NORTH CRAWFORD - The North Crawford School District continues to innovate to better serve their community. Their latest project is a ‘Daycare Pilot,’ to be operated in the 2022-2023 school year. The project is intended to try to address the lack of childcare available to working parents in the community.
“Enrollment is about 55 percent community and 45 percent staff at this time,” North Crawford Elementary School Principal Amanda Killeen said at a recent school board meeting.
The principal said enrollment in the ages 0-2 Room currently has three to four infants, depending on the day, and that by late October, that number will increase to seven to eight, as staff who have had babies return to work. She said that at that time, additional daycare staff will be hired. In the ages 2-4 Room, there are currently 8-10 children enrolled daily.
Killeen reported that she had been pleased to have a large number of applicants to hire from for the three open positions for the daycare. She said that Tracy Jacobus, Briana Davis and Nicole Harris have been hired for the positions.
“One big goal for us in this pilot is for the daycare to be budget neutral and affordable for families and staff,” Killeen told the board. “For this reason, we have been actively seeking donations to help stock the facility with equipment and toys.”
Killeen said that their efforts have been successful, and they have secured the following assistance for the project:
• Crossing Rivers Healthcare donated two evacuation cribs, a baby seat, a small chair and double strollers
• Organic Valley made a $5,000 cash donation, and will donate snacks starting in January
• Elowyn Killeen raised $200 at a lemonade stand, which funds were used to purchase five used evacuation cribs from a Minnesota daycare that was shutting down
• Head Start of LaCrosse sold them heavily discounted bookshelves, a rug and wooden lockers.
“We are still in need of donations for our outdoor play area,” Killeen said. “We would also appreciate any volunteer time individuals could give to help to transform the courtyard into a small child play area.”
In his administrative report North Crawford District Administrator Brandon Munson explained that unfortunately, the federal funding that allowed all students to eat breakfast and lunch free of charge has expired, and has not been renewed.
“We are encouraging all families to fill out the paperwork to see if they are eligible for free or reduced price lunches this year,” Munson said. “If they qualify for free, then they won’t pay, and if they qualify for reduced prices, the district plans to cover the difference so those students can eat free of charge as well.”
Munson said that even though supply chain challenges and inflation continue to impact food availability and prices, the district has opted to make no changes in meal prices for the coming school year.
“I have made many preparations, and am ready to face the challenges supply and prices will present in the upcoming school year,” Foodservice Director Jen Kapinus said in her report. “Local beef, pork and produce have been ordered and confirmed for the entire year.”
Kapinus also shared in her report to the board that the Institute for Child Nutrition had recognized the school’s foodservice program for having “successful, creative and healthy meals that meet the meal pattern requirements.” She said that she would be highlighting the school nutrition program in a nationwide webinar later in August, sharing tips for preparing and serving nutritious meals, best practices for efficient techniques, and innovative practices.
District administrator Munson presented proposed text of the operating and capital bonding referendums the district will place on the ballot in the November 2022 election. The referendum language was presented as ‘an informational item’ only, and is expected to be acted on by the board at their Tuesday, August 16 meeting.
The operating referendum would pay for the district to continue providing their current level of service, and the capital bonding referendum would pay for needed upgrades to district buildings and grounds. Both referendums, if passed in November, would authorize the district to exceed caps on property tax levy to school district taxpayers.
The proposed language of the operational referendum is as follows:
“Shall the North Crawford School District, Crawford, Richland and Vernon Counties, Wisconsin, be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $300,000 for the 2022-2023 school year; by an additional $250,000 (for a total of $550,000) for the 2023-2024 school year; by an additional $200,000 (for a total of $750,000) for the 2024-2025 school year; and by an additional $150,000 (for a total of $900,000) for the 2025-2026 school year and thereafter, for recurring purposes consisting of operational expenses?”
The proposed language of the capital bonding referendum is as follows:
“Shall the North Crawford School District, Crawford, Richland and Vernon Counties, Wisconsin be authorized to issue pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $4,500,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school facility improvement project at the school building and site consisting of: capital maintenance, building infrastructure and site improvements, including roof and window replacement; renovations and facility updates, including Americans with Disabilities Act improvements and upgrades to instructional space; and acquisition of furnishings, fixtures and equipment?”
Munson said that the annual impact to a district property taxpayer for a property with an assessed value of $100,000 for the operating referendum would be $66 per year, and for the capital bonding referendum, $140 per year.
In other business
In other business, the board:
• heard that due to the early school year start making for a shorter than usual summer, elementary teachers have undertaken an on-their-own-schedule flexible, virtual ‘Conscious Discipline’ professional development program
• heard from the new Middle School/High School Principal Dr. Robert Sailer that he has been busy getting acclimated, overseeing staff professional development, and anticipates a finalized schedule in the next few weeks
• heard from Munson that construction projects in the building on a new concessions stand, modifications to the library, and remodeling of Room 316 into rooms that can be used for intervention staff, are moving ahead and should be completed within the next two weeks
• heard from Munson that following the recently completed audit of district finances, the district had shown a $50,000 surplus, which would be transferred to the Fund 46 for capital improvements
• heard from Jerry Coleman, the district’s representative to CESA-3, about a school safety presentation he had recently heard, and about the importance of locked doors and a public address system that reaches all parts of the building
• approved the professional and support staff, elementary, middle school/high school, co-curricular and transportation handbooks with changes as presented
• approved Jill Bender as head coach, and Erin Konicheck as assistant coach for high school volleyball; and Carrie Gallindo as head coach, and Grace Roth as assistant coach for middle school volleyball
• approved Jeremy Fradette as head coach, and Andrew Watters and Caleb Jacobus as assistant coaches for high school football; and Beau Blaha as head coach for middle school football, with the need for an assistant to be determined
• approved Liz Bransky as head coach, and Eileen Robel as assistant coach for high school cross country; and Todd Kemper as head coach for middle school cross country
• approved an overnight field trip request made by Liz Bransky for a cross country team retreat• set the date of the district annual meeting for Monday, October 24, immediately following conclusion of the budget meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m.