By Kelsie Hoitomt
GLENWOOD CITY — Last Saturday morning, students and staff from the Glenwood City Elementary put together a tasty pancake breakfast for the community in an effort to raise funds for a re-designed playground.
According to Elementary Principal, Betsy Haltinner, the morning went amazing. There were over 200 individuals who stopped by the Community Center for breakfast, which raised over $3,000.
Haltinner thanked the many generous donors as well as the City for providing the Community Center free of charge, Wayne Blaser for donating all the sausage and to Sherri Crosby who donated the rest of the supplies on behalf of the Food Services Program.
There is roughly $10,000 now that will go towards funding a revamped playground. Haltinner stated that there are plans in process and designs being created so the Board should be seeing some proposals in the near future.
Haltinner also shared a video that was created by Lifetouch that had detailed information and visual evidence as to why the District is seeking votes for the referendum.
Haltinner, Middle School/High School Principal Patrick Gretzlock, Superintendent Tim Johnson, Task Force member Tryn Gross and District Maintenance man Bob Swanepoel all appeared on the informational video.
Those who would like to watch the video to further understand why the District is seeking the referendum, can go onto the school’s website and/or their “Glenwood City School District Referendum” Facebook page.
In other business, there were two approvals in regards to retirement in the professional and support staff handbooks. The Board approved a language change in both.
The professional handbook section states in part that: “Early retirement shall be available to teachers who have either taught 30 years in the Glenwood City School District or have reached at least age 55 and completed 15 years of teaching in the School District of Glenwood City, who resign from their full time duties…Once the teacher has retired from the district, he/she is no longer eligible for any district offered benefit such as health insurance. In addition, the defined contribution is not eligible for any death benefit continuance and any such payments would cease in the unfortunate case a previous staff member should perish before all payments are complete. All teachers choosing option 2 Defined Benefit (TSA) will receive a $400 per year contribution into a district approved TSA vendor. In addition, for teachers who choose the TSA defined benefit, the district will match 1:2, the teacher’s contribution to a TSA to an annual maximum of $1,200. The maximum District contribution to an individual’s TSA will be $1,600 per year.”
The support staff section states in part that: “Early retirement shall be available to support staff members at age 57 after 15 years of working in the School District of Glenwood City or to those staff members who have worked 30 years in the School District of Glenwood City, who resign from their full time duties. Staff shall be permitted to retire under this Section at the end of the semester following their 57th birthday… All support staff members who work at least 1080 hours annually in their regularly assigned position choosing option 2 Defined Benefit (TSA) will receive a $400 per year contribution into a district approved TSA vendor. In addition, for staff who choose the TSA defined benefit, the district will match 1:2, the member’s contribution to a TSA to an annual maximum of $800. The maximum District contribution to an individual’s TSA will be $1,200 per year.”
The Board also approved teacher/staff one-time payment/contributions. That approval and the one regarding the teacher had President, Charles Rasmussen abstaining from both.
Board member, John Logghe spoke up during the discussion wondering how this would affect the upcoming budget. Johnson stated that it does put stress on the budget, but it is still the right thing to do.
In terms of the 2015-16 budget, Johnson stated that with Governor Walker’s proposal, the District is around $250,000 below what they were anticipating due to changes in state aid.
Basically now, the Administration is left to fix this problem by adjusting salaries and benefits, which means possible salary cuts, staff changes, etc.
Other items approved by the Board included scholarships; one Topper Partnership Foundation Scholarship for $500, one Dorothy Kuhn Scholarship for $500, two Class of 1950 Scholarships for $500 each and 12 Russell Meyer Scholarships for $1,000 each.
The Board also approved an American Family Insurance Scholarship on behalf of Lane Berenschot and they approved the final reading for the Technical Excellence Scholarship Policy.
The Board also heard from St. Croix County’s Medical Examiner, Patty Schachtner. She spoke to the Board about what is going on with drugs, mental health and suicide in the County.
Currently these are all a problem throughout the County with two suicides and two or three drug overdoses already accounted for this year.
Schachtner stated that the County is looking to raise awareness and shed light on each of these topics through presentations, informational guides, community outreach and through media coverage.
Schachtner asked for the Board’s support and she asked that they not only lend their support, but find a member in the community to be a leader as well.
The County has invited everyone to the New Richmond High School Auditorium on April 6 at 6:30 p.m. to listen to Kevin Breel speak.
He is a mental health advocate that suffered from depression and was suicidal, but sought out help and is now a motivational speaker.
There will then be a fundraising event on May 17 at the Orchard in Baldwin, which will raise the money spent on advertising.
This event will feature paintings that will be created by a community leaders from school districts through the county. They will be instructed on how to paint by a junior 4-H ambassador. Those pictures once completed will be auctioned off.
The Board will have their first informational meeting on next Monday, March 16 at the Glenwood City Community Center at 7:00 p.m. and then the following Monday, March 23 they will present at the High School Library at 5:00 p.m.