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Colfax school board approves three extra-curricular positions

By Marlys Kruger

COLFAX — It was a relatively quiet evening at the November 18 Colfax school board meeting as the board had just three items that needed voting on.


 After posting the assistant/junior varsity girl’s basketball coaching position in house and outside of the school, nobody showed any interest in the job. Grades 7-12 principal John Dachel, who has a daughter on the varsity team therefore is at every game, stepped up to the plate (or up to the free throw line in this case), and said he would take the job. After some of the board members questioned whether he would be able to balance coaching with his principal job, Dachel assured them he would work things out with head coach Joe Doucette.

“My principal duties come first,” he said. “I will be in my office until 4:00 every day and I will be available to the staff at any time. Coach Doucette will run practices by himself until I get there. We can try it for a year and see how it works,” he added. The board agreed to hire him for the upcoming season and check to see how things went after the season ends.

An assistant wrestling coach was approved as Jack Pearce, a 2012 graduate of Ashland High School was hired for the Bloomer-Colfax co-op team. With 12-14 wrestlers from Colfax out for the team, Pearce and a teaching assistant for the district, Clint Alexander, are driving them over to Bloomer in the school vans for practice. Pearce was the Division II State champion at 120 pounds for Ashland and holds many of their school records in several categories. He is currently attending UW-Stout.

Missy Prince, a kindergarten teacher in the district, was also approved for the winter cheerleading advisor position.

District Administrator Bill Yingst gave an update on the Energy Efficiency project, stating it was 90-95% done and the new LP gas busses would be arriving shortly.

The 2013-14 mill rate is at 8.64 which is the third lowest of the 39 schools in the CESA 11 District. Only Birchwood and Webster are lower as they have a lot of lakefront property and homes. Elmwood is the highest at 16.66 and Pepin is second highest at 15.06.

Official Open Enrollment dates are Feb. 4-April 10 for any student who wants to enter or leave the district, but the Department of Public Instruction has made it easier for students to open enroll at any time, according to Yingst.

Anyone wishing to file school board candidacy papers for the  spring election must have their documents in by January 7 at 5:00 to the district office. Three board members including president Don Berge along with directors Jodi Kiekhafer and Christy Hill are are up for re-election. They did not state whether they were running again.

A first draft of policy updates concerning the athletic code and the Online Course of Study offered by the district was presented. Changes being looked at for the athletic code concern use of social media that shows disrespect to coaches, school staff members, game officials, Colfax students or opposing school students. Attendance all day at school the day of an athletic contest is also being looked at and was discussed.  The search and seizure policy was presented, stating a student’s athletic locker is the property of the district and if school officials have a reasonable suspicion the locker has stolen property, illegal or dangerous materials or substances in it, they may search the locker with or without the student’s knowledge or consent.

Criteria for students to be accepted into the Online Program include having a minimum of a ninth grade reading level, having a strong desire to succeed, possess traits to be successful, and their needs are not being met as noted by student, teacher, counselor and parent. For any special education student who wishes to enroll in the program, an IEP team decision is needed.

Winter sports season are now underway according to Dachel with two additions to the girls’ basketball schedule. They will play just one game at UW-Stout during the Christmas break which will be Dec. 28 at 6:00 against Minneapolis DeLasalle. They will also play a home game against Bloomer Saturday night, Jan. 4 at 7:30. The high school Christmas concert will be Monday, Dec. 16 and there will be no school from Dec. 23-Jan. 1. The American Red Cross will be having a blood drive on Wednesday, Dec. 11 in the Martin Anderson lobby.

Elementary principal Trevor Hovde stated he received many positive comments on the Veterans Day program held at the school the previous week and he wanted to thank everyone who was involved with the planning.

Elementary Christmas music programs will be held throughout the day of Dec. 17, with Junior Kindergarten at 9:00 and 12:30, Kindergarten at 10:30, grades 1-4 at 1:30 and grades 5-8 at 7:00 p.m.

Hovde gave Special Education Director Polly Rudi’s report since she was attending the state Special Education conference. WKCE/WAA testing was wrapping up this week and the Colfax School District was informed their fifth and sixth grade students will be piloting the new Smarter Balanced Assessment test this April, which is replacing the current WKCE test. The district will also be piloting the Dynamic Learning  Maps Assessment in March which will be replacing the WAA test.

No action was reported from the closed executive session.