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EM approves adding one teacher at high school and a half-time teacher at middle school

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND —  The Elk Mound Board of Education has approved staffing requests for the 2014-2015 school year that will add 1.25 to 1.5 full-time-equivalency teachers at the middle school and high school.

The full-time position at the high school will be for a history teacher.

The high school will begin scheduling next month, so staffing needs for next year currently are under assessment, said Paul Weber, high school principal, at the Elk Mound Board of Education’s November 18 meeting.

Several years ago, the school board allowed the high school to expand math, science and English sections to accommodate the increased number of students, Weber noted.

Elk Mound is one of the few school districts in the state that has been experiencing an increased enrollment.

Now Spanish and social studies classes need more sections, Weber told the school board.

To fill the staffing needs, Rachel Hahn, who teaches English, will pick up some Spanish classes to help Spanish teacher Sarah Hoover, Weber said.

Hoover also teaches Spanish enrichment classes at the middle school, and Spanish classes at the high school have had nearly 40 students, he said.

After Hahn takes over some of the high school Spanish classes, that leaves a gap in the English classes, so Bruce Winchester, who teaches English and government, will pick up Hahn’s English classes, Weber explained.

After Winchester starts teaching more English classes, the high school will need a history teacher to teach four sections of History 9 and four sections of History 10, he said.

A quarter of a teaching position was cut a few years ago, Weber noted.

The middle school needs more physical education sections taught by a certified physical education instructor, said Eric Wright, middle school principal.

To fill the need, a quarter to a half-time teacher should be added, he said.

A decade ago, Elk Mound Middle School had 240 students, and today, the middle school has 350 students, Wright said.

The long-range planning committee reviewed the staffing requests and is recommending approval for 1.25 to 1.5 teaching positions, said Kyle Jenson, school board member and a member of the long-range planning committee.

The Elk Mound Board of Education unanimously approved the staffing requests.

Short-range planning

A variety of items are included on the Elk Mound School District’s short-range planning list.

The Board of Education unanimously approved authorizing the administration to go forward with those projects when the funds become available during the remainder of the year.

If all of the projects on the list for the elementary school, high school and middle school are completed, the total cost would be $540,000, noted Dr. Ron Walsh, superintendent.

Items on the list are primarily related to maintenance, technology and textbooks, he said.

Some of the items included on the short-range planning list are $33,000 for a pole building; $12,850 for a bus-loading sidewalk; $50,000 for a math series textbook; $11,755 for blacktop; $80,000 for a student information system.

The short-range planning list also includes bell system clocks for all three schools at a cost of $25,455 for Mound View Elementary; $29,291 for Elk Mound High School; and $25,800 for Elk Mound Middle School.

The Elk Mound Board of Education meets next on December 16 following the Mound View Elementary concert that begins at 6 p.m.