By Sterling McGinn

Change is on its way to the Newberry High School Athletic Department as director, Kenn Depew, informed the Tahquamenon Area Schools (TAS) Board of Education of his intent to leave the position in June.

Depew’s letter, along with several other staff resignation letters were part of the agenda of the March meeting of the TAS Board held Monday, March 20.

Though Depew will be leaving the school’s athletic department, his letter informed the board that he is planning to teach full time for TAS. He is planning to take another MTTC test and is interested in teaching math or history.

After discussion, the board voted to accept his resignation effective June 30, 2023, which is when his contract ends.

Another resignation letter was received by a member of the high school teaching staff. Carly Dubay, 9-12 grade science teacher, will leave the district as the end of this school year.

“She is going and starting a family and we wish her the best,” said TAS Superintendent Stacy Price. “She has indicated that she is interested in staying on with the yearbook and robotics groups.”
Veteran high school coach and former TAS teacher Lori Fair will retire after 37 years of coaching track and cross country. “She will be missed a lot,” Price said. “I knew this was coming, but we had to make it official.”

TAS bus driver Richard Hakala submitted his letter of retirement as of March 20.

“We wish Mr. Hakala the best, but this does put us in a predicament with buses and bus routes,” Price explained. “There will be some rotation after spring break, and that information will be given out to parents.”

One member of the public spoke to the board during public comment that evening. Pete Wurdock, a member of the library staff, expressed concerns of vandalism and bullying in the building.

He described the current conditions of some of the facilities’ bathrooms, along with carvings made by students on the walls of the stalls.

“You can see how the bathroom is inoperable, and things have been ripped off the wall so many times,” he said.

“Most bullying isn’t reported for fear of retribution, and when it is not taken seriously by the school, students often take matters into their own hands.”

He described some incidents regarding bullying within the district.

No information or board comment was given to Wurdock, as the board is not allowed to deliberate with the public during the meeting.

In her administration and bond report, Stacy Price said that she is meeting with Luce County Sheriff Eric Gravelle, Prosecutor Josh Freed and probation officers regarding students vaping in the facility.

Manistique Area Schools, in conjunction of the Youth Tobacco Act, recently announced that a student found in procession of a vaping devise will be reported to the City of Manistique Public Safety and will result in a civil infraction.

Price has been in contact with the Manistique Area Schools Superintendent and Principal regarding their situation.

Price also noted that upcoming bond construction will be behind schedule due to an increase of asbestos found in the newer portion of the building, where the middle and high school students will be relocated after construction is completed.

“This summer, the focus will be on asbestos abatement… I am very much waiting on a timeline and what can be done,” she said.

The asbestos removal work will begin at the end of this school year.

Finally, the board convened in closed session near the end of the meeting to discuss a negotiation strategy.