Construction nears for new Schoolcraft Elementary

Darby and Bruce Fetzer hosted an event for retired or former school board members celebrating Dr. Rusty Stitt’s 10 years as superintendent and Kathy Mastenbrook’s 24 years of devoted service to Schoolcraft Community Schools. In top row, from left, are Darby Fetzer, Skip Fox, Jeannette Marshall, Matt DeVoe, Michael Rochholz and David Krum. Bottom row: Dr. Jack Sauer, Kathy Mastenbrook and Dr. Stitt.

By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe

Schoolcraft’s School Board made Kalamazoo County State Bank the sole depository account for district business at a July 12 meeting. Finance Director Kendra Drewyor explained that while there won’t be a significant cost savings, it will simplify the accounting for the district. Within her report, she also explained that she is preparing for an August 30 audit, keeping the district in compliance with federal expenditure rules.

The board also approved $26,123,972 for the construction of the new K-6 building. This figure came in $87,000 under budget and includes a 7% contingency fund, which is traditionally included in a construction project’s budget for unexpected expenses. If these funds aren’t needed, the savings goes to the district.

Board members raised questions about current supply chain shortages and their impact. Ken Pitchford, senior project manager for the school construction, said he’s monitoring challenges. In a June 28 special board meeting, the members of the board signed a steel agreement which includes firm delivery dates for the construction project and offers some protection for the district’s timeline.

The board hopes to break ground for the new building in early August.

Trustee Wade Rutkoskie discussed how the district’s previous construction experience has helped during this process. “Contractors have been carefully vetted. We feel really good about it.” He also explained the careful consideration and planning that went into the design of the parental pick-up and drop-off lanes, designed to avoid traffic back-up on village streets and ensure student safety.

Superintendent Rick Frens discussed the resignations of high school teachers Katherine MacDonell, Lori Pelton, and Cory Hinga. Frens said that “while it’s always sad to lose quality teachers, they are moving on to leadership positions.” When asked about school opening and masks, Frens said that as of now, masks are optional since the county’s numbers are low, but the district will be in communication with the Health Department.

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