2018-01-18 / Views

Suttons Bay set for positive future

Good moves, Suttons Bay.

The Suttons Bay Board of Education is moving in the right decision by seeking to extend the contract for its “interim” superintendent Mike Carmean, and making its break with the Leelanau County Montessori Academy as painless as possible on the people who matter the most.

We especially like Mr. Carmean’s words when relaying a request from the Montessori community to extend a lease to continue using the old Suttons Bay middle school on a month-to-month basis.

“Take everything else out of the picture and concentrate on the what’s best for the kids. Kids in the county, state and country are my kids also ... leave it at that,” Mr. Carmean told the School Board.

School Board members authorized Mr. Carmean to work out a lease to allow the academy to remain on the Suttons Bay campus on a month-to-month basis next fall. Our take is that Mr. Carmean brought fresh eyes to a long standoff between Montessori and Suttons Bay Public School, which compete for the same student pool.

While Montessori families remain true to the academy, eventually their students will pick a high school. By extending a hand today, there’s a better chance those Montessori students will become Norsemen tomorrow.

And there’s no guarantee that Montessori’s plan to buy and renovate the Connie Binsfeld Resource Center in Lake Leelanau will succeed. The school community’s ability to raise funds, find grants and borrow money will make that determination.

Should the effort fall short, Suttons Bay Public School would welcome Montessori students into its ample classroom space.

Extending Mr. Carmean’s contract without the “interim” tag lines up the district nicely for the future, both in terms of leadership and finances.

This summer he took over a District facing an uncertain financial future, labor union discontent, and a leadership void after the unexpected and swift resignation of former superintendent Chris Nelson.

The financial picture has brightened with an influx of students and lower administrative costs that can be credited directly to Mr. Carmean, who agreed to work part time. Now he’s offered to come out of retirement to work about 80 percent of the time.

We recall when Suttons Bay and Glen Lake hired a shared superintendent to save money. This is a better arrangement.

Kudos to the Suttons Bay community and its Board of Education for these positive developments.

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