Colfax School Board conducts January meeting

by Marlys Kruger

COLFAX — A smaller than normal Colfax School Board, who were minus two members,  took care of their usual business during the monthly meeting January 19. With Todd Kragness leading the meeting in the absence of  president Joel Hilson, a verification of how the names will appear on the ballot for the spring election was given, showing incumbent Ken Neuburg listed first and Kyle Knutson second.

Several board members will be attending the Wisconsin Association of School Boards state convention Jan. 20-23 along with District Administrator Bill Yingst and a list of the 17 resolutions to be voted on was presented for the board to look through. A first draft of the staff recognition banquet held in late May was given and at this time there are no staff members retiring. Former music teacher Jeffrey Langkau, who retired this past spring will be recognized at this year’s banquet, however.

The board approved the yearly Sanger Foundation donation of $5000 to the district which is to be used for students in need, and the summer school program which includes swimming lessons, summer school classes, music lessons, agriculture classes and the summer saunters program was approved for this year.

A 12-page packet explaining the revised and simplified formulas and charts by the DPI and a research team from UW-Oshkosh for determining caseloads in special education was presented. The formula helps districts decide how many special education open enrollment students they will accept each year. The board passed a motion to establish the open enrollment classroom size which included:

• Adopting the DPI Guidance for Options for Determining Caseloads in Special Education: Option C for Cross Categorical SPED Classrooms with recommended size of 26 students for the purpose of open enrollment.

• Adopting Option B: Service Level Matrix with Maximum caseload chart to be used for guidance in determining Hearing Impairment, Visual Impairment, Physical, Occupational, Speech Therapies and Early Childhood for the purposes of open enrollment.

• Determining the caseload factor for open enrollment will be capped at 90% of the maximum allowable number of students to allow for the expansion of students already living within the boundaries of the school district who are not open enrolled.

Administrators’ reports

In the absence of John Dachel and Polly Rudi, elementary principal Trevor Hovde gave three reports. Hovde updated several elementary reading programs and congratulated all the participants in the school Geography Bee. He also reported on the performance of the Stoughton Norwegian Dancers who had entertained students, staff and community members Jan. 19.

“I thought everyone seemed to enjoy the performance,” he said. “These kids are pretty amazing. After talking to some of the dancers, I discovered most of them are in one or more varsity sports and are also very active in other school activities. The amount of time they put in to practice for this is amazing. Some of our fifth grade students had the chance to dance with them and they were surprised at how much time it took to learn a few dances. And I noticed several of our high school students were visiting with them after the performance. It was just a real positive experience for everyone.”

In the high school report, it was noted report cards will be sent home Jan. 30 and there will be no school Monday, Feb. 2 for a winter break. Winter Carnival will take place the week of Feb. 9-13 with the crowning of a king and queen Feb. 13 at the dance after the girls basketball game. Parent-Teacher conferences are Feb. 26 from 4:00-8:00 p.m. and Feb. 27 from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Driver’s education information is now available in the high school office. Any student who will be 14 years and eight months old prior to Oct. 1, 2015 will be allowed to take driver’s education this summer. Youth Options applications for fall enrollment are due March 2 at the high school office.

The FFA Toy and Craft Show will be Sunday, Feb. 22 in the high school gym from 9:00-3:00.

In the Special Education report, it was stated Early Childhood screening in collaboration with CESA 11 Head Start and Dunn County Birth to Three will take place at the Colfax Early Head Start Center on Feb. 26 from 10:00-11:30, April 10 from 10:00-11:30 and May 8, also from 10:00-11:30.

A SPED parent meeting was  held Jan 21. with Kristin Bruder from the UW Extension Office of Dunn County discussing the “Love and Logic” parenting method with their special needs child. There will be another Resource Fair coordinated by Pupil Services during Parent-Teacher conferences Feb. 26-27.

During the executive session of the meeting, the board approved an updated substitute support staff pay scale for custodians, food service workers and secretaries, which is part of a normal review and update.