Maintenance issues are again rearing their head, as reported by Operations Advisor Steve Wacker at Tuesday night’s regular meeting of the Boscobel School Board.
“The roof on the Rock is down to wood in spots,” Wacker informed the board, saying he had already begun contacting people about the repairs. Add to that, the HVAC in the lower part of the Annex building was no longer working properly and it appeared that the furnace would need to be replaced.
“We also still need to get in proper cooling for the server room,” Wacker added. “We did have money budgeted for that, but now we have two more projects on top of that.”
Other projects that need completion include bringing some of the bleachers up to code. The district was waiting for the contractor to return and finish the work.
Some of the lengthier conversations of the meeting arose out of the public comment period.
Dean Ward requested that the cost of the requested recount of the election votes be shared.
“We should know how much this cost us,” Ward stated.
He went on to say he felt the community had a right to know how much “people who don’t like the decision” of voters had cost the district.
Board director Derek Zimpel spoke up, saying the board is working to change the discourse and demeanor of school discussions, to move away from contention and argument.
“If you don’t want to get on board (with planning for the future), then get the hell away,” Zimpel said, leaning forward in his seat and gesturing with frustration.
Board President Todd Miller noted that the board had been discussing adding the cost of time spent answering freedom of information requests and such to the administrative reports to board members. But supplying the immediate request wasn’t possible, as they did not yet have that figure.
Another spoke up, pointing to the discussion at hand to say that he felt the conversation was an example of dischord that was negatively impacting voters.
“The fighting with the board and others is affecting community support,” said Tom Seeley. “This turmoil is hurting us.”
The conversation ended as the board moved on to business items.
Some additional contention arose later during a discussion of the Summer Rec program, which the district is taking over from the city this year.
While the board ultimately approved the hiring recommendations pending all hires passing the background check, Zimpel expressed unease at the lack of financial projections showing the cost of wages and expected income.
“Can we have this at next weeks meeting?” Zimpel requested of administrative assistant Heather Breunig.
Wacker objected, indicating that administrative staff are particularly busy this time of year.
“What are you saying?, Wacker asked. “You can’t say were going to do this, back in August, and then come back and a month before say we’re not going to do this.”
Wacker went on to explain that the cap on seeking reimbursement for student time had been removed and that the administration had projected that 10 students participating in each program offered would cover the costs.
Board President Todd Miller suggested that rather than try to come up with a spread sheet of numbers, the administration provide a projection of how many full-time equivalencies program participation would provide.
The school is reimbursed around $6,000 per FTE. If the minutes of billable participation equals at least six students, the cost of the program to administer would be covered.
Business Manager Administrative Assistant Crystal Brown did remind the board that it is possible, if the participation rate is high enough, the program could cause a loss to declining enrollment aid.
The PBIS committee at the elementary school is planning a school-wide picnic for students and teachers on Thursday, May 26. They sent a letter to the board seeking volunteers and grills for preparing hot dogs and brats. Anyone willing to help is asked to contact Judy Stalsberg at 608-306-2821.
In other business, the Boscobel School Board:
• heard that the elementary would be visiting the school forest as part of their Earth Day celebrations;
• heard testing updates for the elementary, middle and high schools;
• heard that scheduling conflicts had resulted in the Spanish Club canceling their trip to Chicago in favor of a day trip to Darlington for the Cinco de Mayo celebration;
• heard that teachers Alyssa Stevenson, Allie Harris, and Ingrid Fry had conducted in-school workshops on Google for fellow faculty;
• heard that teacher observations were almost complete;
• heard an update on Medicaid billing with an explanation on why billing was behind – a lack of time due to case loads, and currently being resolved;
• heard that the grant writer for the PEP grant had withdrawn her contract prior to signing by the board and discussed other grant writing possibilities;
• tabled acting upon bus route payments for further discussion on wages and offering benefits;
• approved switching insurance to Unity with a $500/1,000 deductible and no change to dental insurance through Delta Dental;
• tabled acting on the audit bids until the next meeting
• tabled the OT/PT contract pending more information until the next meeting;
• approved the contract for receiving a portion of sale proceeds on Boscobel Bulldog lawn ornaments from Maple Ridge Innovations;
• approved the Summer Slide Pride fundraiser May 16-31 in the elementary school;
• approved Christina Knight, Emerald Faulkner, Gary Tricker, Elizabeth Wojciechowski, and Sara Ashmore-Oler as substitutes, various positions;
• approved the bus use request with fees waived for Great Lakes Higher Education’s pen pal meet and greet at the elementary school;
• approved sending a thank you to the JJ Watts Foundation for the uniforms grant/gift to the football program;
• swore Jason Knowles and Roger Knoble into office;
• approved two open enrollment requests; and
• approved a 1.5-percent wage increase for teachers and employees less a request by Crystal Brown to not increase her wages this year.
The board will meet again in a special meeting on April 26. The regular board meeting for May will be held on May 17.