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BREAKING NEWS: Dr. Micich: School district will not participate in program involving Chinese students

This news story was published on March 25, 2016.
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Dr. Anita Micich

Dr. Anita Micich

MASON CITY – Mason City School Superintendent Dr. Anita Micich responded Friday to questions about a program where Chinese students were reportedly coming to Mason City to get diplomas from Mason City High School.

After a story from the Globe Gazette that painted the program with Abroad Education as well-advanced and seemingly a “go”, NIT began to investigate as questions from the community reached our newsroom. Use of student photos and Mason City’s school logo by Abroad Education on its website as well as the absence of any approval or direction from the Mason City School Board were pointed out.

NIT wrote what amounted to an open letter to school superintendent Dr. Anita Micich Friday morning about the program, which would have brought up to a dozen Chinese kids to Mason City.  They would have paid money to Abroad Education to eventually obtain high school diplomas from the school district.

As a result of this open letter from NIT, Dr. Micich called NIT reveal that no agreement with Abroad Education will take place.

“We will not be moving ahead with this program,” Dr. Micich said.

Dr. Micich explained, specifically, that she had “no idea that student pictures were used on their website… or our logo.  I have contacted legal counsel.  I have informed Mr. Pinkham that we will not be going forward.  Too many questions moving forward.”

Dr. Micich said that she was “never informed of the website” where pictures of Mason City students and the district’s logo were used.  However, she did say she “was furious when I saw the website and we all asked that it be taken down,” referring to several other school districts that were reported to be looking into participating.  NIT is told that none of the other school districts will be participating in this program, including Clear Lake, Charles City, Hudson, West/East Waterloo and Cedar Falls.

In a school board video recorded March 21, 2016, Mason City school board members reacted to the Globe Gazette story published that same day about the program.  Despite some claims in the story that no agreement was in place, the story went into detail on dollar amounts offered by Abroad Education to the district, conversations between Dr. Micich and Executive Director of Abroad Education Tom Pinkham, numbers of Chinese students that could come to Mason City, possible classes taught by Mandarin language instructors, and more.  The story seemed to paint the program as in advanced stages of negotiations and talks.  The elected school board had heard about the program prior to the Globe’s report.  However, some board members expressed serious reservations about the program on a range of issues, such as homeland security, legal risk to the district, possible hidden costs, and more.  Dr. Micich told the board she had spent up to 25 hours working on the program with Mr. Pinkham, who had called Mason City a “leader” in the partnership.  At roughly $150.00 per hour, the cost of her time, alone, would be approximately $3,750 to the district.  She also revealed that legal counsel had been involved in the process, and that cost was not known.

Watch video of school board discussion (skip ahead to 1:42:22 mark):

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9 Responses to BREAKING NEWS: Dr. Micich: School district will not participate in program involving Chinese students

  1. Mrs. Chisolm Reply Report comment

    June 13, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    I completely understand there will be no follow through still if you see something say something. This should be reported to the FBI just on general principles.

  2. Nada Racist Reply Report comment

    March 28, 2016 at 6:57 am

    LOL at “Breaking News”

  3. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 26, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Oh poor, poor Anita. And yet another screw-up.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 26, 2016 at 6:34 am

    About time – quit trying to save the world and take care our our own flock – it’s scattered and the NWO wolves are coming to make America a 3rd world country and take away your freedoms that your forefathers fought and died for. Build the WALL – ABOLISH the Visa program as these steal jobs from our native Americans – clean house on our corrupt government – THE ANSWER IS TRUMP 2016 – The rest of the candidates are career politicans with lawyer degrees such as obummer Cruz-Sanders-clinton – all part of the Elite 1% bought and paid for by the 1% of our country that is totally CORRUPT>

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Excellent reporting, NIT.

  6. Time Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    I think this Board asks questions and gets answers.

  7. Frank Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    How many other slimy little deals are being passed under the table?

  8. LVS Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Great job Matt.

  9. LVS Reply Report comment

    March 25, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    It sure didn’t take long to get that wet dream cancelled.