By Travis Smola
Michigan school districts are required to seek bids from private companies for non-instructional services costing $50,000 or more. The Schoolcraft Board of Education considered whether to do so for custodial services. It took no action, although the topic may return soon.
Finance director Rita Broekema said while the mandates require the board look at bidding these jobs out, the law doesn’t require outsourcing. She added there is a possibility some positions may open within the next two years if someone retires.
“We have a very dedicated and loyal staff,” Broekema said. But she added that if the district were to outsource, it would be best to go with the same provider now used for food services. “I am not recommending at this time, she added.
Board members agreed that there may be some tough decisions coming. “I don’t want to dishonor those people that have been here more than 10 years and given us a lot of great service,” Trustee Kathy Mastenbrook said.
Broekema says she will make another report and recommendation at the April board meeting. She says it is likely there will be a decision on the matter at that meeting.
High school Principal Ric Seager made a presentation on 2014 National Clearinghouse data. This data shows statistics on what students do following graduation. “Every fall we get this data. It looks at the last six years of change,” Seager said. “There are some interesting trends in the data.” Among the trends was a drop in Schoolcraft students attending college from 2009-2011. Seager says this is largely due to the recession. “Kids simply couldn’t afford it,” he said. The data showed that the number attending college dropped as low as 69 percent. They have since seen a rebound in the numbers. The statistics shows 84 percent of the class of 2013 was attending college.
The data presented also shows statistics on students who went to a two-year school as opposed to a four-year institution and if they were graduating. Seager says there’s been a recent trend downward in Schoolcraft students staying in college. “It’s falling almost two percentage points a year,” Seager said. “This is something we have to pay attention to.”
He said that the students that choose to go to a four-year school tend to graduate. The board agreed it would look to see if the schools could have any effect on these trends. “Some of them might be things we can control, some may not,” Seager said.
Board members agreed. “I also believe we should look at how we are helping those kids make the best choice for themselves,” Trustee Matt DeVoe said. “Are we really directing them, helping them get to where they want to be?” Trustee Mastenbrook noted some students may not wish to pursue college. “Kids are choosing different options,” she said. “College is not for everybody, I still think we’re producing great kids.”
The board also decided to move forward with a plan to replace a 20-year-old section of the elementary school roof. The board decided to re-roof the section at a cost of $103,750. Contractor Sheriff-Goslin will be doing the work on the project.