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School Board approves moving 6th grade to high school
Boscobel School District

BOSCOBEL - The Boscobel School Board met for its regular monthly meeting Monday night. 

Board President Todd Miller started the meeting with a special thank you to all of the staff and students for their tremendous efforts on getting through “another weird year.”  Additionally, Miller thanked Interim Administrator Bryce Bird, who was sitting in his final meeting before the board will transition to working with Lisa Wallin-Kapinus as the new district administrator for the Boscobel School District.

“We would have been lost without you,” Miller said to Bird, who came out of retirement as District Administrator of the Riverdale School District to help the Boscobel School District following the death of the previous administrator Greg Bell. 

One very exciting approval during the June meeting was the approval of moving the incoming sixth graders to the high school for a more cohesive “family” unit among the students. 

District Administrator Lisa Wallin-Kapinus wrote in her proposal to the board, “A middle school concept involves a common group of students who are instructed by a team of teachers. The teachers and students form a “family” unit for building cohesiveness and a sense of belonging during their unique transition years towards entering high school,” Wallin-Kapinus reported. “Currently the sixth grade students are housed in the Annex building by themselves. The students leave the building to participate in PE, Band, Choir and Other special classes. In this situation students are losing valuable instructional minutes in transitioning between campuses. By moving the sixth grade students and the teachers to the middle/high school building it would allow us to increase the number of instructional minutes and students would also get the opportunity to explore a more diverse range of curricular and extracurricular activities.” 

Byrne spoke on this as well sharing that they have cleaned three specific rooms for English language classes, math ad the science and social studies classes.  “We also have the locker space available and we will continue keeping the numbers smaller for lunch time with the sixth graders having lunch with the seventh graders and then rotating out for the eighth graders to eat,” Byrne reported. The board was in favor of this new plan and approved the motion.

Buildings audit

Following closed session, representatives from Smith-Rosenfield presented the board with an audit they completed on the district’s buildings. This audit was done to help the board get a better grasp on various things they could and should spend Esser Funds on to improve the facilities. The representatives told the board that they did additional work to also get a scope of other work, not covered by Esser Funds that are needed on the buildings.  Some of the suggestions the representatives made to the boards included various structural issues at the elementary school, lacking of ventilation in the kitchen, janitor office, ice room and others, an elevator that has a slight drop/tripping hazard and possible condensation issues. This is in addition to outdated boilers and other various HVAC issues reported. Overall, the cost was estimated at approximately $7 million.

Funding possibilities

Aside from the Esser Funds, the representatives also shared with the board, various other funding possibilities, beyond simply running a referendum as well. 

Bird pointed out to the board that they need help prioritizing what truly should be upgraded in the bigger picture of what is going to be done with the several buildings that make up the school district as, he pointed out, “It’s something that has held us up in the past.” 

Boscobel Elementary Principal Danelle Schmid gave her report to the board. 

“It’s a wrap! We did it, we made it—we rallied and persevered for a successful school year that showed growth and continued commitment to serving our students,” Schmid reported. “I am very proud of our entire staff and can’t thank everyone enough for all they have done and all the support that has been given throughout this school year.” 

Schmid shared with the board that students have been enjoying various end-of-the-year activities such as a petting zoo, class trips and visitors as well as other various projects. The safety patrol members that were also in good standing were able to take a trip to the Deer Valley Lodge in Barneveld.

“We allowed this to take place since the annual Dells trip was not possible again this year,” Schmidt reported. 

The sixth grade recognition was also reported to have gone very well. 

“It was nice to recognize our students for their time at Boscobel Elementary School. The sixth grade band and choir concert took place after the recognition ceremony and the performances were wonderful.”

The status of the elementary playground was also brought up to the board. 

“It is my opinion that the elementary playground needs some attention,” Schmid shared. “We have boards that are loose, nails have been coming out of some of the structures and while we try to repair them, the wood is rotting away so we don’t have anything to nail them into. We need some replacement pads for the swings and under the slides as well as a general check up on all the equipment to be sure that everything is in working order and safe. We also need to put mulch down on the playground. I have decided to keep the playground closed until we can figure out the next steps to ensure the area is safe.”

Graduation went well

Boscobel High School Principal Wally Bryne shared with the board that Graduation went well for the class of 2021. 

“It was a great ceremony and a great graduation for what was truly a unique year,” Byrne said. 

He went on to share that the projects such as cleaning, painting and replacing flooring in the gym are continuing. He also noted that the Gridiron Club recently bought equipment for the district as well. 

The situation surrounding hiring new staff continues to be ongoing. Byrne reported that they had successfully interviewed and offered a Math teacher position to an eligible candidate, however, the job was turned down, as the candidate made more money in their current district. 

“We are doing more interviews this week and I hope to come back month and report we were able to offer jobs and have accepted offers,” Byrne said. 

Boscobel Athletic Director Rob Scherrer shared in his report his gratitude for the district in their efforts to help make another unusual school year successful. 

“As we close out of the 2020-21 school year I would like to personally thank all those who helped make our athletic seasons happen this year,” Scherrer reported. “It was a challenging endeavor but we did it and everyone involved should be proud knowing we gave our students and athletes the best experiences possible given the situation.”

Sports successes 

In his report Scherrer reported that the Bulldogs baseball team received the seventh seed in the regional bracket. “They faced the number two seed Prairie du Chien baseball club on Thursday, June 10.  Our guys played great and knocked off PDC with a final score of 3-1. For softball, if you haven’t heard, we are the SWAL Conference champs! A big congrats to Coach Waltz and Coach Grassel as well as the athletes for the Bulldogs.” 

It was shared in the report that the last conference championship in softball happened in 1998. 

“We wanted to celebrate this accomplishment by having an escort of emergency vehicles lead the bus through town after their victory and we had an awards presentation in the Bulldog Cafe when they arrived at the school. The night was filled with excitement, tears of joy and a lot of laughter and fun times,” Scherrer shared. 

Also included in his report was track. 

“The SPARKY went off without a hitch and was a great event. We heard so many compliments from other coaches and fans that we were able to pull together such a big meet during a tough year.”

Food Service debt

The ongoing situation with negative and delinquent debt for the Food Service was also brought up. It was explained that as the policy currently lays out that students could be cut off from meals if their debt was outstanding. “But no one wants to cut them off and no one wants to make them feel shamed,” shared Bird. 

The administrators shared with the board that they have changed the language in the policy to say that families with account balances at or below $20 will be notified by an automated system that will alert them a minimum of two times a week. Families with a negative account balance will be notified daily by the system. Additionally, all accounts owing $25 or more will not be allowed to receive seconds (only first servings). If the accounts are owed more than collections efforts will be made. Families will be given until the beginning of the following school year before they will be officially “Cut off.”

The administrators noted, they will be given ample time to work on their debt and that the school will continue to be proactive in helping families get signed up or informed about the free or reduced lunch program. 

Following this discussion and approval $5,365.60 was transferred from Fund 10 to Fund 50 to write off the ongoing debt from the food service program.