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Boyceville school board creates new guidance counselor, at-risk position

By LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE  —  At the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, the Boyceville school district will have a brand new staff member.

The Boyceville Board of Education at Monday night’s meeting approved creating a new middle school guidance counselor position for sixth, seventh and eighth grade combined with an at-risk interventionist for seventh through twelfth grade.

The new position will be 50 percent guidance counselor and 50 percent at-risk interventionist that will cost an estimated $70,000 to $75,000 annually.

Kevin Sipple, district administrator, said paying for the new position would require some shifting in the budget but that he strongly believed the new position was an essential for the school district.

“I don’t think we can afford not to have that person in our schools,” Sipple told the school board.

Many schools cut counseling positions ten to 15 years ago but are starting to add those positions back again because of the detrimental effects of not having enough guidance counselors, he said.

The middle school guidance counselor portion of the position will take on personal and social counseling, group counseling, academic counseling, classroom presentations, transition to middle school, parent education, staff support and middle school assessments.

The at-risk interventionist portion of the position will focus on those students who are at risk for not graduating from high school with a concentration on the most at-risk students in each grade level from seventh through twelfth grade.

The at-risk interventionist position will be responsible for six to ten regular education students at each grade level and will monitor academics, credits toward graduation, class schedules, post-secondary school plans, participation in co-curricular activities, mental health assessments, home support and transition to post-secondary education.

“We need that one more advocate in the building every day for students,” Sipple said.

“I don’t know how we will fund it, but we need to try this … I think you have to. It is an investment in our students,” he said.

Sipple said candidates for the position most likely would come from UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout and UW-River Falls.

Universities are moving into their second semesters, so now is the time to begin looking for candidates, he said.

The Boyceville Board of Education unanimously approved a motion to create the position and advertise for candidates with the intention of having a counselor hired by the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

Audit report

The auditor’s report for the 2014-2015 school year revealed that the Boyceville school district is in a strong financial position.

The Boyceville school district’s unassigned fund balance of $2.4 million is 34 percent of the expenditures of $7.4 million.

The minimum recommended percentage of unassigned fund balance to expenditures is 17 percent.

The general fund had a total revenue of $8.5 million, which was slightly better than the amount in the budget, and the expenditures of $8.3 million were under budget by $146,000.

The school district’s cash balance is enough for 2.5 months of expenditures.

The outstanding general obligation debt of $9.69 million is 37 percent of the district’s debt limit.

In 2013, the outstanding general obligation debt was 43.59 percent of the debt limit.

Other business 

In other business, the Boyceville Board of Education:

• Approved hiring Debra Kistner as a food service worker for 5.5 hours per day.

• Approved Madison Bygd (4.088 GPA) as the Academic Excellence in Education Scholarship recipient and that Peyton Hellmann (4.038 GPA), Samantha Merkel (4.014 GPA), Alexandra Kapsner (3.933 GPA), Luke Timper (3.965 GPA) and Carolyn Voelker (3.801 GPA) be named as alternates in the order listed. This group of students represents the top ten percent of the graduating class and will represent Boyceville at the Dunn County Excellence in Education Banquet in the spring. Alternates are selected so that if a student chooses an out-of-state university, a student from Boyceville will still be able to receive the scholarship.

• Approved Jenna Beyer as the 2016 Technical Excellence Higher Education Scholarship recipient. The alternates are Afton Fischer and Kailee Krenz.

• Approved a list of overnight or out-of-state field trip requests, including the 212 Conference MFE and EDGE in Green Bay March 22-23; State FFA Judging Contest in Madison April 25-26; State FFA Convention in Madison June 10-13; State Visual Arts Classic in Madison April 9-10; Wisconsin Dells and the UW-Madison Varsity Band Concert at the Kohl Center April 15-16; Iowa Lakeside Lab Field and Research Studies April 17-20.

• Learned that the Coaches vs. Cancer promotion at the girls’ basketball game on Friday, February 12, raised $7,600.

• Accepted a grant in the amount of $1,879 for the WICPA Accounting Careers Awareness Grant for an accounting field trip to Sendik’s Food Market and Miller Park.

• Accepted a donation of $500 from Josh and Amy Corr to be used for Science Olympiad building supplies.