By Travis Smola
Schoolcraft graduate and long-time resident Jennifer Gottschalk was selected by the school board to fill a vacancy created by Matt DeVoe’s resignation. She was sworn in at the board’s July meeting.
Gottschalk is a 1989 graduate of Schoolcraft High School. “Jennifer is deeply rooted in the community. She believes she can help to educate Schoolcraft residents about the advancements in our District and bring the community together,” Board President Darby Fetzer said. “The Board would welcome her positive support.”
The other interviewees were Carrie Harris, Bruce Vincent and Kurt Wagner. The board praised the others who interviewed for the vacant seat and encouraged all of them to run for open seats in November.
“To run for a school board seat, it’s admirable you’d take the time and efforts to do that,” Vice President Michael Rochholz said. “I applaud every one of you for stepping up and putting in your efforts and time.”
Superintendent Rusty Stitt said having four candidates speaks well to the character of the Schoolcraft community. He’s seen communities that struggled to find just one. “This is a special place and this is just another way of showing it,” Stitt said.
The board also ran through an update on consolidation efforts. The majority of demolition and heating upgrade projects are done or mostly completed.
There have only been a few small hiccups. In the elementary school, workers cut through the floor and discovered plumbing was not in the place it was indicated in floor plans. They will now have to figure out where this plumbing actually is.
For one playground project, the timeline may be changed after an injury to the lead installer. In spite of these small problems, things are running on schedule and several board members have already examined some of the work being done.
“I did a walkthrough with Rusty last week,” Trustee Skip Fox said. “Everything, it looked to me, was running smoothly.”
School staff members are also getting involved in the work being done and they may try to enlist the help of the varsity football team to assist in moving day for the teachers on August 27. “I was excited to see the painting that was started by the teachers in the hallways,” Fetzer said. “I think they’re excited to make that their own.”
In other business at the meeting, the subject of pay-to-play for athletics was a topic of discussion. “It doesn’t pay for itself, it takes from our general fund,” Stitt said. “It does in every single district in the state of Michigan, there’s not one district that I know of that’s making money on athletics.”
The discussion was a short one. The board quickly decided it was something Schoolcraft schools didn’t need. “My opinion is this creates an inequity for students and players,” Rochholz said. He noted parents are already asked to donate quite a bit of money during the year.
Trustees Ryan Ledlow and Jason Walther both noted the high costs of athletics should be addressed somehow at some point. But the board was in agreement that pay-to-play was probably not the answer.
“We ask our parents to donate to a lot of things and causes,” Roccholz said. “I’d hate to take from this when I can say ‘donate to the athletic boosters’.”