The Hillsboro School Board dealt with several personnel items Dec. 14 during its regular monthly meeting.
Superintendent Curt Bisarek announced a general timeline for hiring a new middle/high school principal to replace Greg Zimmerman, who in September announced he is stepping down at the end of the current school year.
Bisarek said the principal’s position would be posted both internally and externally Dec. 15, with a closing date of Jan. 9 for applications, which the district will screen as they arrive.
Candidate interviews will be scheduled during the week of Jan. 11 and conducted during the weeks of Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, with the intention of presenting a candidate for hiring during the School Board’s schedules Feb. 15 meeting.
The board also approved posting an opening for a co-principal of students for grades 4K-12 for the 2016-17 school year.
In addition, the board approved hiring Jessica Weiler and Kelly Ravenscroft as coaches for junior high girls’ basketball. The two women were the only applicants for the positions.
The board also accepted a notice of retirement from special education teacher Mark Kocyan, who after 31 years will also leave at the end of the current school term.
School security matters also figured prominently in the meeting.
The board approved spending $2,377.58 to purchase a Ban-Koe telephone interface for intercom systems for both the elementary and the high schools.
High school science teacher Kirby Wong explained to the Board and the audience that the new system will use interface cards to integrate both the public address and the telephone systems, which at present are separate.
In the event of an emergency, teachers can make building-wide announcements through both cell and landline phones. The new system will require a special code for operation.
Prior to that vote, Bisarek said in his report to the Board that the district is gathering information on additional possible security and safety upgrades, including security cameras and electronic building access, as a result of ALICE nonviolent crisis intervention training in November.
In other business, the board approved a cooperative transportation agreement with the Royall school district for special education students.
Under terms of the agreement, the Hillsboro district will transport those students to and from New Lisbon. Royall will fund one-half the cost of transportation.
The board also approved a Spanish Club trip to Costa Rica in June 2017 following a presentation by Spanish teacher Shannon Chute, who will be taking her fourth trip to the Central American nation.
She said the trip will be open to any Hillsboro High School student in 2016-16 who is in good academic standing and who has no disciplinary problems. The per student cost will be $2,180, or $128/month, and the Spanish Club will fundraise for the trip.
Before the action items, Chute also gave a presentation on “Realidades,” the online textbook she is using in this year’s Spanish classes. It includes digital flash cards and audio pronunciation, as well as video introducing new words, and an online glossary and index.
Bisarek said in his report that one of two unions–that for support staff–failed to reach the 51 percent threshold to recertify under Act 10, the budget repair bill. As of July 1, 2016, the district will no longer be obligated to bargain over wages. However, the superintendent added, it remains the district’s preferred practice to talk with them.
The teachers’ union, the Hillsboro Education Association, recertified with 31 of 50 voting in favor.
The district is writing three grants: the WTI Technology Initiative (up to $25,000 with a 10 percent match by the district), which would fund the implementation of SmartBoards in classrooms; the WTI District/College Grant (up to $50,000 with a 10 percent match by the district), which would fund distance learning for students and staff; and Fab Labs (up to $25,000), which would give students hands-on experience with technologies such as 3D printing and computer-assisted design.
Bisarek also praised the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” which was signed into law last week. It replaces “No Child Left Behind.”
He said the new law reaffirms local control over education, and noted that all members of Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation voted in favor of the bill.
Before discussion and voting on the action items, Grade 7 “genius hour” students Grace Holthe, Megan Salisbury, Emma Sebranek and Paige Verbsky gave a presentation on their weekly activities with residents of Milestone Senior Living in Hillsboro. The Sunday afternoon visits included snacks, bingo, board games, and arts/crafts.