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      Marquette Area Public School board delays realignment decision again

      During Monday night's Marquette Area Public School (MAPS) Board of Education meeting, a decision on the realignment of grade levels for the school district was moved to December 2.

      School board members said, until then, they will continue to review the proposed changes.

      One option discussed at the October 29 meeting would move the district's alternative high school program from the Graveraet building to the Vandenboom school. To make that happen, the district would end the current lease with the YMCA. Graveraet would then become a kindergarten through fifth grade elementary school.

      "We've been ongoing since, I think, the second week of August, having the discussion about realignment, and financial is always a huge concern, and we do want to appease as many groups as possible," said MAPS Interim Superintendent Bill Saunders.

      One parent complained about the long school bus rides for students attending Superior Hills Elementary. The bus ride can last up to an hour. The board announced at the meeting they are looking into the long bus ride to see how the issue can be resolved.

      During the meeting, Saunders also said the recently approved Marquette Board of Light and Power increase means the school district will see an eight percent increase in its electric bill. The increase means the district will pay about $40,000 more. Before the increase, Saunders said the district was paying, in total, about $500,000.

      Test scores were also brought up during the meeting. Those in attendance said students should not be judged by test scores, and more factors should be looked at when it comes to the performance of a school. Saunders said the state requires tests, like the Michigan Educational Assessment Program.

      "There isn't another option, but we do have other scores that we can use that are different than what the state score is that gives you, not a moving target; tt's the same test, it's the same score. So you can really compare student-to-student to see, are they really improving or are they taking a random test that gets scored differently," Saunders said.