Steve Giorgi was on hand at last week’s meeting of the Independent School District 318 Board of Directors to give a presentation on behalf of RAMS (Range Association of Municipalities and Schools). He’s executive director of the organization.
Giorgi started his presentation by stating the purpose of RAMS - to represent schools, townships, and municipalities on the Iron Range with one unified voice on regional issues. He said the organization is made up of about 46 public entities, including all 15 school districts in the Taconite Tax Relief Area. The organization is funded by monies from the taconite tax and its board is made up of a cross section of 24 publicly elected officials.
Giorgi emphasized the RAMS has a commitment to excellence in education. “Our association has always taken great measures to try to improve the education experience of our students to enhance our school districts on the range and try to maintain the quality of excellence in education that we’ve been known for,” he said.
RAMS is very active during the legislative session, Giorgi noted. He noted its opposition to reorganization of the IRRRB Board in the last session and added that RAMS was able to achieve some supplemental funding for councilors and student services.
Following the presentation, Board Director Matt Lehtinen asked for more information on Giorgi’s background and protocols that RAMS uses for dealing with conflicts within its ranks. Giorgi responded to the first question by stating that he was a lifelong resident of the Iron Range, worked at U.S. Steel for 10 years, and then worked for AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees) for 27 years where he rose to the position of associate director. He has been with RAMS for the past 13 months.
With regard to the second question, Giorgi said that RAMS tended to offer its support to collaborative projects rather than site-specific projects. He cited a project in which Nashwauk, Keewatin, and Lone Pine Township were considering a joint wastewater facility that RAMS supported.
In other business, the board:
• Accepted $538,795.02 in gifts and donations for April, May and June of this year.
• Approved a quit-claim deed between ISD 318 and the city of Grand Rapids.