April 17, 2014 | Vol. 95, No. 91

Consolidation informational meetings planned for April 29, May 8

$700 awarded to GOISD by Michigan Department of Education for consolidation transition

BERGLAND — The Gogebic Ontonagon Intermediate School District is hosting two informational meetings dealing with possible consolidation of the Bessemer and Wakefield-Marenisco School districts.

Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe
BRUCE MAYLE superintendent of the GOISD.

The first meeting is April 29 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Gogebic Community College in Ironwood. The second meeting is May 8 at the Marenisco Township Hall from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

According to Bruce Mayle, superintendent of the GOISD, the meetings are “not debates” about possible consolidation, but a chance for residents to learn more about the consolidation process.

“This is not a debate,” Mayle said. “This is allowing people to get actual facts concerning consolidation rather than from a second or third party.”

The GOISD applied for money through Section 22g funds through the Michigan Department Education. The funding is used to help school districts transition into consolidations, and according to Mayle, the GOISD was awarded $700.

Some of the funding the GOISD received is reserved or restricted, based on whether the consolidation issue moves forward.

What prompted the GOISD to apply for grant funding was a group of citizens putting together a petition to have the consolidation issue placed on the ballot during the May 6 election. According to a letter from Gogebic County clerk Gerry Pelissero, the citizens have 60 days from March 12 to turn in the necessary number of signatures to have the item placed on the ballot.

Because of the GOISD involvement in the matter, some citizens have spoken during Bessemer School Board meetings saying the GOISD should remain partial and Mayle was biased towards consolidation.

However, Mayle said those comments are “totally incorrect.”

“I have to remain totally neutral,” Mayle said. “One of the things that will be presented during the informational meetings is the state law that specifies my role and involvement in this.”

Both meetings are free and open to the public.

“We will have cards out so people can ask questions, but the presentation may answer some of the questions people have,” Mayle said.

“If people are interested in learning about what is involved with the consolidation process, they should come. We’ll also be talking about declining enrollments, state law regarding consolidation and financial trends throughout the area’s school districts.”

For more information, call the GOISD office at 906-575-3438.