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Boscobel School Board approves $10 million borrowing resolution
Money would finance energy efficiency projects
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The Boscobel School Board and members of the audience welcomed their new high school principal Rod Lewis to his first monthly board meeting Tuesday night. Lewis had his first day at the high school last Monday, with Dean of Students Russ Atkinson giving him a hand while he settles into his new job. Atkinson will remain as Dean of Students at least until the end of the semester.

“I am very impressed with our students who continue to come up to me, shake my hand, and introduce themselves,” Lewis said. “I have also recognized the caring staff who are very student centered and just doing a lot of little things that make a lot of difference in the school.”

Resolution passed

Last week the school board began seeking public input on an energy efficiency plan that they plan to move forward with H&H Energy Services, Inc. to get accomplished. Going into Tuesday night’s meeting, the board was initially looking to borrow $7,850,000. However, due to unknown issues with the sewer below the high school gym floor, the price was bumped up to $10 million.

“Our initial number was $10 million and then we whittled it to the point where we got this $7.8 million,” board member Hershel Marks said. “The problem is I know there are things that are going to need fixing or taken care of that are not in this project. The sewer and water being one of the things they had not included.”

Another reason the board is increasing the resolution number to $10 million is because if they don’t use all the money they can pay it back. This gives them some cushion so they do not have to come back to the community and ask for more money because they did not take enough in the first place.

“When I started with this Act 32 stuff back in March and April, I went to legislation sessions on it and that was probably the number one thing I had heard was to make sure you borrowed enough money so you do not have to go back to the public and say you need more money,” Technology Director Allen Hines said. “That is the biggest downfall for districts because they have to be fiscally responsible and tend to short cut themselves and don’t have the money to complete all their projects.”

Now that the board has approved the resolution, they will be holding a town hall meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at Boscobel Bowl & Banquet starting at 7 p.m. H&H Energy Services, Inc. will have people in attendance at the meeting to answer any questions or concerns that the community members may have.

The project will proceed unless 7,500 District electors or 20 percent of the District electors file for a referendum within 30 days of Tuesday’s meeting. If that doesn’t happen, project work could be designed in December and early January, with construction starting in the spring.

Pep Grant

Carol Roth from Starfish Consulting presented the idea of applying for a Pep Grant to the school board for the junior/high school students. The Pep Grant is funded by the federal government to implement comprehensive, integrated, physical activity and nutrition programs for their students through the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP). The funding is intended to assist these entities with initiating, expanding, or enhancing physical education and nutrition programs, including after-school programs. The programs are expected to teach students how to develop an appreciation for life-long, healthy nutrition and physical education habits, and make progress toward meeting their state standards for physical education.

“The money is there and the money is available but Congress has not yet approved it. You just have to wait until it gets approved. There is a chance that it won’t get approved, but no one expects that because it has been funded since 2001,” Roth said.

Looking at a community the size of Boscobel, Roth believes the district could be eligible for $400,000 to $500,000 a year.

 “The timeline is that the grant should be released some time in 2015,” Roth said. “I think this is the time and I think this is an opportunity for Boscobel to go after something that could really replace a lot of things that would be beneficial to this community.”

Roth was asked to return to the board for the December board meeting with an idea of how much it would cost for her to write the grant with them. This will also give the board time to see if they would need to seek bids for a grant writer.


The board approved two support staff resignations for Laura Steele and Elizabeth Sutherland. Steele will be leaving her position as the administrator’s secretary and taking a similar position at the Richland Center School District. Sutherland will  be moving on to the Platteville School District as their new nurse’s aide. This is an opportunity for Sutherland to further her career in nursing.

Electronic Devices

There was a first reading of a new policy that will be set in place for the board on using electronic devices during board meetings by the board members. The policy states that the board’s use of electronic communication devices, such as cell phones, during a school board meeting may lead to the public’s perception that a board member is not paying attention to the subject matter at hand or that a board member is receiving information relative to the subject matter at hand that other board members and members of the public are not receiving, either one of which inimical to good government and transparency.

Due to this the board is now no longer to use electronic communication devices, including cell phones/smart phones, other than for the purpose of accessing agenda materials that are on a board member’s I-pad or lap top computer, is prohibited during board meetings. An exception may be made by the board in the case of an emergency.

“We have had some meetings that have been disrupted with text messages back and forth and I believe that is what this is all about,” board member Roger Knoble said. “We have had meetings that have been chaotic and people paying more attention to their phones than they are the meeting, and that is what I think this is all about.”

Marks and Knoble approved the first reading of the policy and the administrative staff plans to come back with a policy number and spot for this policy.