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Colfax school board conducts May meeting

by Marlys Kruger

During the final monthly meeting before students are done for the year, members of the Colfax school board approved the summer school and swimming lessons staff as well as set the starting date for the upcoming school year.

The meeting was held in the high school library May 19 after a Special Meeting of the Electors was held concerning  a proposed real estate acquisition. The land is 27 acres owned by Nicole and Andy Meade located adjacent to the school’s athletic fields and can be used for school purposes as well as for future use if the district’s population should increase in the next 10-20 years, according to district administrator Bill Yingst. Gary Stene and Mark Mosey, citizens and taxpayers in the school district attended the meeting and spoke in favor of the district buying the land, After a discussion, there was a unanimous vote to give the board authority to negotiate with the Meades, which is the first legal step in purchasing land for the district.

Stu Waller, representing North East Ohio Learning Associates or NEOLA, Inc. which is an educational consulting firm, gave a presentation on the company’s Electronic Policy Book services. According to information he provided, the mission of NEOLA “is to help school leaders address policy implications of the ever-evolving laws and regulations from all levels of government”. They put school districts in a position to prevail in litigation by helping them keep their policies in compliance with local, state and federal laws which are all but impossible for school administrators to keep up with. NEOLA does the research on these changes and presents materials to keep the district’s management documents updated. As of now, there are 50-75 required policies schools must comply with and most dealings are with the Department of Public Instruction and the Office of Civil Rights. NEOLA has a client list of over 120 schools in Wisconsin including Boyceville, Mondovi and Barron and Waller stated all of the school districts were pleased with the program. There are three options to the program and after asking Waller many questions and a long discussion, the board voted to purchase and update the school policy book through NEOLA at a cost of $22,000.This includes the base price for the development of bylaws and policies, update services and electronic maintenance.

Staff recognition will take place May 28 at Whitetail Golf Course and the week of July 7-11 is the designated annual audit week for the district.

The board approved the hiring of 31 teachers and assistants along with bus drivers for the summer school program for grades Pre-K through 8. Swimming staff consisting of head instructor Vicki Seston along with Bobby Tronnier, Daniel Hanson, Douglas Hanson, Mariah Erb, Shelby Sikora and Allison Hinrichs and aide Tania Fogarty as well as bus drivers were also approved.

Budget adjustments for the 2013-2014 year was approved which will give the board a closer aid estimate when the annual meeting comes up in July, and the school will continue to use Student Assurance Services, Inc for the district’s students sports insurance provider.

The 2013-2014 school calender was reviewed indicating school will begin for students Sept. 2. Staff members will have an extra in-service day the week before school starts and this year, parent-teacher conferences will be held in the early evening as usual as well as in the morning to accommodate parents who work different shifts. The board approved the calender with any changes from the administrative team.

Staffing options for next year include a full time bus driver to replace Virginia Thompson who is retiring, a special education teacher and possibly a special education aid, and depending on numbers, a fifth grade teacher with Janet Hovland retiring.

Administrators’ reports

Grades 7-12 principal John Dachel wished all the sports teams good luck in the upcoming WIAA tournaments and meets. With the crazy weather this spring there have been plenty of re-scheduled events and there are hopes of getting in as many games and meets as possible. The last day of school for all students is Thursday June 5, he stated, with summer swimming lessons beginning June 9.

Elementary principal Trevor Hovde gave updates on the Accelerated Reading Program and said two teachers, Sarah Yingst and Vince Ross have applied for Model Classroom and Master Classroom certification through Renaissance Learning. This shows that their students have maintained a high level of achievement through the AR program.

D.A.R.E. Graduation for fifth graders will take place Friday, May 30 at 1:45 with officer Rod Dicus of the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department. There are still a few classes who have field trips scheduled in the next two weeks, and summer school will begin June 23 and go until July 3. The Summer Saunters program which was so successful last year will take place at the Ice Age Trail July 7-11 for students in grades 3-6.

Special Education Director/Curriculum Director Polly Rudi thanked Mark Mosey’s Global Science class who will be building two raised flower beds outside the Functional Life Skills classroom. Students from the Life Skills class attended Special Kids Day May 14 at Lake Wissota which gave them a chance to meet with other special needs kids for a positive educational and social experience.

The final special education meeting for parents for the year was held May 19, and Rudi stated she will be attending a Dunn County Coordinated Care meeting May 22.