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ELK MOUND — the Board of Education for the Elk mound Area School District held its October meeting on October 26, 2020, at 7 p.m. Afterwards, school principals Eric Hanson, Chris Hahn, and Paul Kling provided updates about their respective buildings. District superintendent Eric Wright also updated the board and district residents in attendance on progress being made on the district referendum projects.
During the superintendent’s report he turned the floor over to a pair of CESA representatives, who presented drawings of the proposed changes to the middle school and high school facilities as part of the referendum projects; this included initial designs for the parking lot that will replace the area known as the battlefield at the middle school, plans for the new middle school gymnasium, and a plan for classroom construction in the old gymnasium area.
Also on display were designs for the high school updates, including the new Technical Education space, weight room designs, locker rooms with access to the pool area, which include design elements to allow for Community use of the pool area during sporting events or sports practices.
A fabrication lab was included in the drawing for the Tech Ed spaces, along with a multipurpose room that could be used by agriculture students for the food science program and classes. Wright also used the drawings to explain the layout of the new outdoor athletic facilities.
According to the drawings presented, the new high school band room will allow the band easy access to the outdoor athletic facilities, and the ability to walk right from the band room onto a bus for a trip.
Documentation provided for the public, and to the board members, indicated the plan for the track is to replace the current asphalt which will then be covered with a rubber surface to make a safer running surface and could be used for future competitions. The timeline presented for this indicated it could take place by July 2021. The CESA representatives, were careful to remind everyone the dates on the timeline are not hard and fast, and would rely on weather conditions. The board did not discuss any of the drawings or plans for approval during the October meeting, the proposal and design team’s hope is the drawings can be approved by the Board and sent to the State for approval prior to the end of 2020.
Some of the work on the physical facilities occupied by students and staff will not occur prior to the end of the 2020 – 2021 school year. Because the work cannot occur when staff and students are in the building due to concerns over things like asbestos abatement.
Wright also explained some alterations to the district budget. Included in the superintendent’s report, was the information that the state general aid came in slightly lower than estimated by the Department of Public Instruction and the district will be aided at $8,503,323 of a $10,730,000 revenue limit, which is an aid rate of 79 percent. The superintendent’s report explains, that leaves $2,408,111 for the levy for the district fund 10 general fund. The amount estimated at the annual meeting was $2,315,166 for fund 10. The report explained there are some options related to the budget, due to declining enrollment. “When this (declining enrollment) occurs, there is a formula that allows for one-time funds. The negative side to this is the amount goes directly to the local tax levy which is $190,000. “The first option presented for the declining enrollment dollars is accepting the full $190,000 which results in a local tax levy of $2,408,111 along with a debt service levy of $1,017,387 for a mill rate of $8.43. The second option is to accept $100,000 rather than the full $190,000 for declining enrollment, which brings the local levy down to $2,318,111 along with a debt service of $1,017,387, making the mill rate $8.21.
The superintendent’s recommendation is the second option because “this will not affect our district in the future as declining enrollment dollars are one-time dollars. The logic relates to our increase in open enrollment, we are receiving an additional $100,000 for open enrollment.” The $8.21 mill rate is a slight decline from last year.
The board adjourned to executive session after all open meeting agenda items had been discussed. Wright was contacted after the meeting, to determine the outcome of the executive session. He reported the following results, the board:
• Approved hiring Sarah Lemay as the new middle school dishwasher.
• Approved Shelby Allen as the new high school cheerleading coach.
• Approved Abe Fergeson and Aaron Maves as the new high school powerlifting head and co-coaches.
• Approved Taylor Deling as a powerlifting assistant coach.
The Elk Mound Area School District Board of Education is scheduled to meet again November 16, 2020, at 7 p.m. with board members Gary Bodenburg and Mark Oas present prior to the meeting to speak with members of the public.