11-16-2017 Coloma School Board meeting highlights students; Watervliet Public Schools receives audi

AWARD WINNING… Mem-bers of the 2017 Coloma Inter-mediate School Robotics Team with their advisor Melissa Da-vis. This is the first year for the team and they won the Innova-tion Award at the Robotics Competition held recently. (TCR photo by Annette Chris-tie


Coloma School Board meeting highlights students

By Annette Christie

The Coloma School Board received a nice treat at their Monday, November 13 meeting as the audience to their students’ talents.

The Varsity Singers performed one of the songs that they performed during the Veterans Program held this past Friday.  The new zero hour class allows students who want to take the class but didn’t have room in their schedule.  The Varsity Singers will be working on several more community outreach activities including during this upcoming Christmas holiday.

Two students in the high school worked with their machine tool teacher to find a remedy for a well cover problem on school grounds.  Brandon Sutherland and Dale Noack designed, measured, welded, and created a new well cover under the direction of teacher Chuck Luchies.  The item, which could have cost the school a whole lot more, ended up being about $600 in materials and about two weeks of the students’ work to turn it out.

Some Intermediate students showed off a trophy they recently received during a robotics competition.  This is the first year that students at the 4th and 5th grade levels have been able to do this activity. The project that the team created won the Innovative Solutions Award when they produced a prototype of an ozone cleaning product for water fountains in schools.  The team of nine students showed how they can keep their water fountains germ free.    School Board member Doug Kraemer said the Coloma team was impressive as they competed against the 22 teams that were at the event.

Weapon Free School Zone and cameras on buses discussed

Superintendent Pete Bush updated the board on some legislation that could allow concealed weapons to be carried on school grounds without any say from school districts.  Bush said the legislation has gotten through the Senate and is headed for the House.    Bush said they have heard that the Governor vetoed a bill similar to it years prior. While the Governor hasn’t expressed interest in it he hasn’t spoken out against it that they are aware of. Bush said if it passes, “We will no longer be able to be a weapon free school zone.”  Bush said he and many other school superintendents expressed their feelings against the bill to their Senator, however he voted in favor.

Some discussion was held following an inquiry as to how the cameras in buses were working. Bush said the cameras have been used on the buses and the video footage obtained has been used to clear some things up when situations have happened on the buses. Bush pointed out the bus drivers cannot see everything and keep their eyes on the road and the cameras have helped. They have run into a situation where a parent has asked to see the video footage of an incident their child was involved in but the school will not allow that due to other students’ privacy.  Elementary School Principal John Klein said that the video capability does clarify a lot of things when situations happen on the bus.  Junior High Principal Wendy Tremblay added that the quality of the footage is incredibly clear.

Action on proposal from Freshwater Church delayed

A proposal from Freshwater Church to make some improvements to the facility that they lease under the terms of a longer term lease, is still on hold.  Presented at last month’s meeting  Freshwater Church, which leases the old middle school north, asked the district for a more long term lease option and approval to make some improvements to the space they use, add air conditioning, and add some more permanent signage.

Bush took the proposal to their attorney for a legal review and the attorney had some questions and changes on parts of the proposal.  The board received the attorney’s suggestions and questions just this past Friday.  With that, the board decided to take more time to look over what came from their attorney before making a decision.   Justin VanFerrari speaking for the organization said he was fine with the board taking more time to review the proposal and agreement.  He said he is 100% behind the district and the board and that the church is not going anywhere.  Currently the lease for the two parties runs year to year.  Freshwater has been leasing from the district since 2010. The church pays the school approximately $5,000 – $6,000 annually.