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Board hears about student growth
Boscobel School District

BOSCOBEL - The Boscobel School Board met Monday for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

Elementary Principal Danelle Schmid shared in her report that the elementary has been seeing students make “wonderful growth.” 

“Trips to the school forest have been scheduled by classes that are available to go out and students always enjoy their time in nature and we are grateful to have the opportunity to learn outdoors,” Schmid said. 

It was also shared that during the week of May 3-7 the school celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week. 

“The teachers were given a goody bag, the student council provided lovely signs and notes for the staff and the district had a sweet treat for all the staff to celebrate the week,” Schmid reported. “As we round out the end of the school year, I cannot say enough thank yous to our entire staff for everything they have done for a successful school year. They have rallied amidst the unknowns, at times feeling unsafe and uncertain, and rose to the occasion to educate and support our school family. I am grateful for our teachers, paraprofessionals, administrative staff, custodians, nurse and food service team for all they have done this school year. Thank you.” 

High School Principal Wally Bryne shared that the Forward Exams have been completed for seventh, eighth and tenth grade. And that all ACT testing at the district had been completed. Finals will be in the coming weeks as well. 

Activities Director  Rob Scherrer noted in his report that both Middle and High School track were off to a good start.  Softball too was noted to be off to a good start and that as of May 5 the Bulldogs were 3-0. 

Baseball, however, has had a tough start to the season with the Boscobel boys at 0-4.  “But you can see improvements,” Scherrer noted. “Baseball is a tough sport when our participation numbers aren’t great. With pitching counts and days off for pitchers, it becomes a game of numbers.” 

The topic of upgrading the phone server appeared once again on the board agenda.

Phone system costs

“One of the outstanding projects  for the Boscobel Area Schools is their phone system upgrade,” Interim District Administrator Bryce Bird said. “Skyward informed us they cannot perform the upgrade due to the age of the servers. The phone upgrade needs to occur regardless of what option is chosen.” 

Bird shared the following options with the board:

1) Purchase the new server environment in full—$30,000. This would include all the hardware needed for the environment to be able to move all virtual servers over to supported hardware and software. This would require about 150 hours of support from Dependable Solutions to get things set up and migrated. The initial costs if purchased in the 2020/21 fiscal year would be $30,000 (hardware) plus $15,000 in labor, equaling $45,000.  

2) If option one is completed in 2021/2022, costs would be approximately $30,000 in hardware and labor would be included in the all-inclusive pricing effective July 1,2021.

3) Purchase a stand-alone server that we can fit into the environment later for $5,000. “This would be purchasing one server so we can move the phone servers over to getting them upgraded in the 2020/21 school year. Then for the 2021/22 budget year we would purchase the remaining hardware for the environment for $25,000. This option would require about 50 hours initially and another 125 hours which could be done post July and be included in the all-inclusive pricing) from Dependable when the second set of equipment was purchased,” Bird explained. The cost breakdown of this project would be $5,000 for hardware, $5,000 for labor and $25,000 to equal $35,000. The Breakdown by budget year would be 2020/21 $10,000 and 2021/22 $25,000. 

Bird recommended going with option two. “This allows for the project to be the least expensive option available for the district. 

Option two was approved by the board.

The topic of masks also resurfaced once more during the meeting.

Masks optional?

“Last meeting we started taking steps towards more of a normal way to operate by making masks an option outside. The next step would be to make masks optional inside with some rules,” Bird explained. “We will have less students and staff in summer school and during summer use of our buildings. We will be able to see how this plays out and use this information to determine our back to school plan for the fall. I would recommend we make the wearing of masks and face coverings optional in our school building for everyone starting on Monday, June 14. We will still need social distance to the extent practicable and some activities like athletics may have to follow more strict rules if others require it.” 

One of the concerns voiced by Board Member Wendi Stitzer was the Boscobel students not being able to play sports with other schools who require mask wearing if they were not wearing masks. 

“My concern now with masks is we have sports, and graduation, they’re reasons to wear masks. The quarantine could wipe out athletic teams, could wipe out kids not being able to graduate, so we have to be vigilant. But after that, the kids who are still in sports may want to stay distanced until the end of their season. For the people who want to try it without a mask, my recommendation is to try it with summer school. There could be some summer leagues who don’t want to send their kids here, but some might.”

Stitzer questioned who would be doing contact tracing or monitoring if there is an outbreak during summer school, and what the plan is. 

Bird notes that parents would be contacted and the student would be sent home, and that the health department will automatically take the situation on. Additionally, current symptom protocols will need to be followed.  Furthermore, WIAA rules will still need to be followed. 

The motion was made and approved  to make masks recommended but not required, starting June 14 in the Boscobel School District.

Open enrollment concerns

The topic of the high open enrollment rate at Boscobel also came up during the meeting. 

The total application numbers out for Boscobel for the 2021-2022 school year is 19 with two of the applications being for the same student, but for different schools. Those students who currently live in a non-resident district are four, and students with a current sibling open enrolled out and new applicants being seven students. It was noted that two of the students out of the total are current students. 

When it comes to open enrollment, there were seven in, with four of them currently attending Boscobel, one with a student currently attending Boscobel and two of those being new applicants. 

According to a graph presented to the board, the open enrollment out numbers have continued to increase. In 2016/17 the open enrollment out was 58 with 30 students in. In 2017/18 the open enrollment out was 75 students with 31 in. In 18-19 it was at 71 out and 28 in. 2019 the numbers were 82 out with 42 in. The current school year saw a 101 out enrollment with a 39 in. 

“We need to look at why they are leaving and how can we correct this,” noted board member Kim Trumm. 

The board discussed finding a way to do an exit interview with students’ families who choose to open enroll out to try to get a better understanding on why this choice is made.