St. Helen Elementary School Building Receives No Bids

By Jennifer Jarosz
Another school year is upon us, and the former St. Helen Elementary school continues to sit empty. The building was put up for sale with sealed bids to be opened on August 15th. No bids were submitted to the RAPS board for the purchase of the vacant school building. According to the new superintendent, Kathy Ericson, the “board plans to hand over the project to a realtor to sell”.
The last time the school district closed a school they gave it to the community in which it was located for the benefit of that community. Everyone should remember the old middle school, now the CRAF center that serves a wide range of people in and around Roscommon. It was reported in the Houghton Lake Resorter that the district sold the building to the village of Roscommon in the amount of $1.00.
At this time the tax payers will continue to foot the bill for the maintenance of any empty building. If you would like to contact any of the 7 board members of RAPS you can call the 989-275-6600. The board members include Brian Hill, Randy Hartman, Kathleen Jernigan, Sonia Lake, James Scott, Kim Morley, and Brenda Jo Milner. RAPS meetings are held the third Wednesday of the month at the board office in Roscommon starting at 6:00pm.
The creation of the Charlton Heston Academy is at a standstill as we await an authorizer. The Senate Education Committee is expected to consider a reform package in early September that would allow State universities to sponsor more charter public schools. This is the time we need to step forward and contact our state legislatures and tell them the importance of opening more opportunities for commu-nities to come together and give our parents and students the choices they deserve. Smaller class sizes do matter, as does the opportunity to work and learn outside what current the public school system offers. Students need to compete globally for economic survival and the time is now to make a difference for the success of our children’s future.
State Rep. Bruce Rendon
Senator Darwin L. Booher (517) 373-1725
Phil Pavlov, chair of the education committee
Roscommon County ranks 37th among all counties in Michigan for High School drop outs at over 9%, as our neighboring counties rank even higher such as Ogemaw at 13.4%. Over 29% of our school aged children live in poverty and receive some sort of state assistance.* While this news is disturbing, the point is to help others realize what is going on in and around our community, and realize how a com-munity school could reach so many of the families that are in need. The only voices not heard are the ones who don’t speak.
You can get in touch with members of Rural Education Matters by visiting our website at or attending our monthly meeting on the first Thursday of each month at 7:00pm at the Richfield Township Hall in St. Helen.
Reprinted with permission by The FISH Newspaper September 2011 issue