Schoolcraft School Board Hears About Increased Enrollment Figures

By Sue Moore/Bobbie VanZile

Enrollment figures, building maintenance, updates on the beginning of the school year, summer professional training, and goals for the year highlighted discussions at the September meeting of the Schoolcraft school board.

First week enrollment figures for the Schoolcraft Schools for the 2014/15 school year totaled 1,110 students for kindergarten through twelfth grade, nearly the same as last year, Rita Broekema, financial administrator, told the Schoolcraft School Board in September. The breakdown was 390 elementary students, 268 in the middle school and and 360 in the high school.

Surpassing expectations were the numbers enrolling from schools of choice, with 16 of the 83 kindergarten students coming from out of the county, she said. There were 29 new first time school of choice students who chose Schoolcraft schools this year.

In other business, the board heard from James Weiss, school maintenance chief, about the need to fix aging boilers and roofs. Repairing a leaking roof in the elementary building which can’t be patched anymore will cost $39,000. The boilers in that building will also need to be replaced in the near future, Weiss said. The elementary school will need a new soft water system replacement which could be done when the boiler situation is addressed.

In the middle school, heat runs need fixing, he said. Steam heat is an issue but can’t be addressed at this time because of budget constraints. Lighting in the middle school building has been retrofitted with LED due to a student who is allergic to the UV lighting.

Each of the building principals updated the board on their summer activities and their prospects for getting started in the new school year. Elementary Principal Aime McCaw continued the Leader in Me training and worked with a technology theme with iPad basics through a grant with KRESA.

Chris Ebsch, middle school principal, also worked with technology readiness course for staff and is looking to create a long-term iPad budget plan for when the grant monies run out. They have contracted with KRESA for a tech integration coach to work in the district two days per week for the 2014/15 school year. They want to double the number of iPads in elementary classes and roll out iPad Air minis to middle school students by mid-year.

Culture goals for the high school were presented by Principal Kristen Flynn. They did a refresher course in Capturing Kids’ Hearts, a kick-off mentor training for mentors and teachers, and formed a school improvement sub-committee. The student leadership sportsmanship squad battle of fans put banners in common areas, and the high school offered a parent professional development session to support the iPad initiative.

“It is beautiful to see the energy and excitement and the hard work of the team and students,” said Superintendent Rusty Stitt.

Jennifer Gottschalk queried the board on the next step since the defeat of the bond issue. Board president, Mike Rochholz said no major projects were planned at this point.

“If we are not at maximum capacity is there a dire need right now?” she asked. Superintendent Stitt urged Gottschalk and others to attend the state of the school event where projects and budgets will be discussed.

“We want to hear from the committee and the community the pros and cons related to the challenges and positives in regards to the prior bond issue defeat,” he said.

“We need to work together to resolve the issues,” Rochholz said.

Board member Jeannette Marshall said she was thrilled to see the Leader in Me highlight of the Schoolcraft schools on Channel 3 TV.

“It put a smile on my face and shows that we are doing some good things in our school district,” she said.

She also complimented the administrative team who represent the school well and are a wonderful example of role models which rubs off on the teachers too.

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