Cass board may not renew Francisco’s contractPublished 12:05am Friday, March 29, 2013
The Cassopolis Board of Education voted to consider not renewing the contract of Ross Beatty Assistant Principal Hiawatha Francisco at Monday night’s regularly scheduled meeting.
The board has been looking at potential budget cuts and needed to inform Francisco of the potential non-renewal of his contract. The notification does not mean he will be terminated at the end of the school year.
“Basically, because of timelines on administrative contracts, we have to put people on notice,” Cassopolis Superintendent Tracy Hertsel said. “As we are looking at teachers and other things, we are also looking at timelines for those entities as well.
“We are looking at all options and if you miss a timeline, then it is no longer an option. This process will continue throughout the year. Some of our determining factors will not come in until our budget is due June 30.
Francisco has been employed by the Cassopolis schools for eight and a half years. He has held the positions of co-principal, athletic director and student support specialist as well as his current position.
Three people spoke on his behalf, including Cassopolis Student Council President Celia Ash and her mother Cynthia Ash, who is involved in many school support groups as well as a Cassopolis Village Trustee.
In other actions, the board approved a “No F Policy” for its student-athletes.
Cassopolis last year approved a “One F Policy,” which meant student-athletes could have one “F” on their weekly report, which would mean they had one week to remove the grade or become ineligible for the following week of sports contest. Two weeks with an “F” on their report mean they were removed from the team.
Athletic Director Matt Brawley said that the reason to change to a “No F Policy” for the 2013-14 school year was because the NCAA has increased the base G.P.A. for athletes to be eligible to compete in college from 2.0 to 2.3.
Brawley also noted that through the first two sports seasons — fall and winter — only one student has been ineligible. The measure passed.
Brawley also asked the board to consider continuing participation fees for student-athletes for the 2013-14 school year. Cassopolis instituted “pay-to-play” last year, but due to public donations of nearly $18,000, which was raised in nine days, no student-athlete had to pay the fee this year.
Brawley noted that there is approximately $6,000 still in the fund and he was confident the remaining $12,000 could be raised by the beginning of the new school year.
“We just wanted to get a head start on it,” Brawley told the board, which approved the measure.
The board also honored participants in the recent Cass Count Spelling Bee, Science Olympiad and Math-A-Rama, as well as the FFA and Robotics teams.