by Bob Houts
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.
Presentation – Troy Miller – LHB Architects – Building Project – Troy Miller and Jason Plante from Market and Johnson gave the Board an update on the progress of the planning for the dome and the ag/tech expansion. Sub-committees met all day on Monday to finalize input on the different areas of the project. The Building Oversight committee met Monday evening to discuss budget issues and to prioritize things that could be cut and things that must stay in the projects. Afterward Troy and Jason met with the Board to bring them all up to speed. Sub-committees will meet again in the next couple of weeks to review changes and plans will got to Market and Johnson by April 14th for budget revisions. Bidding is planned for May-June with the project to start in July.
Review/Revise COVID-19 Plan – The Board reviewed the COVID-19 plan and made the following changes: We will return to face-to-face instruction 5 days per week starting March 26th (the first Friday of the 4th quarter). Elementary will go 5 days per week while the MS/HS will be 5 days per week except they will be virtual on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of April and May.
Graduation – the Board approved moving forward with graduation for the Class of 2021 as scheduled on Saturday, May 22 at 10 AM. Planning will include masks and social distancing guidelines. More than likely this will not be a public event, with graduates limited to something like 4 tickets each. Prom the Board directed Mr. Cihlar to work with the junior class on a plan for prom. That plan will be presented to the Board for POSSIBLE approval.
Discuss/Approve retirement of Mary Meyer – The Board reluctantly approved the retirement of Mrs. Meyer, effective the end of the school year. The Board thanks her for her service to the District.
Discuss/Approve Hire of Matt Bottlemy – JV Softball Coach – The board unanimously approved hiring Matt Bottlemy to be the JV softball coach.
Discuss/Approve hire of Hailey Kadolph – Athletic Director – The Board unanimously approved the hire of Hailey Kadolph as athletic director. Questions were raised about the release time and was it enough to do the job. An extra hour of time will looked into, but because of Ms. Kadolph’s schedule that may be very difficult.
Discuss/Approve Wrestling Coop with Thorp/Gilman – It was reported to the Board that Stanley-Boyd had notified the District they were not looking to renew the coop agreement for next season. The Board unanimously approved entering into an agreement with Thorp who will host the coop team. Gilman is a possible third team in the coop.
CPI Increase/Negotiations – Bob Houts notified the Board that the CPI increase, as set by the WERC, for base wage for our contracts is 1.23%. The Board discussed further in Executive Session at the end of the meeting.
Review Policy 420 – Rule 2 – The Board reviewed Policy 420 – Rule 2 which deals with Enrolling and Placement of Homeless Children and Youth. This is a policy that we should review on an annual basis. Not changes were proposed to the policy.
COVID Clinic Report – Bob Houts reported that the staff went to the Curtiss drive-thru vaccine clinic on March 4th. Over 50 staff members participated, including bus drivers. The 2nd dose of the vaccine will be administered on April 8th in Greenwood. WE have to go from 2:30 PM-3:30 PM, so the Board approved an early release day on 4/8. We will release at 2:00 PM. The Board also approved a virtual day, district-wide, for 4/9 in case teachers have a negative reaction to the 2nd dose.
Elementary – Mrs. Van Ark reported on the Elementary staff doing an inservice with Dr. Eric Hartwig on the BEST (Behavior Emotional Social Traits) program that we have been a part of for several years. March 11th will see us participate in a “Fill the Boot” fund raiser for an injured Cornell firefighter. Music, art and library have transistioned back into their own spaces, rather than moving from classroom to classroom. Finally, congratulations to Mrs. Lisa Westaby who has been selected as a Kohl Fellowship winner this year.
MS/HS – Mr. Cihlar reported that Ray Nelson and Alexis Nernberger have been selected to represent Owen-Withee at the Cloverbelt Scholar Banquet to be held virtually on Wednesday, April 14th. Aaron Ovyn and Alexis Nernberger are recipients of both the WIAA and Cloverbelt/Scholar Athlete awards. Junior took the ACT test on Tuesday, March 9.
District – Mr. Houts reported that the FEMA grant project has moved on to the final phase of review and will hopefully be approved by the end of March. We locked in our bond rate for the 20-year bonds for the building project last week. The rate we will pay is 2.05%. Finally, he congratulated the Board on the leadership they have shown and the tough decisions they have had to make this year related to the COVID-19 situation. We have done very good work in reducing the impact of COVID-19 in the District and cautioned them about moving too early to “get back to normal.”
The next School Board meeting will be on Monday, April 12 at 7:00 PM in the Cafeteria.
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