NORTH CRAWFORD - School lunch and sporting event concession sales were two important topics taken up by the North Crawford School Board at their meeting on Thursday, July 20.
Food always seems to be a popular topic with the young and old alike. And everyone knows the youngsters are growing, and need to eat. So it was good news for the board to hear North Crawford School District Administrator Brandon Munson share a plan for helping the foodservice team through their transition, having lost Hannah Gauthier, who previously led the program.
Munson told the board that Jamie Nutter, formerly Superintendent of Fennimore School District, and now the executive director of CESA-3, contacted him when he learned about the transition in the school’s foodservice program.
Nutter recommended that North Crawford consider hiring the retired director of Fennimore’s foodservice program, Jane Henkel. During her time with Fennimore Schools, Henkel achieved a 90 percent participation rate among Fennimore High School students. Fennimore has an open campus, with lots of lunch alternatives in close proximity to the school. North Crawford has a ‘closed campus,’ and few nearby lunch alternatives.
Henkel was known for doing a lot of ‘scratch-cooking,’ and had a highly effective production and ordering system in place.
Munson asked the board to approve hiring Henkel as a foodservice consultant to assist North Crawford’s program through a successful transition.
The school has a projected $16,000 budget surplus in the foodservice budget, and the annual contract with Henkel would cost $8,500. She would work generally one day per week helping the foodservice team with menu planning, ordering, while training and empowering for the staff. Munson reported that Henkel’s hours would likely be front-loaded in the early part of the year, and then taper off later in the year.
Munson shared that North Crawford currently has a 55-60 percent participation rate in their school lunch program. He estimates that if an improved program could achieve a seven percent increase in participation (an additional 22 students), the cost of hiring Henkel could be recouped.
The board approved hiring Jane Henkel as a consultant for the school’s foodservice program.
Summer school was another important topic at the meeting. The school’s summer breakfast and lunch program, as well as their summer school program are initially judged to have been great successes.
The summer school breakfast and lunch program had an average participation rate of 150 meals per day. The program was open to any member of the community ages 6-18, and was free of charge.
Munson reported that DPI had conducted a ‘Summer Food Audit’ of the School’s foodservice program.
“The audit went fairly well, and we learned a lot,” Munson said.
Munson was also very enthusiastic in his report about the School’s Summer School program. This was the first year that the district provided transportation for students to and from the program, and Munson believes that transportation had greatly increased participation and satisfaction with the program. He reported that the District had gleaned many useful learnings from the ‘Beyond the Bell’ program that helped to make the Summer School program better.
Munson reported that the kids seemed to have really liked the program.
“My grandchild was in the program, and all I heard was how much fun summer school was,” board president Mary Kuhn shared.
Following out their focus on food, the board took up the issue of how to upgrade their concession sales facility from the current one.
Munson and his team had conducted a thorough survey of options to purchase a new or used trailer, outfitted for concessions sales, that would provide a mobile option for coverage of sporting events in addition to football and softball/baseball.
In the end, having considered three options, the decision was narrowed down to two choices. The first was to purchase a trailer that had been built by the Masons in Viroqua for concessions sales and lightly used. The second option was to purchase a new trailer, designed to the school’s specifications, from C&C Landscaping of Viroqua, who works with Stealth Trailers of Indiana on custom trailers.
Demetri Andrews and Munson had gone to see the trailer built by the Masons in Viroqua, and shared images with the board. The cost of the trailer would be $3,500. The trailer was a wooden building with vinyl siding, and a metal roof. The unit would be available immediately, but would require contracting out some fairly extensive upgrades.
The custom trailer from C&C is an aluminum trailer, with stainless steel counters, a three-basin sink, adequate plug-ins to operate necessary equipment, and with room for a full-sized refrigerator. The unit would be available, ready-to-go, by mid-September. The delivered price of the trailer would be $19,150.
Munson pointed out that purchase of the trailer would not impact the regular school budget because they had received some windfalls in the form of energy rebates and surplus from the contingency fund from the UNESCO project.
After a thorough discussion about the merits and limitations of each of the two options, the board approved purchase of the aluminum trailer from C&C.
Chuck Bolstad provided a report from the North Crawford Community Education Foundation. Bolstad told the board that they appreciate the trust that the North Crawford School Board had placed in them to do their important work.
Bolstad commended Barb Daus of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin for the outstanding support she has provided the foundation filing, taxes, keeping things legal, and submission of necessary paperwork.
Bolstad reported that the foundation’s progress to date included:
The school board established the scholarship endowment through the transfer of $45,647.05;
Donors have added $15,050 to the endowment;
The value of the endowment as of June 30, 2017, including investment earnings, is $65,819.19;
Six scholarships were awarded at a total value of $4,500. Two were $1,000 scholarships from the board’s original gift, honoring Merlin and Ona Dregne and Carmen Armbruster. An additional $1,000, and three $500 scholarships were awarded from gifts made by donors.
Bolstad reported the foundation is currently working toward the establishment of an ‘Excellence in Education’ endowment to make grants for special initiatives, projects and/or programs proposed by school staff. The amount needed to establish the endowment is $10,000, with the fund currently at $8,778. Some spendable gifts will be used for a grant period during the 2017-2018 school year.
The next step will be to further publicize the charter donor program. The foundation plans to place an insert in an upcoming issue of the Crawford County Independent newspaper. A charter donor makes a $1,000 commitment to be paid within three years. Enrollment will be open through September 30, 2017.
The foundation also plans to pursue recruitment of donors through making contact with work and class reunion groups, and by participation in Homecoming and Gays Mills Apple Festival activities. The foundation is also planning to leverage the recent gift of Packer exhibition game tickets in their fundraising efforts.
Elementary school principal Julie Kruizenga reported to the board about a new program she is spearheading called ‘Books on the Bus.’ Kruizenga said she was inspired to launch the program in memory of her father who suffered with Alzheimers.
“My dad would read on the bus, and then the teacher’s would always take his book away when he got to school so he wouldn’t read too far ahead,” Kruizenga reminisced. “In retrospect, I think they probably should have let him keep his book.”
The program Kruizenga envisions will solicit donations of books, which will be kept on the buses for children to read.
“Sometimes those bus rides can be really long,” Kruizenga said, “and I think this will really help the kids stay productively occupied and out of trouble.”
The principal said she had seen signs for book donations for the Viroqua School’s program at a bank in Viroqua, and suggested similar outreach with area banks.
Eventually, Kruizenga dreams of purchasing special ‘over-the-seat’ book holders designed with programs like this in mind.
Kruizenga reports she is planning a ‘kick off’ event for the program, and suggests that the bus drivers could be recruited to come in and read to the children.
In an update on the UNESCO project, Harry Heisz reported that the project is nearing completion. The ceiling tiles and courtyard window projects still need to be completed, but the lockers and doors are completed. They still have to do the closeout, energy audit and there are a few light issues to work out.
Munson reported on various hiring recommendations for the district. He stated that recruitment and interviews had been completed for the position of shop teacher, and he asked the board to hire Aaron Keenlance of Westby.
Keenlance has worked in private industry in a related field, and obtained a math education degree at Viterbo. Munson reported that he has a good personality that he believes will be a good fit with students in the program. He is recommending a B88-level salary, which he characterized as a ‘fair offer’ in light of teacher shortages in the subject area. The board approved the hire.
Munson also made recommendations for fall sports coaching positions and the board approved them. For varsity football, Kyle Oldenburg would be the head coach, and the three assistant coaches will remain the same as for last year. Beau Blaha will be the middle school football coach, and an assistant coach is still being recruited. Amanda Ziegler will be the volleyball coach, with Kris Wettstein as her assistant. Recruitment remains open for two middle school volleyball coaches. Mike Allbaugh and Liz Bransky will coach cross country.
Munson also asked the board to approve contracting for a psychology consultant, whose services are currently needed to conduct certain special education assessments. Munson recommended, and the board approved hiring Kim Little, recently retired from the Viroqua School District, for 228 hours per school year to support Julie Kruizenga until she completes her course of study and obtains her license to conduct the assessments.
In other business:
Demetri Andrews reported that North Crawford’s estimated equalized aid will be up $18,000 compared to last year. The amount will be finalized before October 15, before the board finalizes the budget and sets the levy. If the estimated amount comes through, it will reduce North Crawford’s mil rate by a few cents.
In upcoming scheduling, Munson reminded the board of some key upcoming dates:
The school board retreat will take place on August 7;
The August school board meeting has been moved to August 22;
The staff breakfast will take place on Tuesday, August 29, and the board is invited;
The North Crawford Open House will take place on Wednesday, August 30, from 3:30-7:30 p.m., and dinner will be served from 5:30-7 p.m.
Munson reported that the annual meeting will take place on September 25, right after the budget meeting.
The board confirmed their designated public depositaries as the Peoples State Bank, the Royal Bank, and the Local Investment Pool.
Demetri Andrews recommended, and the board approved obtaining their financial forecast services from Baird for a contracted amount of $2,250 per year.
The board approved cash management, cost principles, and time and effort reporting policies.
The board discussed options for a water diversion mitigation project to address an ongoing problem with accumulated water in the track area, and referred the further discussion of the project to the buildings and grounds committee.
Harry Heisz reported that the Habitat for Humanity Bikers had once again passed through the area and stayed the night at the school for the tenth year in a row.
The board approved early graduation for Allison Jones, who plans to attend Southwest Tech in the second semester of the 2017-18 school year.
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