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Changes arrived for school board
Seneca School District
Seneca School District

SENECA - The Seneca School Board meeting Monday night started with a major statement by longtime board president Mark Johnson.

As the board prepared to re-organize the body after the recent election, Johnson began the meeting with his announcement.

“I love this school,” Johnson said. “And, I want to make the best decision for the school. So, after giving the matter significant thought. I believe it would be best for the school if another member of the board would serve as president.”

With Seneca District Administrator David Boland acting as temporary chairperson Adam Green, Shawn Lenzendorf and Crisse Reynolds were acknowledged as the three winners of the recent election.

The first order of business for the board was electing permanent officers, beginning with electing a new president.

After nominations for president were opened, Tyler Aspenson nominated Shawn Lenzendorf and Britney Joy seconded the nomination.

Mark Johnson had previously noted that he had learned recently that board members can nominate themselves.

Crisse Reynolds nominated herself as candidate for board president and Shawn Lenzendorf seconded her nomination.

With nominations closed small pieces of paper were handed out and board members wrote down their choice for president. When tallied, the vote was four for Lenzendorf and three for Reynolds.

“Shawn congratulations,” outgoing board president Mark Johnson said when the results were announced.

From this point forward, every office had one person nominated and motions were made to close the nominations and cast a unanimous ballot in favor of the person nominated.

The next office up for election was board vice president. Lenzendorf nominated Crisse Reynolds and board member Charles Clark seconded the motion. Aspenson moved to close the nominations and cast a unanimous ballot in favor of Reynolds for vice president. Joy seconded the motion and it was passed.

Board clerk Rachael George did not run for re-election this time, so a new clerk was needed. Aspenson nominated Britney Joy and Johnson seconded the nomination. Lenzendorf moved to close the nomination and cast a unanimous ballot  for Joy. Aspenson seconded the motion and the board passed it.

Johnson nominated Charles Clark for board treasurer. It was seconded and a motion to close to the nominations and cast unanimous ballot was made, seconded and passed.

Mark Johnson agreed to continue as the district’s representative to CESA #3. Crisse Reynolds agreed to be the district’s official representative for the Wisconsin Association of School boards.

There were also some adjustments to the school board committee assignments based on changes to the board.

After the official business of re-organization was done, Mark Johnson rose and presented Rachael George with a plaque thanking her for her six years of service as the board’s clerk. He noted he had enjoyed serving on the board with Rachael, who he said had a great big heart.

“I want to thank all of you for the support you have given me and I want to thank the community for supporting us especially the last few years. Thank you.”

Board policies

With no old business on the agenda, the first order of new business was the first residing of Policy #1536 ‘Public Comment at Board Meetings.’

The board’s policy committee brought forward the revised public comment policy to make meetings function better and be more consistent with other local school districts, according to Johnson.

Board members George, Reynolds and Johnson modeled the policy after the public comment policies of school boards at Fennimore and North Crawford. Following the first reading at the April meeting, the policy will be brought back to the next meeting for a vote on final approval.

In other business

In other business, the Seneca School Board:

• approved the low bid for new signs in the gym of $2,880 from Graphic Design in Prairie du Chien

• approved BS Refrigeration’s low bid $18,025 for a furnace mounted on the rooftop over the high school-the work will be done by July 1, and expensed in the current fiscal year

• approved the low bid of Mezera Plumbing and Heating for three heating/AC units for the LMC at low bid of $13,014

• decided the cost of AC   for the gym was too high for the limited benefits that would be enjoyed

• agreed to hire Stalker Brothers, the installers of the original gym floor for a big redo of the gym floor that would include sanding down the current floor to bare wood and repainting and refinishing it at a cost of $21,450

• approved allowing two extra COVID days beyond the regular allotment of the sick days for those who had to stay home for reasons due to the pandemic

• learned the 2022-2023 district property insurance premiums with Tricor will decline because worker compensation claims were down

• created a Capital Improvement Plan and a Fund 46, where surpluses that occur in budgets some years could be put for use on future capital improvements

• approved the 2022-23 SWEEP Agreement that allows  the district to use field maintenance equipment for a $100 per year membership in a consortium of local school districts

Administrator report

During the district administrators report, the board learned the budget was running as expected at this point in the year.

Boland also told the board the CPI (Consumer Price Index) was 4.7 percent this year–the number is used to adjust wages in the district. He also noted that several local school district’s had already approved increasing wages to match the CPI.

Boland told the board that the district was looking to replace an increasingly obsolete phone system with VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phones. The district was investigating three possible vendors.

Boland told the board that fourth grade students had requested having a sleepover at the school, and teachers Debbie Varo and Jessica Dworschack had agreed to the idea. The sleepover will occur on a Friday night, and pizza will be on the menu.

The board also learned that in accordance with county health department recommendations, the school would turn on the bubblers, in addition to the water bottler fillers that will remain in operation as well.

Boland told the board the Wisconsin Reading Corps application was approved by the DPI, and there is action to fill the position underway.

The Seneca Area School District Monthly Recognition Award for April went to:

• All Conference Academic Students–Nick Kirchhoff, Willow Roensch and Kadin Wallin.

• Grace Varo for being a State Spelling Bee participant.

• Middle school state wrestling participants–Sawyer Swiggum, Evan O'Kane, and Gavyn Wilkins.

• State Forensics participants–Al Rewey, Willow Roensch, Tanner Kilburg, Jacob Payne, Serena Corelli, and Hayven Smethurst. Coaches Laury Nelson and Jenny Fisher. 

• Mona Jones: Special Ed Instructor for 42 years of service.

• Barb Fisher: Middle School Instructor for 17 years of service.

• Janet Kilburg: Reading Specialist for seven years of service. 

Closed session

Following a closed session, the board returned to open session and:

• approved hiring Annie Janousek as a high school English teacher

• approved hiring Kelsey Kleven as district reading specialist

• approved Dave Benzing as trap team adviser

• approved transferring English teacher Jenny Fisher to the middle school.