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Hillsboro school board OKs finishing energy audit
Boilers, lighting are trouble spots
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After a power point presentation of a preliminary audit of the Hillsboro High School and Elementary School by two representatives of McKinstry, the School Board took a major step forward in energy and water saving procedures at its regular monthly meeting Monday night.

The Board unanimously agreed to a contract with McKinstry to complete a Detailed Engineering Study and Technical Energy Audit within 90 days. Cost of the comprehensive report will be $12,700.

The 40-minute presentation included the results of information gained from a walk through and examination of current needs, including the heating systems. The school boilers are a major concern and have already more than doubled their anticipated life span.

More energy efficient lighting was also included in the review. In many situations, the schools were found to be “over lighted.”

During the report by McKinstry, it was apparent that the preliminary studies of the situation were impressive and important to the future of the School District buildings.

Board members in attendance were Denise Huntley, Jenny Hynek, Mark Gustafson, Jan Levy, Jenni Schrock, Carl Baller, and Bob Stekel.

Also in attendance was Don Hammer of the Hillsboro Telephone Company who brought along a television camera and numerous microphones to televise the proceedings.

Before the business and action segment of the meeting, administrative reports were presented.

Elementary School Principal Cara Wood told the Board that Read Across America Week was celebrated last week, and there was a nice turnout for the annual “Muffins with Mom” event on Friday, sponsored by Tiger Pride.

The State Department of Public Instruction has granted $4,000 in funding to purchase supplies and materials to start a school garden and help educate students on healthy foods.

Mrs. Gates will be taking the fifth grade Battle of the Books team to Warrens on Wednesday. The team consists of Lilly Voltz, Sierra Johnson, Hannah Munson, Abigail Nemec, Grace Stockwell, and Savannah Urban.

A fourth-grade field trip to the State Capitol and Museum is planned for this Friday.

High School Principal Greg Zimmerman reported that the nominations and selection process for the National Honor Society have begun.

District Forensics Competition will be Mar.  16 at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Anti-Bullying and Cyber-Bullying presentations have been scheduled. Renowned therapist Paul Gasser will speak with teachers, parents, and students next week. There will be a special session for parents and community members in the HHS Library from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Mar. 18.

School Superintendent Curt Bisarek reported to the Board on the security  lockdown drill held at both school building on the morning of Feb. 21.

The 15-minute drills were held in collaboration with the Hillsboro Police Department and the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department.

The drill went well, however a few small inconsistencies still have to be addressed. After the drill, the school’s administrative team reviewed it with the sheriff and local police to review the process, Plans were made for another “unannounced” drill in April.

The superintendent attended the state School Safety Conference in Wisconsin Dells with Hillsboro Police Sgt. Pat Clark. The key ideas shared by the main presenter were to control access and messaging/communications.

Superintendent Bisarek has contacted Gov. Scott Walker and state legislators in regard to the governor’s proposed budget which has no increase in the revenue cap. If that budget was to be passed, the Hillsboro School District would be facing a deficit of more than $100,000 entering the next school year.

He told the Board, “Senators Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) and Mike Ellis  (R-Neenah) have drafted a plan that would see a per pupil increase in the revenue cap of $150. That is a much better scenario, but still makes for a very tight budget with a possible deficit heading into the 13-14 school year.”

Bisarek will be attending a number of events, Wisconsin Association of School Boards’ Day at the Capital, CESA 4/La Crosse legislative breakfast, the Scenic Bluffs Superintendents’ Meeting, and a Legislative Forum at CESA 4,  in an effort to get the message out on the importance of a per-pupil funding increase.

In other business action, the Board:

• Unanimously approved a Hillsboro student to become part of the Mauston High School team in Wisconsin Interscholastic Horsemanship Association competition.

• Added April 2 to the School Calendar as a snow make-up day. It had previously been a Teachers’ In-Service Day. The school day will also be increased by eight minutes starting Mar. 25.

• Unanimously approved membership on the Viroqua Gymnastics Team for two Hillsboro students.

• Unanimously approved the firm of Johnson and Block for the 2012-2013 audit.

• Unanimously approved the first reading of an Indoor Environmental Quality Management Plan.

• Unanimously approved a revision in the Student Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use Plan.

After closed session, the board took the following actions:

• Approved preliminary notice of lay-off/non-renewal of Alyssa Bandsma due to SAGE classroom number for 2013-14

• Approved the Settlement and Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Hillsboro with authorization for the superintendent and board president to finalize the agreement pending the City’s approval.