Schoolcraft School Board Focuses on the Middle School

schoolcraft principals
Schoolcraft principals from left to right: Amie McCaw, elementary; Amie Goldschmeding, early elementary assistant; Chris Ebsch, middle school; Ric Seager.

By Sue Moore

It was Middle School Principal Chris Ebsch’s turn to report to the Schoolcraft school board at mid-year, focusing on gains made and work that needs improvement.

He presented a parent perception survey revealing that most agreed or strongly agreed that the school is a welcoming, positive place where children have every opportunity to succeed.

The results he presented showed the percentage of parents agreeing or strongly agreeing with the following assertions:

Fall 2014 Parent Perception Survey Highlights – Ranked from largest to smallest number of respondents stating agree or strongly agree:

1. This school provides a safe environment for my child to learn. 85 %

2. My family is treated with respect at this school. 83 %

3. My child’s learning is a high priority at this school. 83 %

4. I feel welcome upon entering this school. 79 %

5. Teachers, staff, and administrators demonstrate genuine concern for my child at this school. 74 %

6. This school develops a positive school climate. 72 %

7. I am proud to say I have a child at this school. 72 %

8. My child has every opportunity to be successful at this school. 70 %

9. This school is clean and well-maintained. 70 %

10. This school delivers a high quality instructional program. 62 %

11. This school manages its resources well in support of its mission. 62 %

12. My child is recognized for good work and behavior at this school. 60 %

13. This school promotes strong parent/school relationships. 57 %

14. School rules and discipline are enforced consistently at this school. 57 %

15. I would recommend this school to other parents. 57 %

16. I receive regular feedback from school staff on how well my child is learning. 32 %

17. I receive positive phone calls, notes, emails about my child from the school. 15 %

Ebsch elaborated on testing results that showed the need for intervention for gaps in reading and math achievement from the high score testers to those at the bottom. “We will dig into the data to figure the effectiveness and why some students are moving up and down,” he promised.

He celebrated a big jump in attendance from 85 percent in 2013-14 to 94 percent so far this year. “Middle School can be a fun place to be,” he told the board.

KRESA Millage Request Scheduled for May 5

Superintendent Rusty Stitt explained the impact the KRESA special education millage election would have on finances in all of the county’s school districts if it were to pass. In the year 2008-09, the cost of serving special needs students in the county was $5.3 million. In the current year, the price has ballooned to almost 11 million, all of which the school districts must bear. If the 1.5-mill proposal passes the $859,068 cost to Schoolcraft would likely be reimbursed. “Special education services are a federal mandate and thus our first dollar must go to pay for these programs. KRESA receives a millage from county residents that reimburses the agency for its costs of providing special education services, but not for the local school district,” he said. The Schoolcraft school district serves 102 special education students this year.

The request of local taxpayers is complicated by the state of Michigan’s Proposal I to fix the roads. There is money in this package that would flow to local school districts, but there is no guarantee as to what it would pay for, if the district did receive new funding, Stitt explained.

The board did vote to spend money for a new school bus that Stitt said was badly needed, although it had been budgeted for next year’s capital expenditures. By purchasing the bus now, it would replace one that has been red tagged because of rust and is 20 years old.

A bid for reroofing the Middle School was put on hold until more information could be sought from the lowest bidder which was Sherriff-Goslin.

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