Colfax school board becomes educated on technology system

By Marlys Kruger

Members of the Colfax school board along with administrators and the local reporter heard a condensed explanation of the Chippewa Valley Inter-Networking Consortium (CINC) from Ross Wilson,  CESA 10 chair out of Chippewa Falls, at the monthly meeting held Dec. 17.

The Broadband network already has 19 members in the area including school districts from Altoona, Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire along with the Chippewa Valley Technical College, Mayo Clinic Health Systems, UW-Stout and UW-Eau Claire just to name a few, and they also have several network participants that include the Elk Mound School District and  the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The network involves 72 miles of fiber optic with the addition of about 152 miles more in the upcoming year from a federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant. According to information from Wilson, CINC’s network “promotes economic development, expands educational opportunities and improves the availability and efficiency of government services”.

“At some point in time, every student in every school district in the state will be using their own personal tablet computers and this network will serve our students as we head into the 21st century,” Wilson said.

The board will have to decide in January if this is the wireless option they want for the district or if they want to look at other systems.

A list of 16 resolutions that will be discussed at the Wisconsin Association of School Boards annual convention in January was presented to the board along with a Legislative Update which included part of Governor Walker’s speech in California recently. Walker stated he plans to tie education funding to student performance, ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade schools, which now are evaluated by state-required report cards.

District Administrator Bill Yingst said the district is approaching the end of the Civil Rights Compliance Plan that has been taking place over the last 18 months.

“We will likely meet compliance in all areas by this January with the final projects expected to be completed over the holiday break,” he said.

The 2013 Special Education Budget Report was given, showing the district has $1,167,944 in total expenses for about 150 special education students who are served by the Colfax district. Some of the expenses come from teachers’ salaries, transportation costs, payments to CESA for speech pathology and audiology services and Early Childhood expenses.

In the only motion made and passed for the evening, James Satter was hired as a full time bus driver to replace the retiring David Laustad. Satter has been a substitute driver in the district since Jan. 2010.

First readings of policies concerning open enrollment and the school’s athletic code were read and will be re-visited in January. A proposal to add “inappropriate use of social media” as an athletic code violation will be decided on at that time.

Administrators Reports

Elementary principal Trevor Hovde stated students had donated over 450 food items for the local food pantry along with any spare change, and they also collected a lot of toys that were given to the Dunn County Christmas Toy Drive to be distributed to families in the county and surrounding area.

“Letters were sent home saying nobody was obligated to donate,” Hovde said. “We have many families in our district who are having a hard time making ends meet so it was strictly optional. It was wonderful to see how much the kids gave rather then spending money for a classroom gift exchange.”

Students in grades 4-8 will compete in the National Geography Bee Jan. 8, and Adult School Crossing Guard Recognition Week is Jan. 14-18, according to Hovde. He also said there are two new students enrolled since last month’s report and four more will be enrolling in January.

The holiday break will be Dec. 21-Jan. 2 as reported by 7-12 principal John Dachel and the girls’ basketball team will play a pair of games at UW-Stout during the break. They play Minneapolis North Thursday, Dec. 27 at 4:15 and  DeLasalle on Friday, Dec. 28 at 6:00.

Some of the Bloomer-Colfax wrestlers had the opportunity to fly to Florida Dec. 19 for a tournament in Orlando after raising money by participating in several fundraisers this past year, and they will also compete at the Northern Badger tournament in River Falls Dec. 28-29.

The local Kiwanis Club will be holding a chili feed Jan. 10 before the boys’ basketball game against Elk Mound, and the Colfax After Prom Party Committee will have a meatball supper Jan.18 before the girls’ game against Spring Valley. Recognition for the local EMTs, Firemen and Law Enforcement will be at halftime of the girls’ basketball game against Elk Mound Jan. 11. (There should be a full parking lot that night!) Check the school calender for other events for the month.

Curriculum coordinator Polly Rudi said the second round of kindergarten testing will begin in January and English Language Learning students will be tested between Dec. 3 and Feb. 8, with seven students receiving services.