There were a number of important items discussed by the School Board at its regular monthly meeting Monday night, but one in particular will draw plenty of disappointment in the Hillsboro community.
Long-time Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor Paul Marshall presented the board with his resignation. The veteran ag instructor has been a member of the HHS faculty for 25 years and is synonymous with the FFA’s continuing record of success in state competition.
Other resignations included Jeannie Hora, who has 20 years of service on the faculty, Girls Basketball Coach Mark Kocyan, and Cheerleading Advisor Debra Freitag.
A rather unusual segment of the meeting came during the Public Forum portion when Board Member Bob Stekel personally answered a citizen’s complaint that he was “anti-teacher,” especially during negotiations with the teachers’ union representative.
Stekel stood up and addressed Board members and those in attendance for about 20 minutes. The former Board President challenged all those in the room to find any evidence in the official Board minutes or otherwise that he has shown a bias against teachers or other members of the school staff at any time.
During the staff reports portion of the meeting, Elementary School Principal Cara Wood announced that fifth-grader Theresa Robinson and fourth-grader Peter Gustafson will represent the school at the annual MVGTN spelling bee held in Bangor on Tuesday, Apr. 16.
She also reported that the Fourth-Grade Heritage Fair will be held on Friday, Apr. 19, with the winners continuing on to Tomah on May 7.
In addition, the annual General Mills Boxtop Drive will be held Apr. 15-19. Money raised from the class-competition drive will be used for school-wide activities like the Dome Theater and to purchase playground equipment.
The “Growing Healthy in Wisconsin” program will be presented to the Fourth-Graders by Rita Houser from the Wisconsin Dairy Council on Tuesday, Apr. 16.
High School Principal Greg Zimmerman called attention to the fact that, with the approaching end to the school year, a number of activities are scheduled, including a visit by State Rep. Lee Nerison (R-Viroqua) at 9:30 a.m. Apr. 12; Junior Class Prom Apr. 13; the FFA Banquet Apr. 18; State Forensics Meet Apr. 19; Kalahari (Middle School) Band Festival Apr. 25; State Solo and Ensemble participants recital Apr. 26; Eighth-Grade Leadership Gold Scramble Apr. 27; Elementary School Spring Music Program in the high school gymnasium at 7 p.m. Apr. 30.
The May schedule is even busier.
In his report, School Superintendent Curt Bisarek reviewed and updated the Board on the continuing preparation of the Wisconsin State School Budget.
He outlined what appears to be a growing struggle for funding between different portions of the state, with the City of Madison being somewhat of a dividing line.
Pointing out that big city legislators on the east side of the state have no idea of the fundamental needs of schools in the rural school districts in the western portions, he stated, “It gets me bristled up when the east side of the state undercuts our school district.”
Both Nerison and State Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) have meetings scheduled in Hillsboro with Bisarek and members of the school district staff to discuss the situation.
The Superintendent will be loaded for bear at the meeting, although talking with local lawmakers Nerison and Shilling could be considered preaching to the choir. But Bisarek feels strongly that the problem must be discovered and understood by all area voters and elected officials.
Stay tuned for an upcoming “Guest Editorial” in the Sentry-Enterprise!
In other news from the meeting, newly re-elected School Board members Jenny Hynek and Jan Levy took the Oath of Office for another term.
Several students also addressed the Board, seeking approval for the 2013 class trip to Wisconsin Dells on May 15. There will be no cost to students attending because the class treasury has enough funds to cover the outing.
The Board unanimously approved the plans.
In other business, the Board:
• Unanimously approved the second reading of the Indoor Environmental Quality Management Plan;
• Unanimously approved CESA 4 and CESA 5 service contracts for 2013-2014 at a cost of $4,900, pertaining to Software Support, Special Education Leadership Support, Distance Learning Programs, Carl Perkins Consortium, Administration, and School Based Services.
• Issued a teacher layoff/non-renewal to Alyssa Bandsma due to class size.
• Hired Heidi Thompson as an Elementary School aide for a 12-hour week.