Schools Hit Hard with Governor’s Proclamation to Close

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Schoolcraft Superintendent of Schools, Rusty Stitt.

By Sue Moore

“Who would have ever thought it would come to this!” said Schoolcraft Superintendent of Schools, Rusty Stitt of his closed schools. “You just can’t prepare for this. But we had a draft of what it might look like with many iterations all along the way before it actually happened.”

“We need to contact our legislators, who left for two weeks, to find out if they will forgive the days we have already had off. It’s a challenge right now. The big question is will they extend the year? Teachers are paid all year long but some of our staff will need to collect unemployment. For now, we are paying them anyway. Administrators and a few supervisors are the only ones coming in because we want to keep the traffic down. We had a ton of volunteers that came through and sterilized everything in all lockers and classrooms and now we don’t want to disrupt it,” Stitt said.

“New materials for learning are not an option. Staff can’t teach new learning concepts, just review older materials. Our teacher contract says they will be working 189 days. They came in right away and put weekly learning packets out there for students,” Stitt said. “All staff is doing a whale of a job just to keep the students from having slippage. Daily updates are on the web site.”

“All the students picked up their computers and can do some online things, with or without computers. Our athletic teams were on the run to winning titles. We were the only boys undefeated basketball team in the state and were on a high,” Stitt said. “Spring sports starting up doesn’t appear to happen either. Seniors, graduation, prom – all activities could be cancelled. It’s just totally unknown. We dropped parent/teacher conferences. The school is the hub of our community and when you take away the activities for such a small school and community, it hits really hard.”

Stitt remarked that he was elated with the job done by volunteers to pass the bond issue. “It got done with boots on the ground. Hats off to community members, staff and students who rallied to better educate our community. This approach meant a lot. More grass roots,” Stitt said. “We are looking forward to breaking ground and enriching our students. We met yesterday to plan a tentative timeline but we are having to slow the process down because of the challenge in the economy. Our discussions for issuing bonds have been held with zero interest and now it’s going down even more which could really help with low interest rate. We’re talking a 2023 move-in date, but we’re still unsure.”

“We didn’t have much celebration time,” Stitt said. “It’s been huge with long hours, just communicating. People want to know right away when there is uncertainty in our society and where we are at. We’re trying to keep informing the community with what we know. The problem is, there is new information almost every minute. The countywide enhancement millage is also on the ballot on May 5 and we don’t know what will be happening there.”

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