The president of the Scranton School District school board was more than miffed with a recent message from the Hettinger School District.
Mike Mellmer may have only a few weeks left on his term as president of the Scranton School Board, but he was upset with some changes made by the Hettinger School Board’s co-op committee.
The message from Hettinger also dropped a June deadline to sign or see the co-op contract dissolved.
“My impression is they don’t want this co-op anymore.”
As Mellmer told the people at the school board meeting Thursday (May 20), it is more like an ultimatum.
“We are not looking for a fight.... we are looking to resolve this,” he said.
It showed that he wasn’t the only member of the school board or administration when that message became the subject of more than an hour of discussion at its meeting.
“The board feels this is a never-ending process,” Mellmer said, citing the continuous stream of changes that Hettinger officials are trying to push through.
Still, the board president said he hoped that a meeting could be arranged soon with the Hettinger School board quickly to settle the problems and get another co-op contract approved.
The previous co-op agreement the two school districts are working under had been approved in April 2020.
The new proposed agreement was sent to Scranton with some changes recently that surprised both the administration and the school board, according to the board president.
Still, board vice president Andy Fisher said that he wants Scranton to be proactive. “What do we need to do to make this work.”
Throughout the evening, Fisher said the arrangement was good for both schools.
But Hettinger seemed to always be trying to make changes, the Scranton board president said.
According to Mellmer, the changes that Scranton officials disagree with started coming up right after a co-op committee meeting in Reeder.
After the meeting, one person reportedly told Scranton Superintendent John Pretzer that the original 2012 co-op agreement needed to be cleaned up. According to Pretzer, it had already been cleaned up and he promised to send a copy to Hettinger.
“They thought we were still going under the 2012 contract, which we weren’t,” Mellmer explained during the board meeting. “We already had a 2016 contract.”
A few days later, a new co-op agreement was sent to Scranton. “The changes included financial percentages, fundraising, game percentage changes, hiring practices, financial structure, bus driver fees, district transportation and equipment,” Mellmer read to the rest of the board. “This is a new contract … not a clean up. Not one of the items mentioned were discussed on Dec. 11 or were a part of the agenda.”
The superintendent said that he requested a meeting between the school boards at his school board’s direction.
“Due to the magnitude of the proposed changes, the Scranton board feels strongly that these decisions fall outside the scope of an advisory committee,” Mellmer said, quoting his superintendent’s response at the time to Hettinger officials.
However, the Hettinger school board at that time declined to have a joint meeting, cited that all the arrangements should be made by the co-op advisory committees.