EM school board favors hiring another full-time teacher

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND —  Members of the Elk Mound Board of Education say they would rather hire a full-time teacher than a part-time teacher to accommodate increased enrollment at Mound View Elementary.

Eric Hanson, principal at Mound View Elementary, told the Elk Mound school board at the September 30 meeting that the third grade class of 78 students is only divided into three sections, resulting in 26 students per class.

 Hanson suggested hiring a half-time teacher who would work from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to teach two additional sections of language arts and two sections of math.

If a half-time teacher were hired, the students would still have the same homerooms for the rest of the day, he said.

Does the makeup of the class warrant additional teacher time? wondered Bill Moore, school board member.

Is there enough space for an additional class at Mound View Elementary? asked Loren Hanson, board member.

Some shifting would have to take place, but yes, there would be room for another classroom at Mound View, Hanson said, and yes, the students in that particular class could use additional teacher time.

Moore also wondered if Mound View Elementary or Elk Mound Middle School would need another teacher next year.

Whether another teacher would be needed depends upon increased enrollment and if any teachers decide to retire, Hanson said.

“I would rather hire another (full-time) teacher for third grade. Twenty-six is too many in a classroom,” said Margaret Dieter, school board member.

Moore said he also was in favor of hiring a full-time teacher.

Candidates

School board member Kyle Jenson wondered about the number of candidates who would be available at this time of year.

Hanson said he believed that more candidates would apply for a full-time position than for a part-time position.

The school district could offer a one-year contract, and then if the teacher is someone who “does a great job,” the school district could extend the contract if another teacher is needed for next year, Hanson said.

The school district always has the option of not renewing the contract, said Dr. Ron Walsh, superintendent.

The school district has enough money in the budget to hire either a full-time or a part-time teacher, hr noted.

“The budget is not an issue. We could make the half-time (position) work, but we wanted to see what the board thought,” Dr. Walsh said.

Certification

School board member Jim Holte asked what kind of certification would be required for the new third grade teacher.

Mound View has a number of teachers certified Pre-K to third grade, Hanson said.

The new teacher would probably either be a 1-6 certification, a K-6 certification or 1-8 certification to provide more flexibility to the school district, he said.

This particular class started with 66 students but now it is up to 78, Hanson noted.

School board member Gary Bodenburg also said he was in favor of hiring a full-time teacher.

Would the school board prefer a long-term substitute teacher or a full-time teacher with benefits? asked Dr. Walsh.

“We would get a better pool for full-time,” Dieter said.

Since all of the Elk Mound Board of Education members agreed that the new third grade teacher should be full-time, Dr. Walsh said that he and Hanson would bring the issue back to the school board at the October meeting with more information.

Mound View Elementary currently has an enrollment of 502 students: 72 in four-year-old kindergarten; 79 in kindergarten; 83 in first grade; 106 in second grade; 78 in third grade; and 83 in fourth grade.

Other business

In other business, the Elk Mound Board of Education:

• Recognized Karla Jenson with a Notable Education Contribution award. Jenson, who retired at the end of the last school year, was a bus driver in the district for 31 years, beginning as a substitute bus driver, and served as an elementary aide for 17 years.

• Learned that Elk Mound Middle School has the highest enrollment in its history at 352 students. Eric Wright, principal, noted that when he started working in the district ten years ago, the middle school enrollment was 242.

• Learned from Hunter Alexander, the student representative to the Elk Mound Board of Education, that the Science Olympiad program started out with 28 students last year and has grown to 67 students this year.

• Learned that enrollment at Elk Mound High School is 314, representing a slight decrease over last year. A total of 90 students graduated in 2013, and the incoming freshmen class has 72 students, said Paul Weber, high school principal. The eighth grade class, however, has 90 students, so the enrollment will only dip temporarily, he said.

• Approved a three-year contract with Advanced Disposal in the amount of $700 per month. Advanced Disposal was formerly known as Veolia. The contract amount is $200 less per month than the previous contract.

• Approved a snowplowing contract with Kurt Van Schoonhoven at the same rate he has charged for the last five years.

• Accepted the resignation of Shanna McMullin, high school assistant Academic Decathlon director.

• Accepted the resignation of Jennifer Patterson, part-time elementary food service worker.

• Scheduled the next school board meeting for October 21.

• Approved adding ten days to the curriculum coordinator’s contract through CESA No. 11. This will allow the school district to use Marilyn Heifner as a teaching coach in addition to the 40 days that she is employed by the district for curriculum development and revision.

• Approved extending the CESA No. 10 energy contract for three years for Heating, Air Conditioning and Ventilation controls. The contract is for two cents per square foot for a total of $4,400. Remote access control of the HVAC system through a computer allows the schools to run as efficiently as possible and saves the district money every year, Dr. Walsh said. The school district has had an energy contract with CESA No. 10 for six years, he said.

Following a closed session, the Elk Mound Board of Education:

• Accepted the resignation of bus driver and education aide Renee Gifford after 18 years of service.

• Approved hiring Lisa Yakish as a part-time middle school aide.

• Approved hiring Deseree White and Molly Carlisle as part-time elementary school aides.

• Approved hiring Sarah Myers as a full-time high school special education teachers’ aide.

• Approved hiring Bruce Winchester as the high school assistant Academic Decathlon coach.

• Approved hiring Shanna McMullin as the high school drama/musical coach.

• Approved hiring Sarah Jones as the assistant high school drama/musical coach.

• Approved hiring Annie Kongshaug as the high school golf coach.

• Approved hiring Kelsey Wolf as a part-time food service worker at the high school.