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Boscobel School Board hears of teacher shortage
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One of the biggest challenges facing schools this year is new – hiring teachers, explained both interim administrator Dr. Sharon Ennis and operations manager Steve Wacker during Tuesday night’s Boscobel School Board meeting.

The elementary school has been unable to elicit a response to its search for a music teacher, as reported by elementary principal Rick Walters. And the compensation package for the new high school technical education teacher – John Moran will be paid $60,000 and start with 30 additional sick days to add to the 10 he will accrue during the school year – raised comment from board member Roger Knoble, who expressed surprise at the contract details.

“After Act 10, teachers are a little like pro football players,” explained Dr. Ennis. “They are in a position to negotiate.”

Many experienced teachers are choosing to leave the field and young, inexperienced teachers are asking for greater pay, according to the interim administrator. Increased reporting demands mandated by the state are exacerbating the situation.

The situation extends to administration, with many school districts across the state struggling to find administrators as well, according to Ennis. And the new reporting mandates extend to school boards as well.

“There is a list of about 25 items that boards are responsible for making sure parents are aware of going into the year,” Ennis said.

Maintenance and preparation of the five school buildings are well advanced, according to the Wacker, Walters, and high school principal Rodney Lewis.

There was a vacancy for a student custodial worker for the final two weeks of summer, according Wacker. He recommended Courtney Lewis for the position, but because her father is the high school principal, the recommendation was ultimately denied. Knoble attempted to address the potential conflict by motioning that the recommendation be accepted contingent upon all students listed on the original summer custodial list be contacted and offered the work first.

“I’m going to pass on this,” said board vice president Chuck Owens. “I think it will open up a can of worms.”

The motion failed with board members Owens, Barb Puckett, and Jason Pickett voting against.

First grade teacher Bridget Bender reported on the implementation of the PBIS program implemented in the elementary school.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports is a formalization of already existing efforts, according to Bender. The program ensures that all staff are consistent in its use and encourages parents to develop the same techniques outside of school.

“Incidents are entered into the data system so that we can evaluate and address problems where they are occurring more proactively,” Bender said.

All staff have either been trained or are being trained, including bussing staff, Bender noted.

The board approved a contract with Crossing Rivers Health to provide athletic training services to school athletes.

The hospital will provide service in the school two times per week plus provide staff for specified sporting events.

“The Boosters will cover the cost of pre-impact testing,” explained athletic director Joey Martin. “Gundersen Lutheran will donate the cost of impact testing.”

The two will help create baselines for the trainers provided by Crossing Rivers.

“This is good for concussion and other injury issues too,” Martin said.

The athletic director told the board that it is important that they make sure students are not returning to the field before they have fully recovered.

In other business, the Boscobel School Board:

• heard there was low turn out for the second session of summer school;

• heard initial tallies for open enrollment with 32 students leaving and 35 coming into the district;

• heard that the school had been denied sparsity aid by a small margin of numbers;

• heard that Wacker and others would meet with city officials on September 1 to discuss the recreation program;

• approved Susan Beck as the mentoring coordinator;

• approved changes to the fall coaching list;

• tabled approval of the spring coaching positions;

• moved discussion of the transportation and operations managers’ contracts to closed session;

• approved the updated resolution and agreement with North Crawford School District for the shared Administrative Assistant position;

• approved handbook changes adding language from the Americans with Disabilities Act;

• denied two open enrollment requests received after the state deadline;

• approved the purchase of 10 Chromebooks for special education;

• approved posting academic standards on the school website;

• discussed the chain of command flow chart and responding to issues relating to administration being off campus;

• received drafts on formal job descriptions;

• approved purchasing CESA #7’s Curriculum Companion Plus program and support;

• approved the contract with MJ Care for Medicaid billing software and support;

• heard an update on Head Start meal preparation;

• approved purchase of True Time timesheet management software through Skyward for use by hourly employees;

• approved continuing with WEA for long-term disability coverage;

• approved a propane gas contract with Ferrell Gas;

• approved continuing with the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) program for the 2015-2016 school year;

• approved the use of tickets in day-of-event athletic admission sales to assist with reconciling sales receipts;

• approved the substitute teachers and support staff list with the addition of Adam Stenner as a substitute teacher;

• approved co-curricular contracts;

• approved hosting the spring concert on a Sunday due to scheduling constraints;

• accepted and recognized donations from ‘Breakfast On the Course’ of $300 for weighted basketballs for the girls’ basketball team and $500 for cameras for the football team;

• accepted and recognized donations from CenturyLink of $500 for the softball club in recognition of the hours Roger Thompson spent as a volunteer with the program; and

• approved the Transportation Director contract with Doug Piotrowski at $47,500 plus benefits upon reconvening after closed session.