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Boscobel School Board moving forward with building projects
All referendum petitions thrown out
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Following a meeting on January 6, Boscobel School Board Clerk Barb Puckett decided to review the petition signatures that were pushing for a referendum on the borrowing of up to $10 million for school renovation projects under ACT 32. Once Puckett was done, she had thrown out a total of 57 signatures, including the 24 she had initially thrown out.

“After making a few phone calls, each of these (petition) sheets needed to have stapled to them something that talks about the resolution. There was nothing stapled to any of them, nor is there anything across them that tells what they’re for, so they all got thrown out.” Puckett said at Monday night’s regular monthly board meeting.

Petition organizer Steve Peer said he should have had time to correct any errors or omissions with the signatures.

“We should have had the opportunity to correct anything that you said had a bad address or was false; we should have had three days to do that,” Peer said. “You didn’t give us any time, at all. After the first time you threw out 24. Then when you didn’t get the numbers you went back and threw out more.”

“There’s always going to be that dispute,” said Board President Todd Miller. “The clerk has decided we don’t need to go to referendum. We need to know what we’re going to do. We’ve passed the resolution to move forward.”

Since the board no longer is pushed to go forward with a referendum, they plan to move forward and receive bids for the work to be completed. Once they have received the bids they would like to come back to the community and give them a firm number on what they will be borrowing.

“Before the petition had started, I actually had appointments set up to crawl around in the tunnels up there because the sewer problem that we’re talking about is actually the only one that we have had a camera in,” board member Hershel Marks said. “We don’t know what the other lines look like yet. I was going to help the engineers put cameras in the other ones to know if we have other problems we don’t know about yet. That is also why we went up to $10 million because we don’t know what we’re going to get into.”

The board assured the community members attending the meeting again that the things that are being repaired or renovated on the buildings are supposed to keep the buildings running for another generation. The goal is also to experience some energy savings cost and if that does not happen, then H&H is contracted to pay the district back the difference.

Dean of Students

When high school principal Rodney Lewis was hired at the end of October, it was agreed that Dean of Students Russ Atkinson would stay on until the end of first semester while Lewis settled into his new school. With the end of semester coming up next week, the board had to decide whether to have Atkinson return to his teacher position or to continue working as Dean of Students.

“I came up one day and talked to (Business Manager) Cherryl (Knowles) about what it would cost for us to hire another person to teach and have him stay in that position. I am not going to throw that figure out in the open now, but if I was going to stick that much money into hiring a teacher I would rather see us hire someone in the lower levels,” board member Chuck Owens said.

After a brief discussion, it was decided to have Atkinson return to his classroom following the end of first semester.

“Once he is not in this position, we may be revisiting this in six weeks and be like this is not working,” Owens said. “We need to test it out and go from there. Right now we need to look at the budget and what is best for the students.”

Pep Grant

This being the third time that the Pep Grant has made the school board’s agenda, the board has decided to move forward and try to get the Pep Grant for the school. They also agreed to let Carol Roth of Starfish Consulting write the grant for $4,500.

“Steve (Wacker) and I went over to Riverdale and met with Bryce Bird and the way he described it they had it detailed and knew where they were going with it,” board member Roger Knoble said. “I think this needs to be looked at seriously and figure out where were going to keep the equipment and what were going to do with it.”

The board does want to get a committee together that will make the plans that are needed to receive this grant including: where the equipment will go, what equipment they are hoping to purchase, and who is going to manage the grant for the three years.

Primary election

With a primary election scheduled on Feb. 17 for the Boscobel School Board, the board approved for all the municipalities located in the Boscobel School District to have polls open except for the Town of Haney, Town of Clayton and Town of Hickory Grove. The voters in the Town of Haney and Town of Clayton will be able to vote in the Town of Scott and the voters in the Town of Hickory Grove will be voting in the Town of Marion.

“The townships do not have to open their polling places if they had fewer then 10 percent of their voters at the last school board election,” Puckett said. “Town of Haney and Town of Clayton wished to be closed as did Town of Hickory Grove.”

Sunday events

Boscobel’s choir instructor Emily Blackbourn and Athletic Director Joey Martin were in attendance to ask for permission to host some events on Sundays. After looking at the calendar, there was not a day during the week that would be available for Blackbourn to hold the band and choir’s spring concert. So they were hoping the board would consider letting them host it on a Sunday afternoon in May, even though it is against policy to hold events on Sunday as it is seen as a family day.

“The issue is that right now we have no dates for our spring concert at this time,” Blackbourn said. “Last year the spring concert was held after the seniors graduated and you can’t force the seniors to come back after they have graduated. I would like to have them this year, so this is my proposal to have it on a Sunday.”

The board made it clear that they would not have a problem with the concert being held on a Sunday under two conditions: if students were unable to attend they would not be penalized for it and that it be held later in the afternoon so students would be able to go to their religious obligations and spend time with their families in the morning.

Martin asked on behalf of the boys’ basketball team to host a practice on a Sunday. The reasoning was they have a game scheduled for Friday, Feb. 6 and they have another scheduled for Monday, Feb. 9. With back-to-back games, there would not be a chance for the team to get together for practice, so they would like to have a practice on Sunday, Feb. 8. 

The board once again agreed to allow the practice but it wouldn’t be able to be a required practice to attend. That way the coach could not penalize the athlete if they were unable to attend.

Administrative contracts

After reconvening into closed session, the board announced that they offered a one-year contract to School Psychologist Lisa Goff, Elementary Principal Rick Walters, and Business Manager Cherryl Knowles.

Spring coaches

The approved spring coaches Al Gillingham as head softball coach, Roger Thompson as volunteer softball coach, Jeff Ostheimer as middle school track and field head coach.