School Board Approves Changes to the Athletic Handbook

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Jeff Clark, Schoolcraft athletic director, reported the changes being recommended to the Athletic Handbook for the 2019/20 school year to the school board.

By Sue Moore

Holding Schoolcraft’s athletes to a higher standard was emphasized by Athletic Director Jeff Clark in proposing several changes to the athletic student handbook. Most of the changes were minimal, he told the school board at its August meeting.

Anyone out for a sport must have a passing grade in 80 percent of their classes, which Clark said hasn’t changed. Under the previous system, student athletes with low grades during the semester were given two weeks to study hard and get their grades up so they could compete. Now they only get one week per marking period to get their grades in order, he explained.

Another change that gives more flexibility permits students in several sports to use the gym at the same time. The intent is to urge student athletes to take part in more than one sport while in their middle and high school years, Clark said.

Head coaches drafted a new coaches’ conduct section that will be included in the handbook, Clark noted. Superintendent Rusty Stitt applauded the coaches for taking the lead in the revisions and Clark for facilitating what the board then approved.

Ticket prices for students were changed to $1 per event (with student ID) in order to encourage more kids to attend sporting contests when there might be several in one week. The prices for adults did not change, per the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s requirements; Schoolcraft is a member. A season pass will be offered to students for $25 and $60 for adults. Senior citizens, active military and veterans will get in free.

School budgeting came under discussion led by board President Jennifer Gottschalk when the board was presented with estimated closing general fund figures for the 2018-19 school year. The new information showed the year ending in the black rather than the red as had previously been projected. “It’s like putting a puzzle together without all the pieces,” Stitt said later. “We are still closing out the year and we don’t even know what the state per-pupil formula will be for the 2019-20 year so we recommended adopting a negative budget back in June. Now we have a better handle on our actual expenses for the past school year, so at least we know that we can meet our promises, especially to the teachers when it comes to figuring out the revenue sharing in November.”

“The discussion really was not so much about budget recommendations for 2018-19 – other than in the perfect world, the budget and actual would match at the end of the year,” explained Finance Director Rita Broekema after the meeting. “My world is not perfect and the Board would have liked [the numbers] to be closer than it was for 2018-19.  So would I, so we agree on that point.  The 2018-19 budget discussion was reminding everyone that we have a teacher contract that determines how we allocate any surplus revenue over expenditures.  It is binding and can only be altered through negotiations.”

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