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Seneca School Board delays decision on wages
Seneca School District

SENECA - At their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, June 17, the Seneca School Board learned that estimates for their staff health insurance premiums still were not finalized. This caused them to postpone a decision on staff compensation for the 2019-2020 school year.

“The WEA Trust insurance estimate has come in  with a 6.4 percent increase, but the Quartz estimate has not yet been finalized,” Administrator Dave Boland told the board. “I think we should postpone the decision on staff wages to our July meeting to see where the health insurance numbers come in.”

The board also learned, that because of an increase in the last school year in worker’s compensation claims, the district’s building insurance rates would go up by 19 percent. This will result in an increase in the premium of $8,827.

The board agreed that the district really didn’t have any viable alternatives for insurance, and discussed whether to buy into expanded environmental exposures coverage. The current policy covers the district for $15,000 in environmental exposure, and for an added $4,300, the district could increase its coverage to one million dollars.

The board voted to continue with their current building insurance provider, and declined to contract for the expanded environmental exposures coverage.

The board also took up the issue of foodservice meal prices. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction requires school foodservice programs to demonstrate that they are charging enough for meals to run a profitable program.

The board discussed different options for meal cost increases, and landed on an option that they believe will allow them to run the program without changes for several years.

The board decided to drop the price of school breakfast by 10 cents, and increase the price of lunch for elementary, middle school/high school, and adults by 10 cents.

Board members Rachel George and Charles Clark reported on topics raised at a student listening session.  Some of the topics raised by students included:

• toilets in the middle school/high school part of the building failing to flush

• a preference for ‘twister’ faucet handles versus ‘pusher’ handles so that water will stay on long enough for students to wash their hands

• a request for the crosswalk and parking stall lines in the parking lot to be painted

• a need for upgrades to the seating and the fence in the baseball field

• a request by high school students for a family living class

• a request for the dividers to be removed from middle school lockers

• a request for a shower curtain for the boys and girls locker rooms

• a need for repair or replacement of the football lockers

• a request to be served meats other than chicken, and to not have tacos and taco salad on the same day for lunch

• a request for the district to set up internet hotspots for kids who do not have access to internet at home

Larry Kelley and Mark Johnson reported on topics discussed at a staff listening session:

• staff reported that it is not possible to teach a class with more than 33 kids in it

• results of enforcing the dress code had been better in the 2018-19 school year

• request that the fumes from painting, staining and blazing activities in the ag classroom not be allowed to get into the rest of the building.

In other business, the board

• approved allowing the Hunter Safety Education class to use the building

• approved continuing membership in Wisconsin Association for Equity in Funding, Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance, and the Shared Purchasing membership

• heard that the concrete in the gym has been replaced, that the sidewalks will be replaced soon, that security film has been placed on the front door and the main doors in both buildings, and that electrical work will begin soon

• heard that work will be done on the ballfield to allow for better drainage of water, and will cost $3,850

• heard that the district is looking at a new math curriculum for the high school

• heard that the cost for the School Resource Officer position had come in at $14,000, which was lower than the $19,000 estimate, and that the presence of the officer in the school had been a positive improvement

• recognized Dawn Ray for 31 years of coaching Seneca volleyball.