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New board member selected at North Crawford Schools
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Jesse Swenson was selected as a replacement North Crawford School Board member to complete the term of board member Tina Volden, who resigned to accept a position in the district as the elementary school secretary.

Swenson is a district resident with children attending North Crawford Schools. She is expected to complete Volden’s term, which will be up for election in the spring.

In addition to Swenson, the school board considered two others for the position, Jorn Bansberg and Elling Jones. Bansberg ran for the school board in last spring’s election and Jones currently serves as the District 11 Crawford County Board Supervisor.

In the first balloting of the school board, Swenson and Bansberg each received two votes and Jones received one vote. In the second ballot, Swenson received three votes and Bansberg received two votes.

The meeting began with a recommendation of the North Crawford PEP Grant Committee on the purchase of fitness equipment through the grant. Tarasa Lown, the coordinator of the federal grant aimed at enhancing physical fitness and wellness, told the board that the committee was recommending the equipment be purchased from Summit Fitness, a Madison-based company.

North Crawford Schools Director of Maintenance, Harry Heisz told the board that the equipment was of high quality and the ease of maintenance through help from the company made it the right choice.

Lown noted that Summit was the choice as equipment provider for the Riverdale School District, which also received a PEP Grant.

North Crawford District Administrator Dr. Dan Davies explained that while Summit was not the low bidder, the quality of the equipment and the resources the company would provide made it the better choice.

School board president Mary Kuhn spoke in favor of the recommendation. She noted that “what you buy is sometimes not as important as the maintenance and service.”

School board member Judy Powell asked about where the equipment would be housed within the school. Hesiz and Lown indicated that some of it would be put into existing space in the current weight room. Some of the equipment will be stored until another space can be readied.

 An existing shed on the school grounds may be remodeled into a space too house the equipment. The equipment would have been housed in a proposed school-community fitness center, but construction of such a facility was rejected by voters in a referendum this past August.

The board approved paying up to $175,000 with funds from the PEP Grant to purchase the equipment from Summit Fitness.

At the recommendation of school district business manager Demetri Andrews, the board approved an updated budget for the 2014-15 school year, which included $6,128,758 in expenses and $6,072,368 in revenue, resulting in $56,390 deficit. The tax levy, also approved by the board, will be $1,768,721 or a 1.69 percent increase over the previous year.

The North Crawford School District mil rate will increase to 9.80 from 9.68 in the previous year. This means the portion of school taxes within the property tax bill will be $9.80 per $1,000 of equalized property value. As an example,  property with $100,000 in equalized property value would be $980 in property taxes toward the school.

Following a closed session to discuss employment matters, the board reconvened in open session and agreed:

• to cover the expense of obtaining commercial driver’s licenses for new bus drivers

• placed sign language interpreter Dala Hynek at a master’s degree level for pay scale purposes

• hired Dana Hooverson as a paraprofessional

• hired Angela Viscar as a bus driver pending her ability to obtain licensing

• tabled action on salary provisions for the athletic, activity and extended duties

In other business, the North Crawford School Board:

• recognized the effort of Hannah Gauthier in assisting the district with testing responsibilities in the absence of the director of special education Pat Wenske

• approved making all paychecks direct deposit to banks chosen by employees effective Jan. 1, 2015

• heard a report from board member Jim Dworschack on the progress of a prairie restoration project, taking place on school property