Schoolcraft Considering Building Consolidation

schoolcraft public meet
Schoolcraft parents, students, faculty, administration, and school board members met to hear details of what it would take to close the early elementary building. Photo by Travis Smola.

By Sue Moore

Building consolidation is once again on the drawing board for the Schoolcraft School Board. A survey of the teaching staff elicited 54 responses with 50 indicating favorable leanings toward a new plan. Only four said no to the concept.

Superintendent Rusty Stitt explained the proposal to close the early elementary building, bring the pre-school and kindergarten students to the elementary building and shift the fifth grade to the Middle School. The board recommended a continued dialog with community members and scheduled a March 29 information meeting. The format for the meeting was discussed and agreed that it would be informal with various stations explaining different parts of the program and how it would affect each building operation.

“We want to look for feedback with potential good ideas we haven’t thought of before,” Trustee Jason Walther indicated. This is very important to him since he had been chair of an earlier exploration into changing the building conformation.

Skip Fox, long time board member, explained that he and his son have a difference of opinion on this issue. “He is not in favor of it, but I am,” Fox said. “We have to address a lot of things in the early elementary building. It was built with WPA money in the 1930s. I started there when all 13 grades were housed in this building. To make this change is the right thing to do. We have to think of our students first and how this change could benefit them.”

Other board members stated their support to move ahead with getting input from the community before any further decisions are made.

Possible Summer School for Pre-School Children

In other business, Amie Goldschmeding, Pre-School and Eagle Zone Coordinator, proposed an expansion of the Eagle Zone program to the summer for school age children. “We would need between 15 to 18 students to cover costs of a 12 week program. In the past there hasn’t been that much interest but we think there is now. We would get a commitment up front from parents before moving ahead. We’ll need a critical mass to make it all work,” she told the board.

Principal Leaving

Principal Chris Ebsch has resigned his post in the early elementary building and as head of technology for the school system. He plans to accept a job with the Michigan Virtual University in Lansing. It is the leading provider of online course work. Superintendent Stitt remarked that Ebsch has moved the technology needle for the school along with the help of James Weiss. “He has been a servant to our district and worked tirelessly to move our district forward as a 1:1 district and helping prepare us for standards-based grading,” Stitt said.

Trustee Matt DeVoe complimented Ebsch on starting the model classroom for technology. “He will be leaving a legacy.” Plans are not to replace Ebsch for financial reasons, Stitt indicated.

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