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08-11-06 Debate ends with new Tri Star pact

By William Kincaid

  COLDWATER -- The Coldwater Exempted Village School board of education finally approved the Tri Star agreement Tuesday night after debating the school's role in the program's future for over half-a-year.

  But both board members and Superintendent Rich Seas say they have no intention of ending the hard-hitting questions they have posed to Tri Star over the last six months. Coldwater is the last school to sign the agreement.

  "I want to make it real clear that our discussions are not meant to take away from other school boards ... other superintendents," Seas said during the regular Tuesday meeting.

  Seas and the board of education members said at the July 13 regular board meeting that they were pleased with Tri Star Director Tim Buschur's recent progress, but believe the program needs much more direction and input from all participating schools.

  Board President Linda Steinbrunner is still unhappy with the five year Tri Star Agreement because of its terms of agreement. After the forthcoming five-year period is over, the contract can be renewed on mutual agreement of all districts for additional periods of up to twenty years.  "I think it's inappropriate and totally irresponsible," she said of the possibility of another twenty-year agreement. "In today's age, I think that's crazy."

  As technology and vocations continually change every year, Steinbrunner said the program should be progressive in order to meet the needs of the kids, and its curriculum should be reviewed more often.

  Board member Eugene Homan recommended that perhaps an outside consultant be brought in every few years or when a new agreement is in consideration to evaluate Tri Star and its curriculum.

  But board member Joe Eichler brought up the possibility of dropping Tri Star altogether in the future and maybe contracting with Apollo Career Center, Lima,

  "Apollo has a good program," board member Jerry Meyer

said. "There's nothing wrong with Apollo coming in and running our program."

  Seas said the board's recent criticisms of Tri Star -- which he believes are intended to improve an important program -- have at least "generated some discussion" around the area and raised some eyebrows, if nothing else.

  The new five-year agreement will be effective in September. Coldwater is the last school to sign on to the agreement.

  Even if Coldwater hadn't signed, it would still be in place because six of the nine participating schools had already approved it.

  Coldwater, in addition to Celina and St. Marys, houses Tri Star facilities within the school.


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