2017-07-27 / Front Page

Notable events during Chris Nelson’s three years at S-B

Following are notable events in the career of Chris Nelson as superintendent at Suttons Bay Public Schools.

 May 2014 — In a surprise move for many, Nelson was hired to replace Mike Murray, who retired as the school district head. Nelson’s work experience was not in school administration. He was director of technology and operations at Harbor Springs Public Schools.

* July 2015 — Popular band director Emily Booth-Morgan is laid off. Finds a position with Marquette Public Schools.

 July 2015 — Board amends its 2014-15 budget to reflect a $95,000 fund balance. Much of the reason for the improved financial situation is the result of concessions made by the teachers’ union.

 Nov. 8, 2015 — Voters in the school district support a bond proposed to fund building maintenance and the purchase of technology and new buses.

 May 2016 — Nelson presents conceptual plans for a proposed recreation center in Suttons Bay that calls for a nearly 80,000 square-foot facility with a price tag of $22.5 million.

 July 2016 — Nelson recommends board members begin meeting twice monthly to “improve communication and streamline the decision process.”

 December 2016 — Members of the School Board unanimously approve a 5-year contract extension and a raise from $105,000 to $110,000. “In terms of total compensation, we’re getting a bargain here,” outgoing trustee Bob Potvin said.

 January 2017 — Nelson recommends non-renewal of the Leelanau Montessori Charter Academy charter; suggests reunification under SBPS umbrella.

 February 2017 — Board backs off on scaled back plans to construct the recreation facility; seeking additional input.

Amends its budget to reflect lower-than-anticipated enrollment, dropping the district’s fund balance to $32,000.

 April 10, 2017 —Nelson receives a “highly effective” rating in his annual evaluation by board members who cited improvements in student test scores.

 May 2017 — Trustee Erik Bahle resigns abruptly from the board, which he said “has no interest in listening to or supporting community members.”

 June 2017 — School Board adopts budget with $300,000 less in revenue than previous year due to continued declining enrollment. Fund balance for 2017-18 is estimated at $25,000.

 July 5-7 — A 26-year teacher and two longterm clerical staff members are given notice of layoff.

 July 10, 2017 — Teachers unanimously reject school district’s contract offer. A fact-finder is being sought to help negotiate a contract.

 July 21, 2017 — Nelson resigns his superintendent position at special meeting.

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