BERRIEN SPRINGS — Thursday’s Berrien Springs school board meeting featured new board officers and new district goals for the 2019-20 school year.
The school board has a new president after action at the organizational meeting at the start of Thursday’s meeting. Paul Toliver is the new board president, succeeding Peg Bormann, who has been the board president for more than a decade.
Bormann said she felt it was time to step aside from being president, as she and her husband plan to do more traveling. Toliver, the Berrien Springs /Oronoko Township police chief, had been the board vice president for the last several years.
Toliver’s election as president was not unanimous. He was challenged by board member Eric Stoub, but garnered a majority of board members’ votes.
Bormann was elected vice president after another challenge from Stoub. Stoub then turned down the board treasurer job, which was then accepted by Kim Keigley. Pat DeLong remains the board secretary without any challenger.
Much of Thursday’s meeting was spent discussing board and district goals for the coming year. Superintendent Dave Eichberg said he will give a full report on the district’s goals when it comes to student achievement and expectations, at the board’s Aug. 22 meeting. He noted that many district administrators are gone this month.
Eichberg said the goals will include specific strategies and how achievement growth will be monitored. He said he will give progress reports on how the goals are being achieved in December and next June.
There was also discussion of four items Stoub suggested the board and district work on in coming months. Stoub believes it’s important for the board to have its own goals in addition to what the school district administration plans to do.
Board members didn’t vote on the list, but did give consensus approval to the items on it. His first item is to have the district increase the dollar amount of college scholarships offered to students. That total is just over $1 million and he wants to see it increase gradually to as much as $3 million.
Other items on his list included doing more to encourage vocational or career tech education opportunities for students, working with local and county entities to increase rural broadband opportunities, and encouraging district staff to do more to support high achieving students as they prepare for college.
Eichberg said he’s been talking with others in the community about the potential for more career technical education. He noted that 100 or more Berrien Springs students take part in CTE programs already.
The CTE initiative proved popular with other board members, as well. Keigley said she wants to encourage students to stay in the area by offering journeyman and other apprenticeship programs.