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Boscobel School Board hears of test score improvement
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By Tricia Hill

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) released District Report Cards for state school districts Tuesday and Boscobel showed significant improvement over WKCE tests taken during the 2011-12 school year. The most recent District Report Cards were based off the students WKCE tests taken last October.

For the first time, DPI took all the scores and came out with a percentage for the entire district based off the students scores. The Boscobel School District as a whole came out with 74.8 percent out of 100 and qualifying for the “Exceeds Expectations” category. Boscobel was looking at 849 students enrolled in the district at that time. 

"There was a tremendous amount of improvement made and I believe the teachers and principals should be recognized for this improvement," said District Administrator Tom Woznicki. 

Boscobel's elementary, junior high and high schools all showed improvement on their district report card for the 2012-13 report card versus their report card from 2011-12. 

On the 2011-12 report card, Boscobel Elementary was given a 58.3 percent score, leaving them at meeting few expectations with an enrollment number of 486 students. However, the elementary students made a 10.2 percent improvement on their 2012-13 district report card, giving them a 68.5 percent score and leaving them in the “Meets Expectations” category.

Boscobel's junior high report card showed the least amount of improvement from the 2011-12 reports card, however, as Woznicki told the school board at their monthly meeting on Tuesday night, even though a 4.5 percent increase may not seem like much, it is still a big increase. The junior high showed a 68.6 percent on their 2012-13 report card, also qualifying them for the Meets Expectations category. 

Boscobel Senior High School showed a 9.4 percent increase from their 2011-2012 report card, leaving them with a 76.6 percent, and placing them in the Exceeds Expectations category.  According to Woznicki, this means that Boscobel's teachers, principals, parents, students and school board have been doing their jobs and staying the course to make this positive change.

Chromebook costs

As Woznicki was able to show the district report card achievements to the board on Tuesday night, the board later in the meeting was given the opportunity to take the next step in placing Boscobel students ahead of other school districts by adding Chromebooks to their school district. 

Woznicki and head of technology Allen Hines introduced the idea of placing Chromebooks not only in the teacher’s hands but also with students in grades second through twelfth. In order to make that happen, the school would be looking at finding $294,353 somewhere in their funds. 

However, Woznicki placed two leasing scenarios in the minds of the school board, one that would be considered a standard lease program which would have the school paying $83,767 per year for three years; the other option was a finance lease program which meant the school would pay $92,441 per year for three years. 

The difference between these two leasing options was that the standard leasing option would have them paying for the product for three years, and then giving the Chromebooks back and starting over. The finance lease program would let the school pay off the cost of the Chromebooks and leave them owning them at the end of the three years. 

Had the board chosen to buy enough Chromebooks for the entire faculty and student body, Woznicki recommended that they forget leasing them and buy them out of pocket, as they could always sell the Chromebooks or keep using them after three years if they pleased. That way they could make a profit off the used Chromebooks when they went to buy updated versions. 

After Woznicki gave his presentation to the school board, Jen Gallagher. Former BHS music teacher and currently principal at Prairie du Chien High School, explained to the board what she has done to implement Chromebooks into the Prairie du Chien School District. This year Prairie du Chien implemented 300 Chromebooks throughout their district for students and faculty.

However, after discussing the issue board member Roger Knoble made a motion that was seconded by board member Thomas Pelz to only order 18 Chromebooks to be split throughout the school district so the faculty could share them and figure out how they could be useful in their classes.

It will take the Chromebooks about six to eight weeks to arrive at the school and then Hines and his team will have to work on getting them set up for use. Hines guesses it will be around December when teachers will be able to have the Chromebooks available.

School Forest

Once the board was done discussing how to help bring the students at an advantage over other school districts, the School Forest program asked for approval of a bid given by Earthwork and Crushed Stone Construction for a new parking lot and road to their school forest area. 

The school forest asked for bids for this project to be completed and Reynolds Brothers Excavating gave them the lowest bid. The original bid was for $23,002. This price being out of the school forest’s price range caused them to ask for a lower bid that Reynolds lowered to $22,928. 

Still being out of the price range they were looking for, Ruth Bauer and her team had to rearrange their plans so they could get closer to their price range. 

Once this was completed Reynolds was able to lower their bid to $16,195. The school forest program received a grant that would cover $15,000 of the project, leaving $1,195 needed to cover the whole bid amount. The board approved the bid to be done by Earthwork and Crushed Stone Construction and also approved for the district to take the $1,195 out of the Fund 10 account to cover the extra cost not covered by the grant.