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Four Cass City Public Schools employees announce intent to retire

By Tom Gilchrist
For The Advertiser

CASS CITY — Cass City Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Mike Klosowski, maintenance man Randy Schuette, payroll bookkeeper Linda Bennett and superintendent’s secretary Ets TerBush plan to resign from their jobs in the coming weeks.

Superintendent Jeff Hartel read resignation letters from Klosowski, Bennett and TerBush at a special Board of Education meeting Monday night. During the meeting before about 50 people in the Cass City Junior/Senior High School cateteria, Schuette announced his plan to resign in June to run his business, Schuette Services LLC, which provides custodial and maintenance services to several area school districts.

TerBush, who began working part-time in 1969 for Cass City Public Schools and has worked full-time there since 1972, said she resigned to save money for the school district.

“We’ve got a lot of cuts to make,” TerBush said. “The Obamacare with the insurance (provisions) has made a big difference.”

TerBush told The Advertiser that school board members “have been wanting to make cuts in the superintendent’s office for some time.”

School board members must approve a new budget prior to the start of the new fiscal year July 1. The board meets again at 7 p.m. on June 23 in the board room at Cass City Junior/Senior High School.

Bennett said she began working for Cass City Public Schools in 1968. Her resignation takes effect July 30.

“It has been a difficult decision but due to some issues with my eyes, I feel it is the right move for me,” Bennett stated in her resignation letter.

Klosowski will resign July 1. He said after the meeting he has received a contract to work as full-time chief financial officer in the Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker Schools. This school year, Klosowski has served as chief financial officer for both the Cass City and Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker districts.

In his resignation letter, Klosowski stated that “Recent events have given me the opportunity to prioritize my life. It is obvious that the current workload in managing the financial affairs of two schools has deeply and negatively impacted the amount of quality time that I need to spend with my family and my church.”

Board Vice President Alice Zaleski said at Monday’s meeting that “I’m floored that we have lost our entire office staff.”

“The superintendent’s office cleared out,” Hartel said in reference to Klosowski, Bennett and TerBush. “They’re great people. I’m going to miss ’em all,” Hartel added. “I don’t know what to say, other than I wish it wouldn’t have happened but it has.”

Budget information presented by Hartel at Monday’s meeting includes the elimination of the Title I Director position held by Nick Moyer, at a savings of about $65,000 to the school district.

At Monday’s meeting, Hartel proposed replacing Klosowski, Bennett and TerBush by hiring a full-time chief financial officer for a salary of about $60,000 and moving one of four secretaries into the superintendent’s office at a salary of about $40,000. Those four secretaries already receive benefits including health insurance, along with an annual salary of about $28,000 each, according to school officials.

Those moves, if approved, would save about $25,000 in the superintendent’s office, according to Hartel, though Zaleski questioned the possibility of increasing a secretary’s annual salary from about $28,000 to $40,000.

“That’s a heck of a raise,” Zaleski said. “That would be a $1,000-a-month raise.”

TerBush received an annual salary of about $47,500, so a $40,000 salary for the secretary coming into the superintendent’s office still would save money, according to Hartel.

Zaleski said she wants to see what financial services the Tuscola Intermediate School District and Huron Intermediate School District can provide to Cass City Public Schools before she votes to hire new employees.

In other action Monday, the board voted to limit certain hourly employees to no more than 29 hours per week.

Any employee working more than 29 hours per week must receive health insurance — at a cost to the school district of about $6,000 per employee — under the federal Affordable Care Act, according to Hartel.

“There are about 20 (affected) employees throughout the district, from busing to day care to paraprofessionals. You’re looking at about another $120,000 if we’re going to keep people’s hours the same,” Hartel said.

As a way to save money and avoid paying health insurance to part-time bus drivers, school officials propose to provide “one-way” bus service to athletic events next school year, rather than hauling students and coaches to and from each game or event.

On Monday, the board also voted to list the former Campbell Elementary School for sale, for $205,000, through Cass City’s Osentoski Realty Co.

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Filed in: Local News, Featured Articles, Cass City

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