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Hillsboro schools may face fall referendum
Superintendent says district must go to taxpayers or cut services
brian hora oath of office
Newly elected School Board member Brian Hora is sworn in by Hillsboro Superintendent Curt Bisarek at Monday night's meeting as Business Manager Mindy Lankey watches. - photo by Jack Knowles photo

It looks very much like the residents of the Hillsboro School District will soon be facing a decision on the future of its school students in a tax referendum.

School District Superintendent Curt Bisarek spelled out the facts for School Board members and visitors at Monday night’s meeting.

Pointing out “the need to start building the case with taxpayers for a referendum,” Bisarek laid the facts on the table, by stating “We’ve reached a point where we have to look to November for an answer from the taxpayers.

“We can’t go any further without significantly cutting the services we provide students. There will be no fund balance within two years if we don’t do something.”

Bisarek reported that there have recently been many referendums in the state and he is “hopeful and optimistic” for the future.

“Over the last few months we have addressed the needs of the district through a variety of projects and initiatives. The first was addressing some of the needs of our facilities, roofing, boilers, windows and doors, and other necessary maintenance projects to maintain what we have, to be good stewards of the funds provided by the taxpayers.

“Next we need to study and address the needs of our students and staff. Schools are no longer the same places like they were when we went to school. The expectations to learn more in less time, the integration of technology, and the growing diversity of learners (advanced placement and at-risk students) are all creating areas of stress n many areas of the district, and it is time that we address those challenges....before we ask the voters to support the district financially.

“They should expect us to improve the opportunities to their kids, grandchildren, neighbors and so on.”

Bisarek also presented some issues that are evolving in the area of teaching methods and the needs of students.

• A number of textbook manufacturers have announced that they will no longer be supporting “books.” New curriculum will be available digitally and will be supported over the  Web.

• If that is the case, how will the district move to one computer for each student to deliver curriculum? There already are a number of districts the size of Hillsboro that are textbook free.

• If we move in this direction, what is the role of the library and computer labs? What tools will the staff need that are different than they have today?

• What support and staff development will our staff need in order to make those changes beneficial to students?

• How will technology change the classroom?

Bisarek closed by telling Board members that they must make a decision about taking the problem to the taxpayers.

A resolution to explore the possibility of a November referendum was unanimously passed.

In other business, resignation letters were received from Elementary School teacher Ann Wong, business teacher Jamie Schmitz, and girls basketball coach Ron Benish. A retirement letter was received from Sandy Holverson.

After outlining the plans for Elementary Summer School, Principal Cara Wood reported that the Mississippi Valley Gifted & Talented Network Spelling Bee winners were Mac Verbsky and Billy Fuller, who both will travel to Bangor for further competition.

She also announced there will be no school April 18 and 21.

Tornado Awareness Week will be held April 21-25, and the Elementary School will participate in a drill April 23.

The fourth grade Heritage Fair will be held on May 2.

The Family Title event will be held on May 6. Musicians and storytellers Stuart Stotts and Tom Pease will entertain. A meal will be provided from 5:30-6:30 p.m., followed by a presentation.

Mrs. Danah Tornga was awarded a $200 Safety Patrol Grant from AAA. The fifth grade Safety Patrol Group will have its annual field trip May 15 in Wisconsin Dells.

High School Principal Greg Zimmerman and Bisarek announced an anonymous tip line is now on the school web Site.

Thanks to the Hillsboro Telephone Company, parents can call 489-tips to contact the school anonymously. “We’ll see how it works as it progresses,” Bisarek  stated.

Zimmerman congratulated Courtney Fanta. After winning the District Geography Bee, she completed a written test which was sent to the National Geographic Bee. Courtney has qualified to compete at the State Level in Madison.

Congratulations to students who did well in the Middle School Presentation Contest: 1st Place, Courtney Fanta; 2nd Place, Grace Stockwell; 3rd Place, Devon Verbsky.

The 10th grade attended a Holocaust Survivor Video Conference on March 27 in the Distance Learning Lab.
Nolan Hammer and Maddie Mitchell qualified for FBLA Nationals in Nashville, Tennessee.

Coming events include:

•  Reality Daze at Westby on April 23.

• Solo and Ensemble Recital on April 25 at 7 p.m.

• National Honor Society Induction Ceremony April 29.

• Tiger Track Invitational on May 1.

• FFA Banquet on May 2.

• State Solo and Ensemble on May 3 at UW-La Crosse.

• AP exams on May 8-9.

• Show Choir and Jazz Band Concert on May 9.

•  Class of 2014 Honors Banquet on May 14.

• Senior Class Trip May 18.

• High School/Middle School Band Concert on May 20.

• Graduation May 23.

• Middle School Awards Night on May 28.

• Last day of school June 4

After a closed session, the Board approved reassigning Marie Kraska from 4-K to Kindergarten and Toni Ross from 2nd grade to 3rd grade beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

The Board also approved the notice of non-renewal of Kellsie Goodman, who served as a 4th grade and 1st grade teacher for this school year. The non-renewal is not for performance-related reasons.