State budget cuts impact Mason High School funding

By Micaela Colonna
Mason Times staff writer

Listen to an audio report.

The 2008 recession and state funding cuts have meant losses in almost all areas of Mason Public Schools. This has meant some trimming and searches for new revenue in many departments including academic, athletic, arts and personnel. Custodial groups have taken hourly wage cuts to prevent privatization, administrative and faculty positions were eliminated and district-funded sports have become self-funded. Shelbi Frayer, executive director of business and finance at Mason Public Schools, said the changes are a result of the decrease in state funding.

Mason tennis team

The Mason Varsity Tennis team practices indoors on a rainy school afternoon. They have experienced the impact of a decreased budget in the form of equipment cuts.

“We wouldn’t have to make such drastic changes such as losing HR if we didn’t have a cut in funding,” said Frayer. “We would definitely have a lot more programming for students, buses, etc. You learn to be more frugal and live without.”

With the assistance of teachers, Principal Lance Delbridge of Mason High School allocates funds allotted by the Mason Board of Education. Frayer said the focus is primarily on academics. If extracurricular activities such as sports want to expand, they have to do it on their own, as the district does not plan to add money to these budgets.

Greg Lattig, district athletic director of Mason High School, said 500 students at the high school play sports. He said the athletics department has had budget cuts of more than $100,000 over the past five years.

“We’ve cut coaching staff, lower-level programs, programs at the middle school, and some things have become self-funded,” said Lattig. “We’ve significantly reduced our equipment budget and eliminated two-way transportation.”
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Mason High School hosts district robotics competition

By Daniel Hamburg
Mason Times staff writer

Mason High School is hosting over 1,500 students, faculty and family from across Michigan for the 2014 Lansing FIRST Robotics District Competition on Friday and Saturday.

With hundreds of teams throughout Michigan, qualifying district events like this allow teams to earn points to get to the state championship and possibly the world championship.

“Unlike other educational competitive events, instead of trying to disqualify people, you’re always trying to encourage them and help them and get their designs working right,” said Mason High School Teacher Ben Shoemaker. “Gracious professionalism and coopertition are the two big things that we push. We want people to be gracious and professional about how they carry themselves, and also to help their teammates and help their opponents be as good as they can too.”

To see the full schedule of events this weekend, click here.

Mason students receive free tuition at The Early College at LCC

By Amanda Cowherd
Mason Times staff writer

Science teacher David McCreight explains physics concepts to Birdie Hall, of Mason.

Science teacher David McCreight explains physics concepts to Birdie Hall, of Mason.

On Monday, Feb. 10, Steve Rosales showed a presentation about The Early College at LCC, a free program he directs, to the Mason Board of Education.

All Ingham County sophomores are invited to apply to The Early College, informally known as TEC. Students in TEC leave their high schools and receive a blended high school and college education for three years. Rosales, who works for Lansing Community College, compared the program to taking an 11th, 12th and 13th grade program. The Ingham Intermediate School District officials choose applicants by lottery.

Rosales said the biggest selling point of The Early College is its free tuition and books. The Ingham Intermediate School District and Lansing Community College fund the program.

“Going to college for free is the best thing we could ever dream of,” Lindsay Coker, who lives in Mason and started TEC in August 2013, said. “I hope to get my associate’s degree before my older brothers, so I can rub it in their faces.”
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Mason High School Chamber Music Concert continues after numerous snow days

By Graciella Oteto

Mason Times Staff Writer

The annual Mason High School Chamber Music Concert took place casually and briefly Wednesday night, despite after-school activities being cancelled due to weather. Bad weather created an unusual chamber music concert in Mason High school, in which students could either perform a solo, be part of an ensemble or stay home. In spite of all after school activities being cancelled due to weather conditions, the concert took place at 8 p.m. as planned.

Mason High School band teacher, Beth Bousfield takes notes as she watches the students perform.

– Mason High School band teacher, Beth Bousfield takes notes as she watches the students perform.

“Whoever comes to the door, can perform whatever they’d like to,” said Mason High School and Middle School band teacher, Beth Bousfield.

According to Bousfield, this is the first time something like this has ever happened, but she was ready to proceed after sending an email to parents, letting them know the concert was still on for those who were willing to attend.

From the beginning of the trimester, Mason High School had only 10 school days in January, due to 8 snow days. “This will be the first time I haven’t seen them play before a concert…I usually see them a few times and work with them beforehand,” said Bousfield.

With 8 snow days so far, the school district can only wait and see what the state plans on doing with the high number of snow days. Mason schools are allowed a total of six snow days without penalty, but with eight and possibly more, the state could decide to relax the rules for making up the days. Continue reading

Mason High School Solo and Ensemble Concert goes on despite the weather

By Amanda Cowherd
Mason Times staff writer

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, Mason High School faculty cancelled all after-school activities. The band teacher, Beth Bousfield, had planned to have chamber music concerts at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to prepare her students for the Solo and Ensemble Festival on Saturday, Feb. 8. Bousfield emailed parents, offering students the opportunity to practice if they drove through the snow. A few students, including a trumpeter, a pianist and a violinist, showed up and performed for an audience of about 10. Several of these students went to festivals hosted by the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association in previous years and scored highly with the judges. With snow forecast for Saturday, students would have to brave the cold again to compete in the festival at Haslett High School.

Mason High School misses state target on school performance

Executive Director of Curriculum Chris Kamenski discusses Accountability Scorecards at the Mason School Board meeting on Sept. 9, 2013.

Executive Director of Curriculum Chris Kamenski discusses Accountability Scorecards at the Mason School Board meeting on Sept. 9, 2013.

By Abbie Newton
Mason Times staff writer

The Michigan Department of Education reported that Mason High School did not meet 50 percent of the state requirements, said the director of curriculum for Mason public schools.

This sample Accountability Scorecard shows the content areas of mathematics, science, reading, writing and social studies.

The Michigan Department of Education released the new Accountability Scorecard for Mason Public Schools.

Executive Director of Curriculum Chris Kamenski told the Mason School Board on Sept. 9 that the new Accountability Scorecard graded each school in the state.

It graded each on student participation and proficiency on state exams, graduation rates, attendance rates, teaching, and school improvement.

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Prescription Drug Task Force working to keep Mason safe

Prescription drugs confiscated by the Mason P.D.

Prescription drugs confiscated by the Mason P.D. Photo credit, Mason P.D.

by Henrik Blix
Mason Times staff writer

MASON—Prevention and education. Those are the methods Mason leaders are using to address prescription drug abuse.

Police Chief John Stressman said the police department’s job is more about prevention than enforcement.

“We’re trying to get ahead of the game,” Stressman said. “We’re proactive and aggressive about preventing problems before they get started.”

According to the police department’s annual report, drug offenses accounted for 16 of 221, just over 7 percent, of total arrests in 2012.

Some of the drugs obtained by the Mason P.D. through the take back program

Some of the drugs obtained by the Mason P.D. through the take back program. Photo credit, Mason P.D.

Mason’s police department is one of the first to participate in Ingham County’s year-round pharmaceutical take-back program, said Sandy Stacy, the department’s evidence manager. She said the program helps collect unused and expired prescriptions, which keeps them out of medicine cabinets and off the streets. Mason residents can deposit their unused prescription drugs in a marked container inside city hall.

Stressman said there was some proliferation of possession and use of those drugs by school-age youth, which led to the foundation of the Capital Area Prescription Drug Task Force in 2011.

Stressman said the task force involves the police department, the Mason Public Schools, the 55th District Court, Families Against Narcotics and several others.

The police department’s annual report said the task force recently became involved with Families Against Narcotics, a group in southeast Michigan that helps addicts and their families. Continue reading

School Board approves field trips to Germany, France

By Andrea Raby
Mason Times staff writer

On March 11, the Mason School Board approved two field trips for Mason High School students studying German and French to put their languages into practice.


These trips, which occur every three years, will take place July of 2014. French teacher Margaret Cottrill leads a trip through France and German teacher Monica Norton leads a trip through Germany and parts of Switzerland.

“This is the third time that I have been taking a group here from Mason,” Norton said. “Along the way we see a lot of historical sites and a lot of important sites for the language. We do a lot of really cool experiences for the kids.” Continue reading

Mason School Board signs preliminary agreement

By Cody Harrell
Mason Times staff writer

MASON—The Mason School Board announced Monday that this fall, students will be able to learn college credits while studying at Mason High School.

The agreement would allow high school students to earn community college credit while completing their graduation requirements at the high school. According to Mason School District Trustee Peter Curtis, this agreement is meant to help create a more seamless transition between education levels.

“This is a great opportunity for students to get a running start for college,” Curtis said.
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Mason High School students put on brave faces to help save lives

By BriAnn Harvey
Mason Times staff writer

MASON — Eighty Mason High School students put aside their fear of needles, blood and missed class to help save a life on Feb. 28.

The American Red Cross along with six MHS student senate members set up at 6 a.m. and tore down at 2:45 p.m. The Student Senate hosted this blood drive, and it was the second of three that it hosts every year. Twelve S.S members worked the drive throughout the day.

Kathy Omillian, MHS Student Senate Advisor, said these blood drives are only open to the student body and staff because of school security issues.

Out of the 80 students who signed up to donate, only 60 met all the regulations the American Red Cross puts up.

Not only did Mason High School students help save a life, they also raised scholarship money in the process. For every pint of blood the Red Cross collects, the Red Cross will give money to the student senate. The senate gives 150 pints to the Red Cross every year.

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