Colfax school board looks at several future projects

By Marlys Kruger

Energy efficiency, wireless infrastructure and capital project updates along with an update on the wrestling program were a few of the items discussed at the Nov. 19 Colfax school board meeting.

After a study was done by Trane last year, estimates were given on some energy saving items for the district. The board looked over a list of of these items which included Unit Ventilator replacement and Barber Coleman System replacement.

A six page proposal detailing an update on the school’s technology infrastructure was given to the board from Heartland Business Systems. A summary of the proposal showed a cost of $213,699.65 to switch the current infrastructure and firewall and change the wireless APs throughout the school. This will allow the school to make the current computer system more energy efficient and will assist in expanding to a wireless system that will greatly enhance the curriculum.

“This will be a huge networking system that will tie in with local universities, technical schools and other school districts,” District Administrator Bill Yingst said. “We will be able to connect outside to the football field and track which will allow us to stream video of games and meets.With the way technology is changing, it’s important to keep up with it. In 10 years, schools will be nothing like they are now.”

A list of projects which need to be done in the next few years was presented by Yingst which includes two sections of the roof being repaired and some more carpet and or tile replacement throughout the building.

Yingst gave the board a list of mill rates for schools in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference which shows Elmwood with the highest at 15.85 and Colfax the lowest at 8.78 among the 10 schools.

“In the last 25-30 years, we have always had one of the lowest mill rates in the conference,” he said.

The Department of Public Instruction continues to make changes in the Open Enrollment policy every year, and the application process which allows students to attend a school district of their choice is now extended.

“It used to be a specific time frame every spring, usually three weeks, but now there are exceptions for almost everything and students can open enroll just about anytime now,” Yingst said.

Board members Joel Hilson and Todd Kragness are up for re-election this spring and anyone wishing to run for the board must have Declaration of Candidacy and Nomination papers into the school by January 2.

Visitors

Marty Harmon, president of the Colfax Youth Wrestling program and David Blanchard, one of the coaches, updated the board on the program. There are 39 kids in grades K-8 registered this year and the program has been growing from year to year, according to Harmon. Goals of the organization are to have the middle school program return to Colfax next year, rather than having to send the kids to Bloomer with the high school kids. By the year 2015, a transition to the Dunn-St. Croix Conference would be looked at. There are now seven high school wrestlers traveling to Bloomer for practices, according to Colfax High School principal John Dachel.

“I have talked to Paul Weber, the athletic director from Elk Mound about seeing if there would be any interest in starting a program and combining with us in the future,” Dachel said. “They would have to do what we did here, start a youth program and see if they can develop anything through that.”

Harmon stated that now, all the traveling in the Heart O’ North Conference turns some kids off from wrestling at the high school level.

“Traveling to Superior and other schools up north during the week gets to be a long night,” he said. “And those teams are not long time rivals like Boyceville and other teams in the D-SC conference so the competition is not as much fun for them. We just want to make sure the kids in our program will have a team to wrestle on when they get to the high school level,” he added.

Other business

The board agreed to accept the resignation/retirement of long time bus driver Dave Lausted who will drive until the Christmas break.

An amendment in the student athletic code policy was discussed which concerns the use of cell phones in lockerrooms and on the bus rides to and from games. They are banned now and board members Jodi Kiekhafer and Kristi Hill understand why they should not be allowed in lockerrooms, but questioned why they can not be used on the bus so kids can call someone if they need to be picked up when they arrive back at school.

“Kids tend to use them for other things than just calling for a ride home,” Yingst said. “And bus drivers have told me the lights on them are very distracting when they are driving, which becomes a safety issue. But we can look into the policy and see if we can make some changes in it,” he said.

Administrators reports

Dachel presented a list of several upcoming events including the high school Christmas choir and band concert Dec. 17, the first wrestling meet of the season at Superior Dec. 6 and the American Red Cross blood drive Dec. 12 in the Martin Anderson Lobby. The two girl’s basketball games in the AAU Holiday Tournament at UW-Stout will be Thursday, Dec. 27 at 4:15 against Minneapolis North and Friday, Dec 28 at 6:00 against DeLasalle. These games are not on the school calender because they were not scheduled yet at the time of printing.

A report from elementary principal Trevor Hovde was read with updates on the Accelerated Reading Program and a summery of the Veteran’s Day Program.

Upcoming events include a Ronald McDonald Assembly for grades K-5 on Dec. 12 with the topic “How to Prevent Bullying” being addressed, and the holiday music programs, all on Dec. 18, will be as follows: Junior Kindergarten 9:00 A.M. and 12:30 P.M., grades 1-4 at 1:30 in the afternoon at the high school and grades 5-8 at 7:00 also in the high school.

Special Education/Curriculum Director Polly Rudi informed the board she had attended the Directors of Special Education Leadership Conference in Madison Nov. 12-14 with the main area of discussion being the new Significant Learning Disability qualifications that will go into effect Dec. 1, 2013. Rudi and Dachel also attended the District Assessment Coordinator meeting at CESA 11 Nov. 15 which discussed the Statewide School Information System proposal (SSIS). This is a requirement by the state for all schools to utilize the same student information data base and after a program has been chosen, it will be mandated for all schools within five years.

Students have completed the WKCE/WAA testing and text books are ready to be mailed for scoring, Rudi concluded.