Herald Journal Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, April 22, 2002

HLWW board to seek public opinions on new high school issue

By Lynda Jensen

Planning the next move for a potential high school took center stage Monday at the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school board meeting.

Board members decided to take the issue to the people ­ to actively seek out town boards, councils and other organizations' opinions.

"Not our ideas ­ we want the community's ideas. We want the feeling of the district," Chairman Jim Raymond said.

It was decided to abandon the idea of another survey. "Surveys can be so slanted, one way or the other," commented Board Member Charles Weber.

The exact method of doing this will be planned by the buildings and grounds committee, which is composed of board members Ken Zimmerman, John Lideen, and Raymond.

The committee is also supposed to hash out different ideas held by each board member about exactly how to improve the school facilities, including whether the school should add or remodel, Lideen noted.

Board member Charlie Borrell noted that one of the existing school buildings has to close if a new high school is built.

Borrell also questioned the idea of discussing important issues in a committee, when other board members are left out of the decision making.

Raymond pointed out that other board members trust Borrell with his reports when he serves on other committees.

Lideen offered to take detailed notes.

The board discussed how a board member could possibly attend a committee meeting without giving input, observing the process.

The committee will also ensure that the message will be the consistent to all the different organizations.

The building and grounds committee is already interviewing four architect firms to handle the issue.

"We're in a little bit of a rush and hurry to choose," Lideen commented. The board should investigate the matter in further detail, he said.

Board hires Ladd

With little fanfare, the board hired George Ladd as its new superintendent.

Ladd is currently the superintendent of McLeod West. He will start at HLWW July 1, if he accepts the position.

The process used to select Ladd was added to the procedure manual for future hirings, as a guideline.

The process worked extremely well, Lideen commented.

Dismay over parking lot comments

Supt. Riley Hoheisel also expressed dismay over the parking lot issue discussed by the Howard Lake City Council, reported in a recent Herald story.

Hoheisel indicated that he nearly dropped the newspaper when he read it, since it implied the school was less than helpful with problems associated with the school parking lot, according to Howard Lake Council Member John Swanson, who lives in the immediate vicinity of the parking lot.

"I personally have been involved, talking with the resident spokesperson on several different times and took notes," Hoheisel said. "We brain stormed at length."

"I made a very good effort," he said. He followed through with everything that he could do, Hoheisel said.

Coaches and other staff members have cautioned students to keep the noise level down, but the noise can be associated with events, such as the state tournament, and the season, Hoheisel said.

Hoheisel noted that the last contact with the spokesman was Oct. 30.

The school does patrol the parking lot, Hoheisel said, but cannot afford to post someone there all the time to give total surveillance.

Test with no purpose

Turning its attention to other subjects, the board heard a report from Curriculum Coordinator Dean Wessman.

Wessman also passed out a sample state math test for 11th graders that is part of the Profile of Learning requirements, and is new this year.

Many school districts were questioning the purpose of the test, since it does not count toward graduation standards, Wessman said. The students do not need to pass the test.

In addition, the results are returned to the school in October, which is too late to make use of, he said.

To compound the problem, the test contains subjects that many juniors haven't had the chance to take yet, such as calculus, he said.

Many districts are expecting not to do well as the result, he said.

HLWW was above the state average on six out of eight statewide tests for 2001.

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