By Sue Moore
State Superintendent of Education Brian Whiston will be in Schoolcraft on March 9 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. to visit its three school buildings. His goal is to visit every school district in the state during his tenure. He has several other appearances scheduled over two days in southwest Michigan. Rusty Stitt, Schoolcraft superintendent and president of the Michigan Association of School Administrators for Region 7, is pleased to host Whiston and begin a dialog on how the state can help small schools in the future.
At the February school board meeting, Finance Director Rita Broekema pointed to renewal of a three-year 1.5-mill county-wide school enhancement millage on the May 2 ballot, asking the board if they want to take a position on it. “Schoolcraft is a winner district in the amount of money received. In the past, it has been used solely for capital projects. The voters in Schoolcraft have voted twice to defeat the millage and once to pass it in the three times it has been on the ballot. “It is a significant piece of revenue for the district,” Stitt said. The board decided the best thing to do is to talk factually about it to anyone who asks but not to spend any money to promote it.”
The millage was approved last in 2014. If renewed, it would cost the owner of a home with a taxable valuation of $50,000 $75 per year. The tax provides more than $300 per student to the county’s nine school districts.
Middle School Principal Dave Powers hosted the board meeting and presented a video prepared by the students with the many learning opportunities at the school highlighted. He went through the work being accomplished on the school improvement progress report including the following:
• He said they are looking for 40 percent growth or better from where each student started the school year.
• The consolidation and addition of the 5th grade to the Middle School has been a seamless activity and positive cultural reality, he said.
Matt Webster reported on strategic goal results for the Elementary School for the first semester.
• “Having every student under one roof is serving us well. Kindergarten is being supported and delivering instruction in many new ways, meeting the students more so than in the past,” according to Webster.
• Every child eligible for intervention in math is getting help and CARE volunteers have logged over 200 additional hours for reading instruction for students and teachers.
In the High School, Principal Ric Seagers reported that an active parent advisory council is recommending changes to class rank and athletic conduct. He also cited great student growth in reading capabilities.
Jeanine Mattson, special education consultant from KRESA, presented data on Schoolcraft students in special needs classes. The school system has 95 students with Individual Education Plans with a compliance rate of 99 percent. “We want the kids to get everything they need at whatever level they can attain,” she said. The graduation rate for all students in this program in the county is 78 percent and Schoolcraft is up to 87 percent. “It reflects well on the community,” she said.