By Travis Smola
The Schoolcraft Board of Education approved a final one-year contract extension for Superintendent Rusty Stitt, who has submitted a letter of resignation to the district effective at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
The board also approved an athletic participation fee of $75 per student, $150 for a family.
At the meeting, Stitt thanked the original board members who originally hired him in the letter as well as many administrators, teachers and community members whom he worked with during his time in the district.
“I am extremely honored to have been given the opportunity to lead Schoolcraft Community schools for what will be 10 years by the end of the 2020-21 school year,” Stitt said in the letter.
“As a collective team, we have done some amazing work to improve the district, impacting student achievement and elevating professional practice.”
Stitt highlighted numerous changes he’s proud of from his time in the district: implementation of standards-based grading, the 1:1 technology program and most recently, voter approval of a $39.9 million bond issue to construct new educational facilities. Stitt said the contract will allow his youngest daughter to graduate an Eagle. He also added he will probably look for another superintendent post in a different state following the conclusion of his contract on June 30, 2021.
“I will always sincerely treasure the years I served here as your superintendent,” Stitt said in the letter. “It has been an honor! I thank each and every one of you for your support and outstanding dedication to the Schoolcraft community and its magnificent students!”
Board Vice President Jason Walther thanked Stitt for his years of service. “Rusty came to the district nine years ago, and at that time there was a lot to focus on and go to work on,” Walther said. “I think there is just a tremendous amount of positive things that occurred in Schoolcraft.”
Those thoughts were echoed by a few other trustees, including Wade Rutkoskie. “I also want to thank Dr. Stitt for his time. Obviously, a year-long retirement celebration is in order from the district, so [I’m] looking forward to celebrating that time with him and working on the transition, which I know he has been thinking about as well,” Rutkoskie said.
The board approved an athletic participation fee starting in the 2020-2021 school year that applies to both middle school and high school athletes. The cost will be $75 per child or $150 for a family.
The motion was approved without much discussion, but board meeting materials say the addition of a fee was to help the district avoid having to cut its athletic trainer position. Athletic Director Jeff Clark said in the meeting materials that the district will be required to pay $25,000 a year to keep the services of the trainer and the new fees will help cover those costs.
“Financial support from the State of Michigan for the operation of local schools has not kept pace with the rapidly increasing costs for school districts,” the letter to the board reads. “All districts have been forced to make adjustments in operating procedures. Schoolcraft Community Schools is no exception.”
The school is asking any parents with questions or concerns about the new fee structure to contact Clark. Families who may not be able to afford the fees are requested to contact the superintendent.
By Travis Smola