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North Crawford School Board denies claims
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The North Crawford School Board issued two resolutions to deny claims seeking damages totaling $450,000 at the March 27 board meeting.

Ritch Stevenson, Vickie Stevenson, and Aubrey Stevenson seeking damages in an amount of not less than $250,000 and Jodi Swiggum and Thomas Swiggum seeking damages in an amount of not less than $200,000 filed the claims for defamation.

The denied claims arose from the exclusion of North Crawford volleyball players from the all-conference team last fall. That decision was made by conference coaches on the basis of their understanding of a social media incident that occurred earlier in the season.

The alleged incident involved social media postings by a North Crawford team member or members about the team’s new coach.

The school district has maintained that the school district’s athletic director and the volleyball coach determined that there had been no violation of the athletic code when they investigated the incident, therefore disciplinary action was deemed unnecessary.

By denying the claims of the four parents and student, the school board has created a six-month period, beginning upon notification, in which the claimants must decide if they will take the district into civil litigation, under state statute 893.8001(g).

If the Stevensons and Swiggums do choose litigation, the legal process will probably take between 9 months and a year and a half to reach resolution, according to Lori Lubinsky, the attorney representing the school in this matter.

The board also approved a $4,000 investigator contract with attorney Malina Piontek on the recommendation of Eilene Brownlee, the district’s legal counsel.

Devan Toberman, the program director for Teeth-For-Life, explained the program that brings dental hygienists into the school.

“What I do is go school to school,” Toberman said. “I do go to the other three schools in the county.

“We offer dental cleanings, dental sealings, and fluoride varnishes, in addition to oral health education,” Toberman continued. “Kids receive dental floss and toothbrushes. The program is available to pre-K through sixth grade. It is geared towards families without access to dental care or without insurance, though anyone can participate.”

The program cost neither the school not the families anything to use. It is paid for through grants and Medicaid billing.

The program has had a strong, noticeable impact in reducing tooth decay in schools, according to Toberman.

The board approved the proposal and to begin the program in the elementary.

The summer food program will begin June 9 and run through July 31, Monday through Thursday. Breakfasts will be served 8-9 a.m. and lunch from 11a.m.-12 noon.

“We are going to be back this year for our fourth year,” said Kay Teague, the school’s food service director.

“We will not leave the building this year,” Teague continued. “We tried other years and just had no luck.”

Teague reported that the school serves an average of 100 students per day in the summer lunch program.

The program is available to any child in the school district, even if they are not students at the school.

Teague reported that they have approval from the state to use all the local fruits and vegetables the school wants, though it appears they will need to get bids in order to increase local meats on the menu in the upcoming year.

Pat Wenske, the Director of Special Education, reported that the school has received an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act grant for $16,875.

The grant will allow the special education program to purchase around 16 iPads, will upgrade the wireless, and provide two days of staff training in using iPad applications.

The elementary school has been notified that due to their three consecutive years of receiving “School of Recognition’ awards, they are eligible for a $50,000 Spotlight schools grant, according to Elementary Principal Brandon Munson.

Munson will work with School-to-Work Coordinator Tarasa Lown to pursue the grant.

If received, the school will act as a host to other schools who choose to visit. A portion of the grant would cover the visiting school’s expenses. The remaining funds could be applied to school projects.

• Approved transportation services contracts with Prairie du Chien and Seneca;

• approved athletic Spring coaches Tyler Patzner (asst. JV Baseball), Bryan Steyer (asst. Track), and Angie Wall (asst. Softball);

• tabled a soft drink contract due to changing guidelines;

• approved June 6 as the final day of school for students with early release;

• tabled a decision on the calendar personnel committee feedback;

• approved Barbara O’Brien as a volunteer in the school library;

• approved coaching resignations from Eric Hady (asst. Football), Todd Evers (asst. Softball), and Emily Allen (Cheerleading);

• tabled the contract with Vernon Memorial Hospital for athletic physicals;

• approved the Viroqua Boys Hockey Cooperative agreement;

• approved the 2014 Senior Class trip to the Kalahari in the Dells on May 21 from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.;

• approved Mary Kuhn, Miguel Morga, Judy Powell, and Harry Heisz for the Board of Canvassers for the April election; and

• discussed the difficulties and requirements for a school to become a self-funded insurer as a means to reduce healthcare premium costs.