CELEBRATE KIDS! – Representatives of the Owosso Middle School Builders Club and student council offered a presentation on projects and accomplishments during the regular Owosso School Board meeting on Monday, Feb. 21. The OMS Builders Club and student council are under Mr. Christopher Bird’s mentorship. Shown are Quinn and Ava.
Note: As is Independent policy, we always ask for school or parental consent regarding photos of easily identifiable minors out of concern for child safety and comfort – some exceptions being large crowds, etc.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
The Owosso School Board met in the gymnasium at the Washington Campus Monday evening, Feb. 21 for the regular meeting with a full agenda in place. Early in the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Andrea Tuttle offered new COVID-19 recommendations to the board, which were approved in 6-1 board vote. Board member Marlene Webster was not in attendance.
The approved protocols eliminated the mask mandate, but included other protocols that were outlined to all parents and guardians in an email from Tuttle directly following the meeting. Masks must still be worn on buses, since that remains a federal mandate – not a school mandate. Masks can continue to be worn by those who wish to wear them, as well.
Following the vote eliminating the mask rule and also after the first public participation portion of the meeting, in which many individuals repeated similar assertions made in recent school board meetings, roughly 40 of the 75 or so in attendance, left the meeting prior to the consent agenda or any further actionable items related to the educational process of students.
The consent agenda contained a number of items addressed regularly. One item questioned from actionable items was in retaining the same school attorneys. School board members Shelly Ochodnicky and Sara Keyes suggested considering another set of attorneys as a comparison to the attorneys the district has worked with for numerous years. The board approved retaining the attorneys so that the district would not be without legal representation at this time.
Other items discussed included the upcoming OHS Trojan Marching Band trip to Disney and Florida and some of the concerns connected to maintaining school safety on a long distant trip during the pandemic, and the upcoming OHS Choir trip to Chicago. Superintendent Dr. Andrea Tuttle emphasized she is a strong supporter of such field trips for Owosso students due to the educational and life experience value.
One item discussed for future action included awarding a bid on an indoor air quality project to Emerson Elementary School to help with the air quality of the multi-floor structure. Tuttle is asking the board to contract with Spence Brothers out of Saginaw for $3,328,000 from ESSER III funds for these improvements. ESSER III funds can be used for repair and maintenance “conductive to optimal learning opportunities inclusive but not limited to air quality and promotion of safety and security.”
Regarding air quality, the district initially looked at a design to address the issue at all three elementary schools. The package went out for bids, but the low bid for all three schools came in at $8,372,000 – far above current district resources to address all three buildings.
Emerson School is being recommended since it is considered to have the worst air quality of the three elementary buildings. In short, going forward, if the board votes to approve the project, ESSER III funds will be used. Construction is estimated to begin in Summer 2022 and will last about one year.
Window air conditioning units recently installed on the third floor at Emerson will likely be moved to the second floor at Central Elementary as it is the upper floors that retain a disconcerting amount of heat during warmer months.
For those interested in upcoming meeting information or seeking the minutes on previous meetings, the information is available at Owosso.k12.mi.us. The board of education always meets twice a month for the committee of the whole and the regular board of education. Both meetings are held at the Washington Campus and the public can attend.