By Ralph Echtinaw
St. Louis schools are poised to require unvaccinated employees (against Covid-19) to wear masks at work and be tested weekly just in case the state government adopts the Biden Administration policy whereby employers of more than 100 people must get them vaccinated.
However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked President Biden’s executive order. Whether or not the Michigan state government adopts this policy is undetermined.
Though Superintendent Jennifer McKittrick does NOT favor requiring faculty and staff to be vaccinated, the policy will be implemented if state government says so.
Faculty and staff not fully vaccinated would have to start wearing mask on Dec. 6 and start weekly testing Jan. 4.
The school board approved a three-year contract for Superintendent Jennifer McKittrick, retroactive to July 1, 2021. Her annual compensation is $118,000. Changes from the previous contract include a requirement to work 260 days a year (five days a week), up from 250 days. Also, McKittrick will now need 15 years of service to retire, up from 10 years.
Board members praised McKittrick for the job she’s done since being named superintendent (replacing Kristy Teal) in July 2019. McKittrick was magnanimous. “It takes a village around here,” she said. “It’s not just me. Trust me.”
Although it had nothing to do with the new contract, McKittrick’s workload increased Nov. 24 when high school Principal Eric Huff took an assistant principal job at Alma High School. “The SLHS principal position is posted until Dec. 10,” McKittrick said via email. “In the meantime, the other administrators and I are assisting with the high school.”
Tractor purchase tabled
McKittrick asked the board to approve purchase of a tractor from Hutson Equipment of St. Louis even though it cost more than a similar tractor from Ellen’s Equipment of McBain.
Ellen’s Equipment said it would sell a New Holland tractor for $45,810. Hutson offered a John Deere tractor for $49,675. Robinson’s Equipment of Lakeview was asked to bid but didn’t.
McKittrick recommended buying from high bidder Hutson because it’s local. The school board objected and directed McKittrick to ask Hutson if it will match the lower bid.
No matter what new tractor the district buys it will keep its old John Deere tractor but relocate it to the district’s Camp Monroe property on Jackson Road.
Cross retires after 34 years
Carrie Knause administrative assistant Victoria Cross retired after 34 years of employment with the district. (Cross’ daughter Stephanie Binder, 35, attended St. Louis schools, went to Northern Michigan University on a volleyball scholarship and is now the Carrie Knause principal.)
Teacher quits mid school year
Seventh grade geography teacher Kevin Fletcher has resigned to take a job with another school district. “ “He was a fantastic teacher for us for last couple years,” McKittrick said. “He certainly made a decision that’s going to work better for his family.”
Although teachers and coaches come and go in St. Louis on a regular basis, it’s unusual for a teacher to quit during the middle of a school year. Fletcher is only the second in five years.
“Everybody has their own situation,” McKittrick said. “Certainly there was money involved in this; but also location, family that works there. That’s his personal life. He was transparent and up front with me, and I understand why he made the decision he did. But money does play a part, certainly.”
More personnel moves
Pom son coach Amiee Taylor resigned. Eighth grade boys basketball coach Julian Paksi resigned,
Hired were seventh grade geography teacher Steven Dice, JV boys basketball coach Nic Gibbons, eighth grade girls basketball coach Scott Davis and seventh grade girls basketball coach Bob Morris.