Construction done, classrooms ready, Orion all set to start school August 16.

Mindy Carls

Construction will be done in time for the Orion schools to open on Tuesday, Aug. 16, Superintendent Joe Blessman told the school board on Wednesday, July 20. Classes will be in person.During the fiscal year that ended in June, the education fund increased by $1.3 million because the district used ESSER funds to pay some salaries and hired new staff to replace retirees, Blessman said.The operations and maintenance fund increased by $206,408 because the district used cleaning supplies stockpiled during the COVID-19 pandemic.The transportation fund dropped by $87,000. Orion used ESSER III funds to buy two buses and local funds for a third bus.Working cash totaled $5.7 million because of funds set aside for construction this year.Principal Nathan DeBaillie reported standardized test scores showed no learning loss during the pandemic.Autumn Manning reported Orion Music Boosters sold 36 tickets were sold for the bus trip to see "Wicked" in Chicago on Sunday, Nov. 6.Travis Noyd, new president of Orion Athletic Boosters, reported on efforts to bring in new members.Board members okayed adding Cambridge to the Orion-Sherrard soccer co-op, which will leave the team in Class 2A. It's believed three Cambridge girls and no boys are interested.A homeschooled student will be allowed to play boys soccer without attending classes at OHS, the board decided.The board approved the retirement of maintenance director Tom Hamerlinck in June 2026.Coaches hired were Cain Bernhardt, e-Sports; Amy Kayser, varsity girls track, and Zach Nelson, head wrestling coach.Joy Seys was hired as paraprofessional for library and physical education at Orion High School and Alison Youngren as paraprofessional at C.R. Hanna Elementary School.Roger Hagan was hired as a custodian.With two members absent, the board postponed until August consideration of an honorarium for volunteer coaches. Also tabled was a vote on creating a full-time position for an athletics, activities and social media director.Kim Nightingale presided in the absence of board president Peter Nedved. Member Karl Kane was absent, and member Heather Hoftender attended through an online link.