltel Communications begins at 16:30
- Workman's Compensation begins at 18:02
- Southfield Drive Road Improvements begins at 20:03
- Admin/Dept. Head Wage Proposal begins at 21:43
- Independent Contractor Agreement begins at 22:37
- King Road Drain Project begins at 25:41
- Resolution R17-06 Water Rates and Fees begins at 29:15
- Bridgeport Water Supply Rules and Regulations begins at 31:23
- Introduction to MMFLA Ordinance begins at 58:15
- Accounting Dept. Update begins at 1:01:14
- Waste Water Treatment Plant Land Application Bid begins at 1:14:53
- Board Member Comments begin at 1:18:38
© 2017 Carla Citizen All Rights Reserved

Sorry I am a few days late in getting this posted but I am really sick this week.
There were some informative updates by Jaeleen Davis from the Birch Run/Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce and Representative Vanessa Guerra  during the public comment period.
This meeting was a lot of township business stuff.  Of interest to the general public would probably be the Southfield Drive Road Improvements, King Road Drain Project.  The discussion was long about the Water Supply Rules and Regulations and that may be of interest to the public.
They also set the date of May 3rd during the regular board meeting that they will discuss the MMFLA Ordinance.  That is about the Medical Marijuana Facility Licensing Ordinance.  Hope I have that right.  There are a lot of views on medical marijuana and the medical dispensaries.  I won't get into all of that on my blog here.  I will say that I am not in favor of having a dispensary here in Bridgeport.
Ron Rachwitz gave a nice presentation for the accounting department and some of the information that is available on the township website for everyone to see. I found it interesting and informative myself and hope people will take the time to listen and check out what is available on the website.
The board member and township managers comments are always interesting, and sometimes humorous.  Augie Tausend is sometimes quite entertaining!! -- 1:19:40 into the video

Friday, March 31, 2017

Watching The Watchers

I said a few months ago that I wanted to keep my blog positive, to just share the positive things that are going on in Bridgeport.  I really do want to do that, but things are what they are, and I have to call things out as I see them.
It has been a struggle for me to try and keep up with the blog because of family issues.  I haven't posted anything in about 9 days.  Please don't think it is because I don't care about Bridgeport.  And don't think it is because I am not aware of things going on here.  I may be a little behind others in keeping up with events, but eventually I do find things out.
I truly would just like to walk away from this blog because of the time and energy that it takes for me to keep up right now.  If I did give up this blog I wouldn't worry about the Bridgeport Township government, the trustees, the manager, the DDA department, the police department.  I think they are all doing a great job and I have a lot of faith in them.  I see a bright future for Bridgeport with all of them in place.  My only regret is that I haven't been able to keep up with sharing all the wonderful things they have been doing.

It is the future of our school district, our school board, the future of the children that keeps me from walking away.  I have some serious concerns about it all.  I suspect there are some out there that think I am a rambling maniac, that I have some personal problems, maybe even a personal vendetta.    That is not what is going on, please believe me.  I have some serious concerns, some I have shared, some I have not.    There is some information I have been keeping for almost a year that I really want to share but haven't done it.  Not yet, but I see it as being necessary in the future.  Sorry if this sounds really crazy.

So back now to the school district and the school board.  I have seen some good people done wrong in this district, and have seen some bad people come out ahead.  It is disheartening to watch.  There are some current board members that have made accusations against others in the past that they didn't know their place or their roles on the school board, in the district, that they were overstepping their bounds.  But now from what I am seeing and hearing, those same board members are way overstepping their bounds, way overstepping their responsibilities and their duties.  It is just more of their hypocrisy. Sad. 

I have stated in the past that if someone is claiming racism and I don't see it that way, I will say so.  BUT, when I do see racism, I will call it out!  There is something going on right now in this school district that I do believe is based on racism.  One person that is involved I do believe is a racist.  Things I have seen in this persons behavior and heard from this persons mouth myself, makes be believe they are a racist.  We have some really good people in our district.  They care about the children, they make a difference in the lives of the children.  We can not afford to lose these kinds of people.  We have already lost one and that was a sad day for the Bridgeport students.  What I am hearing right now sounds like there is a witch hunt going on towards another of our good guys. There are some innuendos or accusations being made that are way out of line!!

Here is my promise to Bridgeport - If this nonsense doesn't stop, If you try to continue with this, If you try to destroy this good man - I Will Not Tolerate It!  No one in Bridgeport should tolerate it!
To the person or persons that are involved in this, I Will Come After You!  And that is not just for the person or persons actively involved in this -- This is also for the ones that are sitting back and keeping your mouths shut, Sitting back and covering your own ass so you keep your jobs or your little positions.  I am not threatening anyone with any kind of violence or anything like that.  I am just saying that there are some truths that need to come out, I will tell them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Bridgeport Spaulding School Board Meeting February 27th, 2017

On the agenda:
- Citizen Participation begins at 0:42
- Agenda Adjustments begins at 11:28
- District Improvement Plan Presentation by Regina Lamontagne begins at 12:40
- Personnel Report begins at 1:09:08
- Discussion of the Curriculum Committee Meeting  (includes a discussion about consolidating Thomas White and Atkins) begins at 1:11:40
- Board And Superintendent Comments begin at 1:44:30
© 2017 Carla Citizen All Rights Reserved

In the citizen participation period, the Bridgeport Girl's Bowling coach Amy Morales introduced Bridgeport Senior Ally Neelis.  Ally has qualified for the individual state finals and is the first girl to qualify in the schools program history.  Also qualified for the individual boys state finals is Bridgeport Senior Kris Polk.  They needed some financial support to cover the costs of travel etc... to go and I hope they received it.  Congratulations to both Ally and Kris!

Regina Lamontagne provided an almost hour long update on the District Improvement Plan.  I am not qualified to say if this is a good plan or a bad plan.   It sounds good and also sounds complicated.  I truly hope they can make it work.  The Bridgeport students deserve the best!!

It took me several days to get this board meeting video uploaded and ready to share.  It has taken me even longer to write this blog post because there is something that has been weighing on my mind and I have been deciding on how to address it or whether to even address it at all.  There are actually many things that weigh on my mind with the Bridgeport School District but I will keep it to just this one item in this post.

It is the plan they talked about in the Building & Grounds/Finance meeting on Mon Feb 27th, which I do have posted on this blog and YouTube, and then again in this regular board meeting.  They are talking about consolidating Thomas White Elementary with Atkins Elementary and Atkins Middle School.  Kindergarten through 8th grade would all be housed in the Atkins building.  I can usually see both sides of an argument, I can even debate both sides with myself, but this is one I am struggling with.

They have looked at this option in the past for the cost savings it would possible produce, but I believe that it ended when it was decided that the cost savings would not be enough to justify the change.  The Bridgeport School District will be getting out of deficit soon it is projected, which will be great.  We have the much needed renewal of the 10 year 18 mill non-homestead levy and the 3 mill sinking fund levy up for vote on May 2nd and I hope that they both pass.  The financial health of our district is an issue that should be getting top priority, without it we are doomed.  Bridgeport does not have the tax base that it used to have, and we continue to bleed students from our district which means we continue to bleed money coming in.  I don't believe that we are bleeding as many students as we were but any loss of students is a loss to our district in so many ways.

They say they are looking at this option now for academic reasons.  They do discuss this line of thinking in both of these meetings on Monday. That is where I am struggling, to see their line of thinking.  My question is why can't they solve those academic issues without having to consolidate the schools to do it?  Will consolidating the schools actually help to solve those issues?  Are the underlying problems causing the academic issues so ingrained in our district that it would take a total overhaul to fix them?  Would it take a complete overhaul from the school board, to the administration, to the teachers and staff to fix them? Another words, a total house cleaning.  Is it someday going to require the state to step in to fix the academic issues?  I pray not!!

When I look at the school districts surrounding us, especially the higher achieving districts, I don't see any school that has 9 grades housed in 1 building.  You have to take into account that some of these other districts are larger districts, with larger tax bases.  Even the smaller districts, ones closer to the size of Bridgeport, are benefiting from the school of choice option and drawing in students from the poorer performing districts. Saginaw Township has several elementary schools with only grades K to 2nd, several with K to 3rd or K to 5th in one building.  I believe Freeland has K to 2nd.  Frankenmuth and Birch Run have K to 4th. Carrollton has K to 5th.  Would having 9 grades in 1 building truly be condusive to academic success and to the environment for the students?  I don't have an answer to that question, but I hate to see our district be used as a test and end up failing.  It is the students who will suffer the most if it turns out to be a failure.  And also in the end the whole school district, and the township, will suffer if it turns out to be a failure. There is a lot at stake here and failure should never be an option.

So it sounds like consolidating these three schools into one building would create one new school.  There would no longer be a school in our district that is in priority status.  At least that is what I got out of discussions from both of these meetings.  That sounds great doesn't it?  It was even mentioned in both meetings that getting out from under the School Reform Office would be a unintended beneficial consequence of consolidating the three schools into one new school.  But if the underlying issues that caused the school to fall into priority status are not fixed, then how long before the new school falls back into priority status again?  If only the same several grades continue to fail, will the entire new school fall into priority status?  I don't know how having the 9 grades in the one school will affect those kinds of issues.   So maybe by consolidating the schools into one they can bypass the SRO for awhile at least, but what about the students in all of this?  Will the schools continue to fail for the students?  What will the future hold for the students?  This is their future.  There really is only one priority in all of this and that is the students, PERIOD!!  If they can get around the SRO but continue to fail the students, then what is the point in it all?  Will it just be delaying the inevitable?

One last concern I have about this plan is that some parents will not support this plan and instead will pull their students from Bridgeport and move them to another school district, or never enroll their students in Bridgeport to begin with.  I do not know how parents will feel about this.  If parents will pull their children from Bridgeport because of this plan, Bridgeport can not afford to lose many more students.  They have not voted on this plan yet in a school board meeting but I think they will be voting on it in the near future.  From what I heard in these two meetings, it sounds like they are seriously looking at this and making plans on moving forward with it.  If there are parents or concerned residents in our district that approve or disapprove of this plan - you need to let the administration and school board members hear your thoughts on this.