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March 11, 2013

Potential improvements to Sweetland Stadium in spotlight during Constantine Board of Education meeting

Chuck Frisbie, superintendent of the Constantine Public Schools, showed three architect drawings of potential improvements to Sweetland Stadium and outlying areas, to members of the school board at a meeting held Monday evening (March 11) in the media center of the high school.

Constantine school superintendent Chuck Frisbie showed three architect drawings of potential improvements to Sweetland Stadium and outlying areas to the school board at a meeting held Monday evening.  (Click on photo to enlarge)

Frisbie indicated the school was looking for comments from parents and suggestions for the stadium.
“Dave Horn came up with the idea of upgrading things. We think it’s great, and we need to put these plans out where people can see them,” Frisbie said.

Horn has offered to help with fundraisers for the project. Financing for upgrades needs to be discussed, Frisbie said. He added the drawings would be given to the facilities committee.

Board members expressed continued frustration with the St. Joseph County ISD, which serves Burr Oak, Centreville, Constantine, Glen Oaks Community College, Mendon, Nottawa, Sturgis, Three Rivers and White Pigeon.

“I heard we were making a few waves in the county, but we’re not upset with the teachers or bus drivers,” Frisbie said.  “We pay $150,000 for special ed transportation and get reimbursed $10,000. Cass, Van Buren, and other areas have all transportation expenses paid for.”

“Our biggest gripe is we get no reimbursement,” he said. “Then there’s the boiler issue. The boiler is a 4.2 million dollar project, and the latest is the ISD is going to finance it for 20-30 years and take a couple thousand out a year to pay for it.”

“It’s possible to do special ed more locally, and we’re going to explore the options to do the best job we can with the money we have.”

Frisbie indicated further negotiations would take place with the ISD, and a meeting with Jay Raycraft, ISD Director of Special Education was coming up shortly.

A parent in the audience with a special needs child told the board she was frustrated.  “Last year they threatened us with public transportation, and I don’t want my son transported that way,” she said. “The ISD is not very forthcoming with information to the parents either.”

Angie Birdsall received a Michigan Art Education Art Advocate Award from Constantine art teacher Dorothy Brueck, for contributing articles on art.

In other business:

  • A parent and community meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday (March 13) at the Media Center of Constantine High School.  “We want to discuss safety issues at entry ways, possible drug testing in the athletic program. curriculum, and technology,” Frisbie said.  “We want to talk about starting school at 8 a.m. not 7:30 a.m. We feel it’s too early for kids. We want better communication with parents.”
  • Riverside Elementary School principal Steve Wilson said “Books and Basketball” would be held at 1:30 on Saturday (March 16) at the high school gym. Riverside school staff will play the “Fighting Fifth Graders.” Every Constantine Elementary School student will receive a brand new book at the event. Admission is free.
  • Constantine art teacher Dorothy Brueck presented Angie Birdsall with a Michigan Art Education Association (MAEA) Art Advocate Award, for contributing articles on art.
  • Clint Fund introduced several Middle School students who won awards at the Science Olympiad. Students described the projects to the board.

Source:  Story and photos contributed by Angie Birdsall.


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