Cassopolis School Board renews superintendent contract

Published 10:47 am Friday, June 21, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

CASSOPOLIS — The Cassopolis School Board met Monday for its final regular meeting of the current school year.

Prior to the meeting, the board held the legally required budget hearing before approval of the budget for the 2024-25 school year. Business Manager James English presented information to the board and the public regarding the recent fiscal history of the district, as well as what was expected for the future. English noted that the long planned end of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund III was one of the biggest factors in the next school year, requiring planned budget adjustments to account for lower revenue.

“The cliff is here,” said English.

English noted that planning was ongoing for decisions in the next year to be prepared for the changes. He emphasized that employee layoffs would not be a part of the plan, with the district instead opting to not replace positions as they were vacated. He emphasized that the district was in a financially stable place for the upcoming year and that planning is what would be needed for a successful future beyond. The budget was later approved in the regular meeting.

English also reported that the survey borne out of the Community Forums meetings was complete. The data was yet to be analyzed, but the group would reconvene in the fall to continue their work, which would likely include making recommendations to the school board.

Superintendent Dr. John Ritzler recognized several students in the district for various achievements. Golf Coach Joseph Westrate spoke to the board about the team’s recent Southwest 10 Conference championship win, the fourth in as many years. Also recognized were the 5th graders who took part in the Cass County Underground Railroad Wax Museum at the Bonine House, in which students portrayed historical figures and recited their histories to visitors.

Superintendent Ritzler was later approved for a new contract, beginning July 1st, 2024 and ending June 30th, 2028. He received a rating of “Highly Effective” for his official evaluation, as well as several “thank yous” from the board and applause from those present. Ritzler gave credit to the students, teachers, and building administrators toward the successes, including the upward trend in district test scores.

It was announced that three seats for the school board would be up for election on November 5th. Those interested would need to submit a petition or the $100 filing fee by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23rd.

It was also approved that Steve Pike would be the new Cassopolis Middle School football coach and Colin Kelley would be the new Ross Beatty High School head Varsity Wrestling Coach. Kelley was present at the meeting. He attended Cassopolis Ross Beatty High School from 2012 to 2016.

The board approved three overnight trips for the Cassopolis Future Farmers of America.

An agreement with the Cass County Historical Society and the Cass County Historical Commission was finalized, with the district nearing giving over the Red Brick Schoolhouse at M62 and Brick Church Road. School Board Treasurer Jesse Bement thanked the organizations for taking the historical project.

The schedule of Board of Education meetings for the 2024-25 school year was announced, with the next meeting taking place on Monday, August 5th, 2024.