The following story is courtesy of our partners at WJMN Local Three News
Last month, the Michigan Department of Education ended the Early Middle College Program at the Gladstone and Rapid River Schools. The program allowed Gladstone and Rapid River students to attend five years of high school and once they receive their diploma, they also earn a community college associate degree through Bay College at no cost.
The schools’ superintendent, Dr. Jay Kulbertis, who was leading the program admits that between incorrect paperwork, timing issues and opting all of the students into the program, they did not follow state guidelines.
Dr. Kulbertis says, “They wanted a narrow focus, specific pathways, really detailed and well charted out. We were looking for a broader focus. As many students involved as we could, with as many college options as we could include so that they had their options open to them.”
The Gladstone and Rapid River school boards met Tuesday night to agree on consequences for the schools’ superintendent
Linda Howlett, Gladstone Board President says, “The board finds that Dr. Kulbertis acted with negligence and disregard of the Early Middle College rules and regulations. The results of his actions were not in the district’s best interests.”
Kulbertis will be issued a letter of reprimand that will be kept in his personnel file.
A corrective action plan will be taken where Kulbertis must improve communications and relationships with the board, school, community partners and other educational leaders at the state and local level. The plan will also ensure protocols with people regarding rules, laws and regulations and attend training through a recognized organization.
Kulbertis is to also discontinue his involvement with the Early Middle College Program if it continues in the future.
He will also forgo his salary increase for 2018 that is in his contract.
The Rapid River Public Schools Board of Education released the following statement:
“The Rapid River Board of Education has put much time and effort into reaching tonight’s resolution. Some may be happy with our decision, some may not be. Whatever your opinion, please realize, we did not come to this decision lightly. We did our homework, conducting numerous meetings, phone calls, conversations and inquiries to get the facts.”
“We reached out to our local ISD, The Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Association of School Boards on several occasions for advice, information and guidance. We contacted out attorneys at True and Law Firm for legal advice and guidance. Leaders from our board worked closely with leaders from the Gladstone Board holding frequent meeting and conversions to ensure all facts were shared.”
“We considered input from faculty, staff and concerned community members. Our board stands unanimously behind this resolution of reprimand that is based on the facts, not opinions or thoughts. We are holding Dr, Kulbertis accountable for his actions. While this is a blow to our students and district, we move on. We continue to bring the best options forth the best options for our students so that they receive the best education possible.”