APS board votes to follow Common Core standards

ALPENA – Alpena Public Schools Board of Education approved supporting Common Core State Standards at its meeting on Monday. The resolution to support the common core standards is being circulated within schools in Michigan, and already has been approved by the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District.

“The Michigan Department of Education wanted to put the breaks on and say ‘we don’t want you to do anything with common core.’ Now the state superintendent interpreted it to read anything that has anything to do with common core, you can’t do,” Superintendent Brent Holcomb said. “It affects Title I funding and we can’t access things we need to do on the website. We’re just all sitting in neutral. It’s an inconvenience and more work.”

The common core standards don’t dictate a curriculum or prescribe a certain method of instruction. The standards outline the knowledge and skills students need in English/language arts and mathematics that lead to career and college readiness.

In a letter from the Michigan Department of Education to APS, the department states the impact of the suspension on common core implementation prohibits the Department of Education from “appropriating any funds for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards or the Smarter Balanced Assessments unless it receives approval through an affirmative action by the legislature.”

According to the letter, the Department of Education cannot process federal Title I consolidated applications, or keep open the Michigan Online Resource for Educators online portal for educators and students until action is taken.

In other business:

* the board approved the purchase of a 2014, 77-passenger bus from Zaremba Equipment, Inc. for $78,900. The bid from Zaremba met all the specifications by the board, offers a five-year warranty, and will include the purchase of the bus red flagged by the Michigan State Police during annual inspections earlier this month. The old bus will be sold for $850.

* snow plow bids were awarded to three different companies: Morgan Forest Products was awarded a three-year contract to plow Alpena High School, Thunder Bay Junior High, Besser, Sunset, and Long Rapids; Alpena Lawn Care will plow ACES, Hinks, Ella White, and Lincoln; and Hugh A. Brown will plow Central Office, Sanborn, Wilson, and the transportation center.

* the board adopted a resolution to apply for seven of eight Best Practices, making the school eligible for an additional $52 per student. This is the third year APS will be applying for Best Practices, and has received the additional funding for the previous two years.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at ngrulke@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.