Alcona holds off review of superintendent

LINCOLN – Review of Alcona Community Schools Superintendent Shawn Thornton’s performance has been delayed, because board memeber William Cordes was unable to make the meeting. The delay was requested by board President Mark Feldhiser and approved by the board.

Each year, Thornton is evaluated by board members during a session that is closed to the public and the results are made public afterward, Business Manager Alan Shillair said.

However, the board still had plenty to do.

It set a date of June 24 to hold its annual budget hearing, a session that will follow its regularly scheduled meeting. The district has been facing budget shortfalls since 2007 because of declining enrollment and a drop in funding from the state. The district receives 18 mills from property owners, Shillair said Monday. The board also will discuss school bonds and assess how much money will be coming to the district. The state’s contribution is always an unknown, he said.

Thornton said the school is continuing to work on scheduling and other options to reduce costs, and said the biggest priority is to make sure the right classes are available so students can meet all graduation requirements.

Attrition could help, she and others said. On Monday, 11 resignations were announced, including that of FFA agriscience teacher Brian Matchett, and support staff members. Matchett has accepted a position with Michigan State University. Long-time elementary school secretary Sharon Schefferly also will be stepping down, but will stay on for a few weeks in the fall to train a replacement, Thornton said.

Of the remaining pool of teachers, the administrators will pair their certifications and qualifications with classes students need, Thornton said.

“We reorganize everybody based on teaching certifications to provide a program students need,” she said.

The board will have the final say in the changes to be made, she said, adding that a position for an agriscience instructor to replace Matchett is being advertised. But it doesn’t mean the school has to hire one of those candidates.

The board still has a lot to explore and discuss, she said, but there aren’t any other meetings scheduled for this month, so the board may need to hold a special session to address budget and program options. May 27, the school board’s next regularly scheduled board meeting, is Memorial Day.

In other business:

  • the 2013 senior high school graduation at 2 p.m. June 2 will be broadcast online through a program of the Michigan High School Athletic Association. The website is at

23 seniors have received a total of $127,100 in scholarships to pursue college degrees.

most seniors who graduated in 2012 chose to attend the two-year program at Alpena Community College; 20 enrolled in Saginaw Valley State University, 17 at Central Michigan University; 14 students were accepted to the University of Michigan; nine enrolled in Michigan State University and six attended Michigan Technological University.

school board member Linda Champagne attended several exploratory meetings with the Alcona County Commission on Aging. A group of senior representatives, educators and county officials is looking at the possibility of turning unused class space over to senior citizens for their activities. A group discussed space available on the school campus, security issues for seniors and youth, and meal and kitchen arrangements. Champagne said the amount of rent the commission on aging has budgeted is around $50,000 a year, and the group is interested in a long-term lease.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.