Things were pretty upbeat at the Seneca School Board meeting held Wednesday, March 19 at the high school. From the district’s successfully completed Wellness Day held the previous week to the expenses remaining well within the budget there was plenty of good news.
Board member Larry Kelley was the first to comment on the successful Wellness Day noting the impact speaker Jim Leonhard had in encouraging students to pursue their dreams and set goals. Leonhard, a former Wisconsin Badger football team walk-on at the safety position, has gone on to have a nine-year career in the National Football League, despite his small stature.
It seemed fitting, that Wellness Day should receive the district’s monthly recognition award, following the praise for it from Kelley and several other board members, as well as Seneca District Administrator Dave Boland.
Seneca School Board President Mark Johnson made the motion to grant Diane Jaeger and the SHARE Group, which assists her in producing the event, the monthly recognition for the recent Wellness Day. Chad Sime seconded the motion and it was passed by the board. It was noted that next year Wellness Day will celebrate its 25-year anniversary.
There was more good news when it came to the 2013-2014 budget. In delivering the news during his financial report, Kelley noted most of the budget categories were in the low 50 percent area in spending and there was only about one third of the school year remaining.
The board heard a report on proposed WIAA Amendments that are about to be voted on during a WIAA membership meeting to be held soon.
The first amendment concerned an attempt to level the playing field between the public schools and the private and parochial schools in the post-season athletic tournaments. There is a feeling that many of the non-public schools draw from a much larger pool of students than public schools with the same enrollments. To level the playing field, the Belmont School District proposed a multiplier for non-public school enrollment of 1.65. Multiplying the non-public school’s enrollment by this factor, and thereby bumping them into larger enrollment divisions, is seen as a way of making the tournaments more competitive for some of the public schools. The Seneca School Board, and it was reported the athletic director, favor this multiplier amendment.
The other amendment was not supported by those on the board. The WIAA proposed an amendment that it would stop administering how conferences are setup and realigned. Under the amendment, the work creating and maintaining conferences would be left up to the schools. District administrator Dave Boland and board member Larry Kelley explained some of the chaos and “mess” that would ensue if the WIAA were not in charge of creating, maintaining and realigning the conferences. No one seemed to think having the WIAA relinquish control of the conferences was a good idea.
In discussing the school budget, Boland agreed with Kelley’s previous assessment of the current budget and noted, “we’re right where we need to be.” As for the 2014-15 budget, Boland explained that the maximum salary increase for staff would be 1.46 percent based on the consumer price index (CPI) as mandated by state law.
In other business, the Seneca School Board:
• heard that the phone upgrade had been completed and each room now had two phones
• a frozen drain on the roof had caused some flooding in the computer room during the spring thaw, but quick action by the maintenance staff had limited damage to just four or five ceiling tiles
• approved a plan to construct a hallway behind the stage allowing a better connection to the elementary school
• heard a report from board member Chrissie Reynolds on the Wisconsin Association of School Boards Convention, which she attended
• approved canvassers for the upcoming school board election on April 1
• approved a Seneca Business Club trip to Milwaukee to include a tour of the Milwaukee Bucks front office operation, among other things
• heard a report that a proposed trap shooting team came up short on members for this season, but that some of those interested may compete at times as individuals
• passed a policy regarding the release of students to parents or guardians that outlines when it is appropriate to not release the students