By Kayleigh Rahn
As his eighth year at the helm of Tuscola schools comes to a close, Superintendent Michael Smith said his farewells during the Monday, June 24 school board meeting.
Board member Rick Quinn said he is the final member who was part of Smith’s hiring process.
“In that second interview, you came in and just knocked our socks off, and, at least from my perspective, you have continued to do that ever since,” Quinn said. “Thank you for all you’ve done.”
Smith said he was honored to be considered by the board at that time.
“I don’t think any of us knew what we were getting into at the time,” Smith said. He noted that when he was hired, Tuscola schools needed to find a North Ward principal, East Prairie principal, a high school principal, and a high school athletic director.
“It was a lot at the time, and I don’t think any of us would have gotten through it without the board, and the board had been through a difficult time,” he said.
He thanked the administrators who have come and gone, and the board members who have served.
“Certainly all the teachers and staff have done the hard work,” he said. “And I’d be remiss to not mention the custodians and the bus company and all those people who when we had no money were willing to work with us for the good of the kids. I know a lot of that is forgotten, and it should be as the district moves forward. There were a lot of difficult decisions and I’m very proud of the fact that we haven’t raised taxes and it’s been eight years since we’ve had to cut anyone. You really have it moving forward, and it’s the kids who have truly benefitted.”
Board member Darold Spillman noted that he joined the board eight years ago just months before Smith started his contract.
“I know when I came on we had three days cash on hand,” Spillman said. “From that point we’ve really come a long way to the point that we are close to reaching the goal of having six months cash on hand. People don’t realize how hard it is to get to that point and how long it took.”
“It’s been a hard road, but we’ve made it thanks to you,” Spillman closed.
Spillman noted the amount of facilities updates that have taken place that many community members may not realize have been accomplished including the windows, roofs, and tuckpointing.
“They were all done without having to borrow any money,” Spillman said. “People don’t see that but that was done by knowing not only how to work the numbers but where to get that money.”
Smith also thanked the board members who chose to stay on through the tough times.
“Don’t let yourself get in that spot again, it’s just too hard,” Smith said. “Kids are only in school for a short time, no one wants their kids to spend eight years in a district where things have to be cut back.”
The full story can be found in the June 26 edition of The Tuscola Journal.