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Colfax Board of Education to consider policy for snowmobiles

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  The Colfax school district does not have a written policy addressing snowmobiles on school grounds.

Members of the Colfax Board of Education decided at the February 19 meeting that a written policy about snowmobiles would be advantageous.

Mike Buchner, president of the Colfax Sno-Drifters, spoke to the Colfax Village Board February 12 about a snowmobile route to the school district.

In the past, snowmobiles were allowed to take the shortest route from a residence in the village to the snowmobile trail, and a route had also been available to the school grounds.

Buchner said it had come to his attention the village ordinance allowing snowmobiles to take the shortest route to the trail and establishing a route to the school district had been eliminated.

The proposed route to the school grounds would be across the Colfax Fairgrounds using the driveway on the east side, across the footbridge, and then across state Highway 40 to Johnson-Olson Road to High Street, Yingst told the school board.

Snowmobiles are supposed to operate at 10 mph when they are less than one hundred feet from a residence, he said.

Students have ridden snowmobiles to school, and a parking area is available by the tennis courts,Yingst said.

The snowmobile season is winding down now, and the village’s ordinance was expected to be published in the following week’s newspaper, he said.

Students who are 12 years old and who have obtained a snowmobile safety certificate are allowed to drive snowmobiles, Yingst said.

The school district has no written policy on snowmobiles. A written policy would allow the school board to consider the criteria for allowing students to bring snowmobiles onto the school grounds and to consider the safety and welfare of students, Yingst said.

Students can park their snowmobiles on school grounds, but they are not allowed to ride around the school grounds, he noted.

If a student is 12 years old and has a snowmobile safety certificate, “you can drive wherever you want,” said Todd Kragness, president of the Board of Education.

Perhaps the school district should consider asking parents of students between the ages of 12 and 16 to sign a permission slip to allow their students to bring snowmobiles onto school grounds, Kragness said.

Ken Neuburg, Board of Education member, also wondered if the school district has a written policy on motorcycles.

“Maybe we should look at both at the same time,” he said.

Students are allowed to “ride a vehicle” onto school property, said John Dachel, high school principal.

“Vehicles” also include tractors, Neuburg said.

Parental permission would be a good idea for the school district’s liability, Yingst said.

The Colfax Sno-Drifters discovered the missing snowmobile ordinance following a complaint about snowmobiles, he said.

While the school district can control snowmobiles on school grounds, the school district has no control over students, or over anyone else for that matter, after they leave the school grounds, Yingst said.

Colfax Board of Education members agreed they should consider a policy on snowmobiles.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Board of Education:

• Learned that Read Across America week will be March 12 through March 15.

• Learned the high school musical, “The Music Man,” will be performed the evenings of March 23 and 24 with a matinee performance March 25.

• Learned Yingst had received an e-mail from Focus on Energy saying the school district would be receiving a check for $16,015 for energy efficiency projects, bringing the total amount of rebates for energy efficiency to $26,638.

• Learned the CNC machine and the plasma cutters and router had arrived that the school district had ordered months ago as part of the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) portion of the referendum money. The equipment will help the school district work toward developing a fabrication lab, Yingst said. CNC is an abbreviation for “computer numeric control,” and CNC machining uses computer software to control lathes, mills, routers and grinders. A plasma cutter is a tool that can cut through metal, such as steel, copper, brass and aluminum, using a high-temperature ionized gas.

• Learned the summer swimming dates will be June 5 to June 15 at the Elk Mound High School pool.

• Learned the summer school dates will be June 18 to June 29 at Colfax Elementary.

• Learned the full-time equivalency student count in September, with open enrollments in and out of the district factored in, was 848, and the full-time equivalency student count with open enrollment factored in for January was 849.

• Accepted the resignation of Roger Sonnenberg as a school bus driver. Sonnenberg decided to retire after January 1 and had provided 11 years of service to the school district.

• Approved hiring as track coaches Danielle Dachel, Tina Rothbauer, Joe Doucette/Chuck Brown in a shared position, and Kelsey Daines, a UW-Eau Claire student who will serve as the jumping coach.