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Marsha Bassett steps down from Delton school board

Superintendent Kyle Corlett presents Marsha Bassett with a certificate from the Michigan Association of School Boards recognizing her 17 years of service during Bassett's last meeting as a member of the Delton-Kellogg Board of Education.

Taylor Owens

Staff Writer

After 17 years on the Delton-Kellogg Board of Education, Marsha Bassett announced her retirement from board service during Monday night's regular board meeting.

“You've impacted thousands of lives, thousands, over all the years you've served on the board,” Superintendent Kyle Corlett said. When he first started on the board and was learning the personalities of each member, Corlett said he soon learned Bassett was the professional.

“She had the history of the community, she had the history of what the board had done in the past... I really valued that.”

Jim McManus, who is the second longest-serving board member, thanked Bassett for encouraging him to apply for a vacant position on the board in 2011.

“You've covered a whole generation of students,” McManus said, “You've been through the high point, the lowest of the low points and now we're coming back.”

High school science teacher Clint Waller thanked Bassett on behalf of the faculty.

“When I was a brand new teacher you approached me in the gymnasium,” Waller said. “You probably don't remember, but I was brand new and you walked up and introduced yourself and you said my name to me, and I wish you knew how much it meant to me.”

Bassett said she wanted to join the school board because she was the mother of a child in the district and felt she had something to contribute. She has had three children graduate from Delton-Kellogg, the youngest of whom graduated this year. Now that her children have graduated, Bassett felt it was time to give someone else a chance to serve in her position.

“I always am most proud of seeing the graduating seniors both in the academy and in the high school. That to me is why we're here,” Bassett said. “I think this district is a hidden gem. I think this is an amazing district for raising your children and educating your children. And those of us who are here - we get it.”

She will continue to serve on the board of the Delton-Kellogg Education Foundation, where she has been president since helping to found the foundation in 2015.

“That's my way to stay connected with all these kids in a different way,” Bassett said. “There's a lot of successful kids out there because of this district and our teachers.”

 

In other business on Monday night:

  • Russ Aspinwall of the Kalamazoo Regional Education Service Agency presented the board with potential options for upgrading the district to fiber optic internet. Delton-Kellogg contracts with KRESA for technology and is planning to move to fiber optic internet with an E-rate grant. The grant is funded for by taxes on phone bills and will pay for the majority of the cost for the district to run fiber optic cable from Hastings. The new internet would be 10 times faster and cost the district less annually. The board did not take any action at the meeting.
  • The school is also seeking quotes to repair or replace the high school air conditioner. A groundhog shorted out one of the air conditioner's two air compressors, so it can only cool part of the school. The first quote the school received was $65,000 to replace the air conditioner, and around $180,000 to replace the whole unit.  “That's one expensive groundhog,” Corlett said.
  • The board voted to extend the contracts of high school principal Lucas Trierweiler, middle school principal April Margaritas, elementary school principal Karmin Bourdo, finance director Andrew Nurenberg and athletic director and dean of students Mike Mohn for one year. Corlett pointed out that all administrators are on a one-year contract, which is a change from when he started, when the administrators did not have contracts.
  • The board also voted to accept the student handbooks for the 2019-20. One notable change pointed out by Corlett is that middle school students are no longer allowed to have cell phones in class, because it was creating issues and distracting from teaching. Another difference is vaping will now be treated the same as tobacco, with the same punishments.
  • The board accepted the retirement of food service employee Michelle Boss and hired Misty Kapteyn as the media center and athletic secretary. The hiring of Camille Asztalos as bus driver fills a vacancy the transportation department has had for about a year. The board also hired coaches Jason Thomas for assistant varsity football, Rachel Parker for junior varsity volleyball and Faith Ferris for freshmen volleyball.
  • Trustee Robert Houtrow was absent from Monday's meeting.
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