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By Cara L. Dempski
ELK MOUND — On February 15, the Board of Education for the Elk Mound Area School District started discussing the possibility of the school switching from the Dunn-St. Croix Conference to the Cloverbelt. District Administrator Eric Wright explained he and Athletic Director Mike Schiszik had been contacted by other members of the Cloverbelt about Elk Mound joining the conference after Altoona leaves. Wright was careful to explain the move would also require the approval of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association if approved by the school board. His recommendation seemed to be that Elk Mound make the change; several board members agreed after voicing their beliefs that competing in a conference with larger schools could prove beneficial for athletes at Elk Mound.
In other athletic news, the Board unanimously approved adding wrestling to the middle school sports offerings.
High School Principal Paul Kling offered an update on varsity winter sports, noting the girls high school team was no longer in competition, having been forced to forfeit all tournament games due to members of the Elk Mound team contracting coronavirus. He pointed out the boys team was hosting Osseo-Fairchild for a tournament game the following night.
Next, the Board accepted a bid for a new school bus from Midstate Bus.
Earlier in the meeting, Wright took a moment to present the district “Starfish Award” to Rachel Rios for her services to the district as a substitute teacher and member of the Parent-Teacher Organization; he explained Rios has been active in the PTO pie sale and Pie Patch, and the Cookies and Canvas event.
Next, Wright named the students in the Class of 2021 determined as contenders for this year’s Legislative Scholarship (otherwise known as the Academic Excellence scholarship). He said the first choice for the scholarship is Susan Marquardt. Other students named for this scholarship were Nate Lew, Alex Johnson, and Caitlin Rousch. Students named for the Technical Excellence scholarship were Logan Smith and Brennan Zais. Wright explained the scholarship is usually provided to students seeking technical degrees.
The Board then approved the resignation of a food service employee. Then, the district’s contract for services with CESA 10 received unanimous approval. Wright next informed the Board of updated coronavirus numbers for the district, he said there have been 39 positive cases since the second week after the holiday break, with 29 staff testing positive, and 75 students testing positive overall, for the school year.
He indicated he’s trying to get vaccines as soon as possible for those who want them. He further indicated the biggest issue at the moment is that they can’t get vaccines; Wright says he has been working with Dunn County Public Health regarding vaccinations, and said the district will continue to require masks even if there is no state mandate for them.
Next, Gary Bodenberg provided a legislative update, during which he informed the Board the Department of Public instruction wants to distribute $65 million in funding equitably among all school districts in the state, he also said the state Finance Committee wants to give larger amounts of those funds to schools that maintain in-person instruction.
After the legislative update, the Board adjourned to closed session to consider hiring a new high school golf coach; Jordan Kongshaug was approved as the new coach. The School Board will meet next at 7 p.m. on March 15.