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      School Board Meeting Covers Several Topics

      Monday evening's regular school board meeting covered a wide variety of topics. Everything from new food service bids, the sinking fund and of course the Marquette teacher's contract came up for discussion.

      Chris Collins, Marquette Area Public School's Food Service Manager, advised the board to accept food service bids from Bimbo Bakeries, Jilberts, Little Caesars Pizza and Subway.

      Out of the four categories: bakery products, dairy, pizza and subs, only bakery items received more than one bid with the board choosing Bimbo over Aunt Millies.

      Collins believes that the challenge of supplying a large quantity of food which also meets new health standards to be the reason behind the small amount of interest in becoming a supplier to Marquette schools.

      Little Caesars will be tasked with creating a new, healthier pizza with a low sodium sauce, low fat cheese, whole grain crust and turkey pepperoni.

      In addition, the quality of chicken nuggets looks to be improved upon with the schools moving to "whole muscle chicken" rather than the processed chicken which previously made up the tenders.

      The sinking fund that passed last week also was a topic of discussion, with Marquette Area Public Schools Superintendent Bill Saunders calling it a "huge game changer for generations of schools to come".

      The money will be collected during the winter tax roll, and the school board expects the checks to come in by December or January.

      The school board said that next month they will be dedicating their billboard to the community to say "thank you" for the support.

      Also, the teacher's chief negotiator, Fred Cole, reminded the school board of the topic that is on every teachers mind.

      "What we're asking once again is for a fair contract. We're very glad the voters passed the sinking fund millage, that can't be used for salaries, we understand that" said Cole.

      Rich Rossway, the School Board President, said that he thinks that negotiations are on the right track for both parties, but wants to remind the community that the school system has to stay within its means.

      "It's not about what we think Marquette teachers deserve, from a financial standpoint it's about what we can afford" said Rossway.

      Rossway says Marquette Area Public Schools is facing a lack of revenue, noting that enrollment has been down the last few years and that the system has lost 1,100 students.

      Though he is optimistic that enrollment in the future will be on the rise, saying that kindergarten enrollment is up this year.