MCBAIN — New people will occupy two of McBain Rural Agricultural School's top spots next year.

On Wednesday, the McBain Board of Education accepted Superintendent Steve Brimmer's resignation and the retirement of High School Principal Joel Bronkema.

Board members joked about refusing Bronkema's retirement, but ultimately thanked him for his time and called the retirement "deserved."

Bronkema said he's been at the school for 54 years, including his own time as a student.

"That's a long time, guys. A long time," Bronkema said.

The board similarly joked about refusing Brimmer's resignation but thanked him for his work.

"It's been great working with you," said Brimmer, who is heading to Shepherd Public Schools. "I'm sure you'll find a great replacement, I don't have any doubts."

Brimmer expected that the firm conducting the superintendent search for McBain would post the job today.

The school board agreed on April 30 to hire the Michigan Leadership Institute to conduct the search.

That is the same firm that put the school district in the crosshairs of the American Civil Liberties Union in 2015 when the superintendent job posting called for candidates to have "a strong Christian background and philosophy." MLI apologized and accepted responsibility for the wording. The description was later changed.

The search to replace Bronkema is underway but is open only to internal candidates for the next week, Brimmer said. Only one McBain teacher has applied for the job, at last check.

During the school board's May meeting, several teachers and coaches were hired.

The board also approved a start date for the 2018-2019 academic year. Students will return to class on Aug. 22.

Brimmer told the board the community preferred Aug. 27, based on his polling. But the staff preferred Aug. 22.

Bronkema said there were educational reasons for that because it meant students finish the semester before Christmas instead of after.

The board informally polled students who attended the meeting for a class requirement. Most said they preferred the earlier start date and that many students were already back at school for sports by that date, anyway.

The board said little about the failed $14 million school bond proposal. Results, which were still unofficial at the time of the meeting, showed 661 people opposed the proposal and 409 supported it.

"You lick your wounds and move on," Brimmer said. The board thanked people who served on the bond committee as well as those who had donated to promotion efforts.

After the meeting, board members said they were disappointed by the results but did not plan to immediately reconvene the bond committee.

The focus now is on finding a new superintendent, they said.