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By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — If residents in the Elk Mound school district approve the $15.7 million referendum question on the April 7 ballot, what’s next?
Eric Wright, school district administrator, reported to the Elk Mound Board of Education at the February 17 meeting that he has been attending various meetings in the school district to present information about the referendum and to answer questions.
The question people most frequently ask is — what do the drawings look like? Wright said, noting, for example, that people want to know the details for the new gymnasium at Elk Mound Middle School.
Wright said he explains the school district does not yet have detailed drawings of the referendum projects.
If the referendum is approved in April, detailed drawings of the projects would be the next step, he said.
Contracting with an architectural firm to produce detailed drawings of the new gymnasium or the new band room will be expensive, and the school district cannot spend money on detailed drawings before it is known whether the referendum will be approved, Wright said.
As for other activities related to the referendum, videos have been posted to the school district’s social media sites, and a mailer has been sent out to all school district residents, he said.
Two backpack stuffers also will be sent home with students, and the first one will go out on February 27, Wright said.
The school district also has four open houses planned, three in the evening and one during the day for people who might not want to drive at night, he said.
The open houses are scheduled for March 2 (6 p.m. EMHS auditorium); March 17 (6:30 p.m. Elk Mound Middle School commons); March 24 (9:30 a.m. EMHS auditorium); and March 30 (7 p.m. EMHS auditorium).
The referendum projects include safety and security updates at all three schools; STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) classroom updates (woodworking and metal shops); building systems that will include roofs and boilers at all three schools as well as Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) updates; library improvements; a new high school band room; a new middle school gymnasium; remodeling the existing middle school gymnasium into a classroom; updating the high school locker rooms; athletic field improvements; and extending the weight room.
The Elk Mound Board of Education has agreed that Wright should continue finding out information about a grant for a school resource officer.
The school resource officer would be a joint endeavor between the school district and the Village of Elk Mound, Wright said.
There are many steps that would have to be taken before even applying for the grant, such as approving a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the school district and the village, he said.
Whether a full-time school resource officer is employed in the Elk Mound school district will depend upon whether the grant is awarded, Wright said.
The question is — is this something that would work for us? he said.
In other business, the Elk Mound Board of Education:
• Approved Elizabeth Lindquist as the legislative scholarship winner.
• Learned the guidance counselors in the school district are offering a parenting class that will begin February 25 and will continue for five Tuesday nights.
• Learned that five-year-old visitation is scheduled for March 20.
• Learned that bus driver appreciation week was celebrated February 10 through February 14.
• Learned that the ACT test is scheduled for March 3.
• Learned that FFA week will be celebrated February 24 to February 28.
• Learned that an Elk Mound High School band and concert choir will be held March 19.
• Approved attaching a property to the Elk Mound school district. The Eau Claire school district denied the request, however, Wright said.
• Approved the auditor’s contract for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The same company will be completing the audit as last year.
• Approved the low bid for a bus from Midstate Bus in the amount of $81,761.50. The bus is a 72-passenger 2020 model.
• Approved early retirement requests from Jacquelyn Kaanta (speech therapist), Janice Kohnke (food service) and Terri Eckhoff (high school secretary).
• Scheduled the next Elk Mound Board of Education meeting for March 16.
• Learned that Wright will meet with employment groups in the school district and then will schedule a meeting with the school board’s compensation committee.
• Accepted the resignation of Marilyn Heifner as curriculum coordinator.
• Approved adding several items to the short-range planning list, including asbestos removal from one room that was not previously known to contain asbestos. The asbestos abatement will occur this summer. Blacktop maintenance and replacing flooring where needed also was added to the list as was either repairing or replacing the high school water heater. At the moment, it is unknown whether the water heater can be repaired or if it will have to be replaced, Wright said.
• Accepted the resignation of Jim Larson, lead maintenance supervisor.
• Approved an MOU with Beacon Mental Health Resources LLC. The school district provides a space for counselors to meet with students, Wright noted, adding that having a space available in school is beneficial for parents and students because parents do not have to pick up their students, take them to counseling and then bring them back to the school, and the students are only out of class for 30 minutes.
• Scheduled Board of Education meetings for April 27, May 18 (an early meeting at 5 p.m., with the annual staff recognition luncheon held prior to the meeting), and June 22.
During a closed session, the Elk Mound Board of Education:
• Approved hiring Kyle Craker as a custodian.
• Approved hiring Greg Pahl as the lead maintenance supervisor.
• Approved hiring Tammy Schlewitz as the school nurse.
• Scheduled a closed session for an expulsion hearing on February 24.
• Took no action on the agenda item of “preliminary consideration of a specific employment matter, which if discussed in public could adversely affect the reputation of the employee involved.”