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By Cara L. Dempski
ELK MOUND – The Elk Mound School Board approved an additional day off for students during its March 15 meeting. District Administrator Eric Wright recommended the move citing the fact that students in the district would still be exceeding the number of state-mandated instruction hours with the additional vacation day. The new vacation day will be April 5, 2021. Wright indicated this date matched well with an existing vacation day on the calendar, stating students also have Friday, April 2 off. This means an extended long weekend over the Easter holiday.
Earlier in the meeting, the Board approved Wright’s appearance at the meeting via Zoom. After Wright’s attendance via computer received approval he launched into his monthly report, this included the information that the district is looking good financially as it approaches the end of the academic year. Board member Kyle Jenson commented, “I think everybody’s earned a break,” about adding the vacation day.
Next, Wright explained the necessity for extra school speech and language pathology staff for the 2021 – 2022 school year to meet student needs. He projected there are 68 students in need of speech and language services, and the need for such services seems to increase by 10 students each year.
The Superintendent also reported that all three buildings completed safety drills, the Board approved his report, and also approved the resignation of two elementary school teachers, Becky Burcaw and Hailey Rabich, effective at the end of the academic year. Freshman volleyball coach, Katie Smith, also had her resignation approved.
Wright briefly summarized how the federal government’s recently passed COVID relief funds could potentially impact the district, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is creating a formula to assist with distributing ESSER II funds to districts in the state. ESSER stands for “Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief.” The funds are intended for use in mitigating the spread of the virus in schools according to a search on Google. According to Wright, the DPI formula will likely give preference to districts maintaining in-person learning. Wright explained there are no hard and fast numbers available regarding these funds.
Elementary principal Eric Hansen said he and his staff have been working to keep the students positive, and provide some fun like a regular school year. He indicated there will still be a student talent show this year; only, students have been asked to record their talents at home, and forward the recordings to school where they will be collated into one show which the entire school will watch.
According to high school principal Paul Kling, there will be a theater production in April. Students will be presenting “The Sherlock Holmes Radio Show,” which will be live-streamed on the district website.
The Board also learned there is a plan to start digging for the referendum projects on April 1, Wright could not say for certain if there would be a groundbreaking ceremony that day.
Next, the Board moved to closed session to discuss hiring a new freshman volleyball coach prior to adjourning the meeting. The Board approved Mackenzie Brantner as the new freshman volleyball coach, contingent upon there being enough players for a team.
The Elk Mound Board of Education will hold its next meeting at 6:45 p.m. on April 26.