Archive - Apr 28, 2010

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Clinton School Board to address mascot issue at special meeting

mascot top story pic.jpg

CLINTON — Over the past 18 months there has been a great deal of discussion regarding the Clinton Community Schools mascot.

In an effort to further demonstrate the democratic process, the Clinton Community School Board of Education will hold a special school board meeting to specifically address the mascot issue. The meeting will be held Thursday, April 29, at 7:07 p.m. in the Clinton High School gymnasium.

District residents and alumni with Native American heritage are urged to attend the meeting and share their thoughts during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Individuals interested in presenting their thoughts on the mascot issue are encouraged to attend this meeting but are strongly encourage to be appreciative of the views of others and to share individual thoughts and beliefs in a calm and appropriate manner.

Parents question proposed changes for students with impairments


Several parents of students who have cognitive impairments asked for time to express their concerns at Monday night’s Tecumseh School Board meeting regarding the possibility of entering into an agreement to share services with the Adrian School District as a potential cost-saving measure, a move some said they had only learned about through a newspaper article after an Adrian board meeting.  

The possibility was also mentioned at an April 12 Tecumseh School Board meeting with Supt. Mike McAran stating that with special education numbers down, the district would be looking at Level II Special Education programs and the possibility of sharing services with Adrian for an estimated cost savings of $70,000 to $100,000. He said that LISD Director of Instructional Services Kelly Coffin would be available at a future board meeting, and she attended the April 26 meeting.

Coffin said all Lenawee County districts except Adrian and Tecumseh have been entering into the annually reviewed agreements to share certain special education services for several years. Exploring such sharing of programs also is part of state-initiated directives to look into collaboration and consolidation possibilities. She said that up until now, Adrian and Tecumseh have been offering independent programs for the students with mild cognitive impairments.

The plan under consideration would be that Tecumseh would send students with cognitive impairments in grades K-4, currently housed at Sutton Elementary School, to Adrian, and Adrian would send its students from grades five and six to Tecumseh next year, and those students would remain at Tecumseh through eighth grade as Adrian phases out its seventh and eighth grade program. Students would spend grades 9-12 in their home districts, graduating with their peers.

MESSA hikes health insurance costs 15.6 percent for teachers


As revenue sources continue to decrease and expenses continue to increase, Tecumseh Chief Financial Officer Bill Wright told Tecumseh School Board members Monday night that the administration continues to work on the 2010-2011 budget while attempting to finish up this year’s budget.

“There are all kinds of things taking place in Lansing,” Wright said, reminding the board members of potential Senate proposal cuts as well as rising retirement rates that the school will have to pay, a loss of some special education funds, and health insurance increases. Wright said the district recently learned that MESSA insurance rates would go up 15.6 percent for the 2010-11 school year, costing the district approximately $300,000 more. He said the Foundation Allowance that the district started with was $7,316 and as of last week was down to an estimated $6,921 per student.

“Unfortunately, it’s going in the wrong direction,” Wright said.

Wright developed a preliminary analysis of next year’s budget situation by estimating costs using three scenarios involving declining student enrollment, using the loss of 140 students, 100 students, and 75 students. Assuming the district could lose up to 140 students, and adding in known or expected costs and revenues, Tecumseh Public Schools could expect a total projected budget shortfall of $2,932,265 for fiscal year 2010-2011.

District officials have been working within the board’s Finance Committee to develop lists of possible cost-savings areas that could still be tapped to help make up the shortfall. With proposed budget cuts still under development of $1,961,282, the shorfall would be reduced to $970,983, and leave a fund balance of $540,684.

Downtown Tecumseh’s 3rd Annual Art Walk is Friday

Downtown Tecumseh merchants have partnered with the Lenawee Council for the Visual Arts (LCVA) and Community Arts of Tecumseh, as well as  regional artists, to host the Third Annual Art Walk on Friday, April 30, from 6-9 p.m. in downtown Tecumseh. 

Twenty-two downtown merchants will host various guest artists, showcasing live demonstrations by the artists with complimentary refreshments. Artwork will be on hand for purchase. 

Participating businesses include: August Company, Bad Hair Day?, Basil Boys, Boulevard Market, British Pantry, Burdick and Associates, Classic Interiors, Chicago Street Suite, The Daily Grind, Edward Jones Investments, Evans Street Station, Grey Fox Floral, Great Ideas, Ground Zero, Pentamere Winery, River Raisin Gallery, Tecumseh Coins, Tilton & Sons Shoes, Timeless Stitches, The Yarn Basket, The Wild Iris, and the Tecumseh Area Chamber of Commerce. As a special treat Ground Zero will feature live Cajun music.

Maps will be available at all participating merchants to help “walkers” navigate through downtown Tecumseh and the Third Annual Art Walk.  For more information, contact Paula Holtz at 424-6003.

Toledo’s WTOL Channel 11 will have a live segment on News 11 Your Day for the Art Walk. Broadcasters will be in front of the depot between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m. on Friday, April 30, filming the spots. The spots will run between 9 and 10 a.m. on WTOL Channel 11 during News 11 Your Day.

In addition, WLEN will have a Live Broadcast from the chamber office from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday for the Art Walk

Special meeting conduct should not tarnish either side

An open letter to the Clinton Community:

By now you are all aware that this Thursday the Clinton School Board is holding a special meeting to consider input from those for and against changing the school’s nickname and mascot.  We applaud the intent of such a meeting, but worry greatly about the actual impact.  

A single mass meeting at which speakers are limited to a few minutes may be more conducive to an argument in which people talk at each other, rather than the kind of reasoned debate necessary to address such a sensitive issue.  It doesn’t help matters that the meeting is being held in the gymnasium under a painted banner reading “This is Redskin Country.”

We recognize that Clinton is proud of the Redskins name and history.  Certainly those who wish to keep the name intend it as a symbol of character and strength.  We hope they will conduct themselves accordingly on Thursday and not engage in conduct that would tarnish the noble image they believe the name represents.

We also recognize that many see the name as offensive both on its own and because of the chants, costumes and other behavior it produces.  For those who are offended, this is a matter of pride and history.   We hope they too will conduct themselves accordingly on Thursday and not engage in conduct that would tarnish the noble image they seek to defend.

Because this is a difficult and already divisive issue, we believe it is ultimately best addressed by a process of facilitated discussion; not a mass meeting in the gym we fear is likely to resemble a pep rally.  

‘Once a Redskin, always a Redskin,’ CHS alum says

To the Editor,

The current debate about the Clinton Redskin mascot by the Geiger girls reaches far beyond the borders of the village.

Watch out Tecumseh, they may be coming for you next!  You have an Indian as your school mascot.  The City of Tecumseh uses an Indian head on all of its signage and literature.  Should the city be renamed “Musgrove Evansville?”  Should all of the streets that bear Indian names be renamed?

This request to change a mascot is just the tip of an iceberg.  Next, some animal rights group is going to say that schools can’t have Panthers, Tigers, Wildcats or Bulldogs because they are being portrayed too viciously!  Must all mascot names be benign Maple Leafs, Blue Streaks or Patriots?  I am sure someone, somewhere down the line will come up with an opposition to those seemingly “safe” names, too.

Some of the best times of my life were had in the Clinton Community School district.  I was proud to be a Redskin and represent my school in academics, athletics and choir.  My teachers and coaches promoted teamwork, pride, strength of character and the desire to do your best at all times.  They did not promote any type of racism or negativity in the promotion of our Redskin school mascot.  Our Chief does not represent a negative stereotype of Native American heritage.  He was and is always meant to instill pride of self, school and community; both on and off the athletic field and into our daily lives.

It is just an opinion, but I get the feeling that the Geiger girls may not have had such a good time while they were students at CHS. Could this attack on the mascot simply be a way to get back at a school system and student body that they feel somehow wronged or mistreated them?  Are they trying to get even somehow?

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