Schoolcraft board approves retirements

School board members: Rick Frens, Adam Haley, Wade Rutkoskie, and Jennifer Gottschalk.

By Travis Smola

The Schoolcraft board of education approved retirements of Steve Kulczyk and Dave Powers at its monthly board meeting.

Kulczyk retires as the district’s physical education teacher after more than 30 years with the district. He also handed over the reins as head coach of the varsity girls’ basketball team this year. Powers started with the district as middle school principal in 2015. He was given a new position as dean of students after the addition of the new junior high addition to the high school. Powers and Kulczyk were not present at the meeting, but trustees still thanked them for their years of service and congratulated them in the meeting’s closing statements.

“There’s a whole lot of educational experience between those two, over 70 years,” Superintendent Rick Frens said. “We appreciate their service to Schoolcraft education.”

Changes in staffing are a real challenge for not only Schoolcraft, but districts all over Michigan. Finance Director Kendra Drewyor and Frens both noted these challenges in their monthly reports to the trustees.

“This is really going to be a big issue,” Drewyor said. “We’re seeing it now, and it’s something we’re going to see over the next few years.”

Drewyor said teaching, like many other professions, is seeing an influx of people leaving the workforce, and a bevy of openings are available at districts statewide.

“They’re dubbing this time ‘the great resignation,’” Drewyor said. “People are leaving the workforce faster than they ever have. And that’s just between COVID and a really good stock market that’s allowing people to leave earlier because they are physically able to do so.”

She noted it doesn’t help that Michigan leads the nation for the lowest number of people completing teacher preparation requirements to enter the educational workforce.

“We are losing educators fast,” Drewyor said.

Frens agreed and noted that district has already put up a job listing for a new physical education teacher. He said the district could not afford to sit around and wait.

“As you have seen, the (talent) pools are shallow, we want to be able to move quickly,” Frens said.

In other news, Frens said the district would like to fast-track a security camera project for the high school. He said students in districts across the country are struggling mostly because of COVID and current events, and that it sometimes manifests in unwanted behavior in the schools. He plans to look at some options to bump up that project to be in line with new construction. Frens promised to bring more details on that to the trustees later.

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