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Boscobel School District faces $700,000 deficit
Business Manager resigns
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Both high school and middle school principal Rod Lewis and elementary principal Rick Walters reported good starts to the school year at Tuesday night’s Boscobel Area School District School Board meeting.

“Things are going reasonable well,” Walters said. “Everyone is adapting to the new schedule. Our youngest students are getting used to the rules on how to behave, learning what is expected of them. We are working on implementing having 4K and Kindergarten have lunch in the Rock. And MAP testing is underway. Teachers will be able (to use the testing information) to adapt their teaching plans for the year.”

Lewis reported that new teachers were successfully navigating the new mentoring program. He also informed the board of changes to Mrs. Shellhorn’s science class. She is now using the computer lab for lectures and her former room is being used as the science lab.

“The tailgate went well,” Lewis continued. “It raised quite a bit (of money). And we had our first in-service last Wednesday. We used that time to talk about professional learning communities. Some of our new teachers were able to share their experiences with professional learning communities in other school districts. All in all, it was positive and I think helpful.”

District Operations Manager Steve Wacker reported only that he would be gone for the next three days to attend a leadership conference in Madison.

Questions H&H contract

Mark Knowles was given four minutes to speak to the board during community comments. Knowles questioned the H&H Energy contract and information provided for the upcoming school referendum.

“I was under the impression from the meeting I attended and from the article in the Dial that the boilers in our buildings were ancient,” Knowles said. “But they aren’t. They are all 15 years old or less.”

An inspection of the high school/middle school boilers by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services on May 20, 2014 stated, “No adverse conditions noted,” and no requirements needed. Similar findings were reported in a May 31, 2011 inspection, with the inspector writing, “Recommend renewal of Permit to Operate with this inspection.”

Knowles quoted a bid by Schneider Electric presented to the board in April 2014 that estimated the total project as coming in at between $2.2 and $4.1 million, depending on the extent of projects chosen.

Knowles also pointed out that when he did the math on the cost to property taxpayers, he came up with much higher numbers, with debt service included, more like $200 per $1,000 of assessed value. Fact sheets distributed by H&H and the district have that number at $118.

Knowles ended his presentation with the opinion that the contract deserved closer scrutiny and that he felt the school could accomplish it goals for much less than the referendum amount of $6.9 million.

A woman in the audience attempted to ask a question during Knowles presentation but was informed that she could not ask questions during Knowles four minutes by Board President Todd Miller.

Business Manager Cheryl Knowles reported that budget report was quite preliminary as there was still coding to be corrected, but that the numbers overall were accurate.

“$700,000 shortfall”

“We are right about where Dr. Ennis predicted with about a $700,000 shortfall,” Knowles said. “I had hoped we could go through the budget line by line or section by section. We need to do this. I had hoped we would do it last spring. The budget needs to be shaved. There are decisions that need to be made.

Asked why this should be done now by trustee Roger Knoble, Knowles responded with, “Ideally you want a balanced budget.”


The board tabled the discussion as informational with no action required and moved on. They later accepted Knowles’ resignation in closed session, but denied the $1,000 resignation fee waiver.

The resignation of Knowles’ administrative assistant, Crystal Brown, was moved to closed session but no action was taken. The board did accept the resignation of school psychologist, as well as Head of Technology Alan Hines during a special meeting last Wednesday, Sept. 9.

In other business, the Boscobel School Board:

• approved hiring a bus driver at the regular rate for morning routes and the special education rate for special afternoon routes;

• received copies of employee contracts for informational purposes;

• approved the flow chart delineating responsibility for responding to incidents in the absence of administrators;

• heard from the Boscobel Police Department about a tactical response training/walk-through of the school facilities planned on Oct. 21;

• approved the purchase of a wheel chair transportation bus pending receipt of the state inspection paperwork and a physical inspection by the Transportation Director;

• tabled discussion of having the 6th grade walk to physical education class at the high school pending a response from the insurance provider on liability;

• set a special meeting to discuss handbook language for Oct. 6 at 6:30 p.m.;

• approved creation of a position to manage the Positive Behavior Intervention Program at $500 per year with first grade teacher Bridget Bender filling the position;

• approved creating grade level heads to work with the elementary principle at a stipend of $100 per year;

• approved the contract with Reilly Heating and Plumbing to install a new air conditioner in the library server room pending receipt of the warrantee;

• approved a request for 3.5 days of unpaid leave for Dean Ward

• denied an open enrollment request received after the due date;

• approved participation of the band in the Galena Holloween Parade;

• accepted donations from Boscobel Boys Youth Basketball, Pamela Turner, and Erma Brandt;

• approved the overnight requests for the FFA convention in Louisville and the 6th grade trip to Wyalusing State Park;

• moved the leave of absence request by Patricia Simmons to closed session, with the board denying the request when reconvened in open session.