Hello, Holt Community and Friends:
A new school year presents opportunities for various beginnings – new programs, new buildings, new classes, new faces and most importantly, new attitudes. Summer and vacation can be great healers; and as we approach the opening day of a new school year, we must continue to be mindful of the economics of the school state aid Holt received in June. Under the budget agreement, Holt’s per pupil foundation allowance will only increase by $50 per student; however, as noted in the MASB Legislative Update*, “…it’s important to note that MPSERS** normal costs will increase by approximately 1 percent next year which equates to about $60 per pupil. As a result, many districts’ retirement costs will exceed their foundation increase.” Thus, our net allowance will be in the negative, which we hope to overcome with the changes we are implementing.
The school board, administrators and staff have been working to ensure that the “reinventing” of Holt Schools goes as smoothly as possible for our students. Newness alone, however, cannot produce transformation. We as a community must be open to this transition of our schools, as the district avoids reductions that could possibly touch inside our classrooms, such as staff layoffs or the elimination of co-curricular activities. In other words, starting a new year gives us the opportunity to implement some new ideas.
Over the summer we renovated Midway Elementary School into Midway Early Learning Center, recognizing that early childhood education has a big impact on student learning. In another shift, freshman students will move to the current high school (Main Campus) and senior students will attend the new North Campus (formerly the 9th grade campus). This change will afford 9th graders the opportunity to appreciate earlier the importance of the high school years. At the same time, at the North Campus we want to emphasize student readiness habits that will prepare them for life beyond high school; habits like time management, self-regulation, or how to communicate one’s needs to others, often referred to as “soft skills.” We also want to highlight the offering of college classes/free college credits as another benefit to students and their families.
We can be proud of what we have achieved in the Holt Public Schools – in our classrooms, in our offices, and on our playing fields and stages. This year, as in years past, we must concentrate on the advantages we create for our students, evaluate them, determine what needs improvement and identify what we need to make those improvements.
Let’s make 2014-15 our best school year yet!
With warm regards,
Johnny A. Scott, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
* Michigan Association of School Boards, MASB Headlines, June 24, 2014
** MPSERS = Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System