Press enter after choosing selection

School Board Roundup ~ Efforts To Save Scarlett-Mitchell Woods Suffer Setback

School Board Roundup ~ Efforts To Save Scarlett-Mitchell Woods Suffer Setback image
Parent Issue
Copyright Protected
Rights Held By
Donated by the Ann Arbor News. © The Ann Arbor News.
OCR Text

School Board Roundup

Efforts To Save Scarlett-Mitchell Woods Suffer Setback

A group of parents and students trying to save the Scarlett-Mitchell Woods for use as a nature center received a setback last night when they were informed the Ann Arbor School District has no present plans to buy an alternate site for a fourth senior high school to be built in the early 1980’s.

The group, “Operation Mitchell-Scarlett Woods,” has been trying to persuade the board to buy another site for the fourth high school, since they consider the present site a unique nature area.

School Supt. W. Scott Westerman Jr. suggested the group find a buyer for the present site, and said the school district could sell it and use the money to buy another site. But he said the school board’s attorney thinks the school district could be “legally challenged” if the schools used the land for anything but a school, since this was the purpose stated on the ballot when the electorate approved money for the site.

Westerman estimated that $250,000 would be needed to buy a new site. He said no school board member had requested that amount be put on the June 8 bonding issue.

Manfred Schmidt, a leader of Operation Mitchell-Scarlett Woods, said his group has found a piece of land in Pittsfield Township owned by the state of Michigan which they feel would be “appropriate” for a fourth high school.

Spokesmen for the Huron Valley Sierra Club and the Huron Valley Chapter of the Michigan Botanical Club urged the board to use the present site, which they termed “unique,” as a nature center and not for a high school.

Several school board members, including Trustee Joseph T. A. Lee and School Board President Harold J. Lockett, urged the Mitchell-Scarlett Committee to continue their efforts to save the woods and to perhaps find a buyer for the present land.

Specific Policy-Asked On Books

A low-income mother who belongs to the Washtenaw County Welfare Rights Organization yesterday urged the Board of Education to formulate a more specific policy for providing textbooks and required instructional supplies for poor students.

The mother charged that most parents whose children need the books do not know about the school district’s special indigent fund, and said the system for identifying the needy children “just doesn't work.”

The mother, who is on welfare said her daughter, a third grader at Northside Elementary School, waited from September until Feb. 25 to receive her mathematics textbook. (Math textbooks are the only books which third through sixth graders in the Ann Arbor elementary schools must buy. Money is proposed for the 1970-71 budget which would provide these books for some of these children, though for which grades has not yet been decided.)

The Welfare Rights Organization has asked the school board to conduct a study each spring of the anticipated need in the fall of children from low-income families, so that the books will be available in September.

The group has also asked that the board publicize the availability of free books for children from low-income families by contacting each low-income parent.

In 1969-70, a total of $2,800 was allotted to the indigent fund. This amount will not be used up by the end of this school year, according to Dr. Sam M. Sniderman, assistant superintendent for instruction.

School Board President Harold J. Lockett asked that the school district’s procedure in providing books for indigent children be reviewed, and he asked that he be kept informed about the investigation.

Rental Rules Said Violated

David Swain, editor of a Pioneer High School newspaper and a student at Pioneer, complained to the Board of Education last night that persons sponsoring a “Buck Up Your Sheriff” meeting at Pioneer High Tuesday night violated several school rules for renting school buildings.

Swain said the “no smoking” rule for minors was not enforced, the conduct of the marshals at the rally “left something to be desired” and the rate paid by the group was less than should have been paid. Swain said the rate for a fund-raising rally is $200, while the rate for a non-fund raising event is $75. Swain said the group paid only $75. He said a collection was taken up at the meeting.

Ralph LaJeunesse, comptroller at Pioneer and Huron High Schools, confirmed that the group paid only $75 to rent the room, but said he did not know there would be fundraising at the meeting when the contract was signed. He said the contract cannot be made retroactive to make the group pay the $200 fee.

43 Hirings Authorized

The Ann Arbor Public Schools’ director of personnel was authorized last night to hire some 43 new employes for 17 new job categories in the 1970-71 school year.

Most of the new categories are directly related to the proposed 1970-71 budget which allocated more than $500,000 for “prevention and remedy” for students who have social and learning problems and who become discipline problems in later Pesonnel Director Stanley Zubel also asked for and received permission to issue early contracts for more black staff and for teachers in “critical areas” such as industrial arts, mathematics, science, commercial foods, social work and diagnostic areas. Contract salaries can not be finalized, however, until a settlement is reached on a 1970-71 contract with the Ann Arbor Education Association (AAEA).

Zubel announced in March that he and his staff would launch a vigorous recruitment program this spring and summer to hire more black teachers, counselors and administrators by September.

The new job openings include: four helping teachers, three elementary librarians, a learning disabilities consultant, two reading correctionists, four new junior high counselors, a secondary reading consultant, six new high school counselors, an assistant director for special education, an assistant director for continuing education, and an attendance court liaison.