OW Board Wrap – April 2021

OW Board Wrap – April 2021

4 min.
April 20, 2021

The Board Wrap is a wrap up of the items discussed at the regular monthly meetings of the School Board of the School District of Owen-Withee. It is not meant to be “official minutes” of the meetings, but rather a source of information for interested parties.

Jr. Prom Presentation

The five class officers for the Class of 2022 were on hand to present to the Board their request to hold a Junior Prom on Saturday, May 1. The group had specific details (who, what, when where and even how) they will run their prom. The Board had several questions and the officers answered them. Action on their request was taken later in the meeting.

Old Business

School Board Election Results

Results of the 2021 Spring Election were disseminated and discussed. Angela Greschner, Paul Heggemeier were re-elected to the Board. Todd Nelson will be a newcomer and will be seated on the Board at the May 10th meeting.

Building Project Update

Bob Houts shared a drawing of the dome portion of the building project with the Board that was used in the sub-committee discussions on March 29. Some changes to that plan were made at those March 29th meetings. New drawings will be presented at the next meetings on Monday, April 19 and finer details like outlet location, audio/data connection locations and other finer details will be discussed. LHB Architects and Market and Johnson will be at the May 10th meeting to present the final plan to the Board.

Review/Revise COVID-19 Plan

Administration asked that the Board revise the COVID- 19 plan to eliminate the need for screening of staff/students/visitors as they enter the building. While effective early in the school year, the process is less so now. The Board approved that change on a 7-0 voice vote. The Board then took up the issue of masks in school. A motion to continue the mask mandate, as is, through May 3 after which a parental excuse to not wear a mask would be accepted failed due to a lack of a second. A motion was made and seconded to continue the current mask mandate through the end of the school year passed on a 6-1 vote.

New Business

After a bit, more discussion the Board approved the request to have a prom on May 1.  Two changes from what the Junior Class officers presented included: allowing four adults to attend the grand March to take photos and allowing the sophomore class to attend the prom. 

The request was approved on a 7-0 vote approve resignation of Margery Monaghan-Wittenberg, Special Education. The Board unanimously approved the resignation and thanked Mrs. Monaghan-Wittenberg for her service to the District.

Approve retirement of Sara Thorson, District Secretary. The Board unanimously approved the retirement request from Mrs. Thorson and thanked her for her 33 years of service to the District.

Approve hire of Jona Hatlestad for Middle School Track. The Board unanimously approved the hire of Jona Hatlestad as Middle School Track coach to work with Mr. Eichstadt.

Discuss/Approve COVID-19 Recovery Hires 

Administration requested to hire two additional teachers to help students who have fallen behind during the COVID-19 pandemic and to increase the time of Deb Delyea, Director of Pupil Services from three to four days per week. Teachers will be used for class size reduction and remediation/intervention for the next two years.  This additional staffing will be paid for out of federal ESSER funds. The Board unanimously approved the request.

More New Hires

Approve hire of Jayci Blume for Physical Education/Health. The Board unanimously approved the hire of Jayci Blume as a Physical Ed./Health teacher. Ms. Blume will be mainly teaching in the MS/HS.

Approve hire of Katherine Olejnichak for MS/HS Science. The Board unanimously approved the hire of Katherine Olejnichak to teach science classes in the MS/HS. Mrs. Olejnichak previously taught here in the district and has spent the past six years teaching in the Gilman School District.

Approve hire of Brandy Pecha in Special Education. The Board unanimously approved the hire of Brandy to teach Special Ed. in the high school.

Administrative Requests

Administration has requested approval for a technology purchase to replace the current student laptops. 100 – 14” laptops for the juniors and seniors will be purchased and 250 - 11” machines will be purchased for grades 5-10. ESSER funds will be used to cover the $205,000 cost. The request was unanimously approved.

Administration requested that the District continue to offer secondary accident insurance to cover our students and athletes. The insurance from Student Assurance Services, Inc. covers all school sponsored activities. The cost of the insurance, $10,050 will remain the same as this year. The Board unanimously approved this request.

Administration requested that we list ADM (American Deposit Management) as a depository for the District. This will mean that ADM will take the funds that District currently has for the building project and spread it around to several banks to reduce our risk and utilize FDIC insurance. They will invest the funds in CDs and Money Market accounts so that we can draw interest on the funds. The Board unanimously approved this request.

Spring Academic/Athletic Eligibility

Discuss/Approve Revision of Academic/Athletic Eligibility for Spring of 2021 – Mr. Cihlar pointed out a slight flaw in our athletic code due to the delay of the spring seasons by the WIAA. Administration requested that the 15-day ineligibility period start at the time grades were posted and that athletes who failed a 3rd quarter class be required to show they are passing ALL their classes before eligibility is restored. This request is for the 2021 spring season ONLY.  The Board unanimously approved the request.

Spring Recognition Dinner Plans 

Mr. Houts notified that the traditional staff recognition dinner, typically held the first Wednesday in May in association with National Education Week, will not be held this year. Instead, a recognition luncheon will be held on the last day of school.


Mr. Cihlar highlighted several ideas for graduation and the final weeks for seniors. The Board unanimously approved having the ceremony on Saturday, May 22 at 10 a.m. outside if appropriate (in the gym if not). Each graduate will be allowed to invite a maximum of six guests. The Board also unanimously approved holding the Senior Banquet on Wednesday, May 19th at 6:00 p.m. Seniors will be allowed to invite two guests if parents are married and four if they are not. The banquet will be for adults only, students or siblings. Seniors will do a class trip on Friday, May 7. The trip must stay within District Boundaries and must be approved by administration in advance.

Administrators’ Reports


Mrs. Van Ark reported on and thanked Nazareth Church for the tremendous gifts provided for students and staff. The gifts are always a big hit and much appreciated. The Scholastic Book Fair wrapped up last week with a much better response than we had last fall. Thanks to the Woodgrove Workers 4H group for donating $300 for the purchase of books for kids. Also, thanks to Mrs. Nelson and all the teachers who helped make the fair a success. The elementary school will be utilizing Bridging Brighter Smiles to provide basic dental services next. Summer School packets will be sent home this week. We will be using the Colby pool this year for swim lessons. We are also trying to develop a Summer Recreation program for afternoons.


Mr. Cihlar reported on spring sports including that we have 12 kids out for track, 11 for softball, 17 for baseball, six for golf and 26 out for MS track. He also reviewed the prom and graduation plans for May.


Mr. Houts reported to the Board that the Legislative Fiscal Bureau has come out with the numbers for what the District has and will receive in ESSER funds – (ESSER I - $198,291, GEER I - $733,333, ESSER II - $792,437, ESSER III $1,779,596) for a total of $2,843,657 which comes out to $5863 per student. Finally, he thanked Dr. Julie Wendler for her 11 years of service and leadership to the Board. Her presence will be missed.

Executive Session as Per 19.85 (F – Personnel Matter) 

An administrative employment status was discussed, but no action was taken.

The next School Board Meeting will be held on Monday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the Cafeteria.

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