Colfax school board discusses QZAB bond, approves GEDO 2 for district

COLFAX  – The election of school board officers was just the start of the Colfax school board meeting held May 20 in the high school library. Don Berge will remain as president, Joel Hilson vice president, Ken Neuburg treasurer and Mike Lee, clerk. The Colfax Messenger will serve as the official school paper and board meetings will remain the third Monday of the month. The district auditor is Wipfli LLP and the school legal firm is Weld, Riley, Prenn and Ricci. Hilson will remain as the CESA 11 delegate and Neuburg will stay on as the WASB representative.

After a presentation on the energy efficiency project by Josh Kaurich of H & H Energy Management and Brian Baird dealing with financing, District Administrator Bill Yingst explained that the school district had requested and was awarded a Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) allocation for renovation projects and equipment from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

“Projects that are to be addressed are ones that were on the list before I took over as superintendent,” Yingst said. “We need new roofing in some areas, new univent wall heaters, 2-4 new busses and we need to upgrade the school for wireless technology. With no new aid coming in from the state in the near future, this is a good way to get these things done.” Anything over $1,000,000 needed to be voted on and the cost for the projects was estimated to be slightly over that. The board approved capping the loan at $2,000,00. (A posting of the Notice to Electors is elsewhere in this week’s paper.)

The board approved the implementation of the General Education Development Option 2 (GEDO 2) for the high school which is a program that serves students that are at risk of not graduating due to substantial credit deficiency. These deficiencies have been the result of myriad issues including, but not limited to, any one or number of the following factors:

• Poor attendance

• Failing grades

• Family crisis

• Referral to, but did not qualify for Special Education

• Rated “high” on typical at-risk profile (RTI)

• Criminal behavior

• Drug and alcohol issues

• Repeated discipline problems

• Social/emotional/medical issues

• Trouble with a traditional classroom approach

• Financial hardship/poverty

• Teen pregnancy

The GEDO 2 classroom will be located in the center of the high school in the Library Media Center. Classes will be taught in Math, Science, English and Civics and students will attend for a minimum of three hours a day, five days a week for a minimum of 15 hours a week to prepare for the completion of the HSED testing administered at Chippewa Valley Technical College. Classes will be taught by a Wisconsin certified teacher and the program will never exceed the 15:1 ratio of stu攀搀nts to teacher. As of now, there are about five students who have been recommended for the program.

Yingst provided a comparison of what it would cost to send a student to CVTC compared to having them in this program. For five students, it would cost approximately $32,500 for one year at CVTC which includes transportation and the actual cost of the HSED program,while it would cost $13,750 a year  to be held at the high school. This includes the teacher’s salary, exam costs and transportation costs. The school district will still receive the aid for each student which is $9,000 and students will receive a diploma from Colfax High School and can take part in school activities and athletics. (For further information, contact high school principal John Dachel).

The board approved the hiring of a new agriculture teacher and FFA advisor for the upcoming year.  John Nelson, a 2013 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education with minors in Biology Education and Animal Science. He will begin his duties by working at the Colfax Fair in June under the direction of soon to be retired teacher Tom Millar.

Summer school staff as well as swimming lessons staff were also approved and the board also accepted the retirement/resignation of Ralph Bradford as a school bus driver. Bradford stated he is willing to be a substitute driver if needed.

Principals’ reports

Dachel congratulated all of the sports teams along with middle school students who participated in the Shell Lake Middle School Honors Choir., members of the Forensics team who competed at the state competition and Alyssa Miller who competed at the state FCCLA convention. He also reminded everyone the last day of school for students is Friday, June 7 with dismissal for elementary students at 12:30, high school students at 12:45 and the busses will leave at 1:00.

Elementary principal Trevor Hovde provided an update on various reading programs and also stated there are 48 students registered for Junior Kindergarten next year with 26 in the morning and 22 in the afternoon. The number is similar to what they have had in past years.

There will be a new course offering during summer school for students in grades 3-6 which will allow students to explore different segments of the Ice Age Trail while learning about geology and geography of the area. Hovde, high school biology teacher Mark Mosey along with two instructional aides and high school volunteers will all be involved with the program.

Special Education/Curriculum Director Polly Rudi reminded everyone of the Open Enrollment deadline which actually ended April 30 but there are several exceptions which would allow students to apply after the deadline. Rudi also stated that any parent who wants to homeschool their child may enroll their child in any home based private educational program at any time during the year but Wisconsin Statute 115.30 (3) requires the child’s parent or guardian to file an online Homeschool Report annually, on or before Oct. 15.