Herald JournalHerald Journal, June 27, 2005

HLWW tweaks plans for fall ballot

By Lynda Jensen

A building bond for the fall ballot seemed closer than ever as the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school board moved forward with a recommendation from the facility committee.

The recommendation includes:

• a new high school for approximately 500 students,

• additions and remodeling at Humphrey and Winsted Elementary Schools to be able to house approximately 320 students at each school, and

• the middle school would remain where it is with an allowance for deferred maintenance.

The estimated cost of these facility projects, including a $3 million estimate for land purchase/utilities is $22.4 million.

This includes construction of a bus garage for $640,000 and new athletic fields for $1,200,000.

This would make the total approximately $24.2 million, which on a 20-year bond for a $100,000 home, would be $262 and on a 25-year bond, $243.48.

Possible future phases could include an addition at the high school for the middle school and demolition, additions and remodeling to convert Howard Lake building to an elementary school.

Board Member Tom Hammer noted that the quotes from the architect would be good until January and not October.

The issue of furniture expenses and operating expenses was also discussed, and Superintendent George Ladd noted that an approximate half million dollars would be needed for furniture expenses and another half million for operating expenses, which includes such expenses as heating, garbage, and custodial needs.

Ladd noted that a separate capital projects levy vote could be done on the election to include such expenses as furniture and technology.

“This capital projects levy would be something like an operating levy and could be in shorter or longer terms than the building bond terms, but could make the ballot more confusing,” Ladd said.

Board Member Al Doering agreed that it would make the ballot more confusing to have a separate vote for it, and that in the future a possible technology levy could be attempted since keeping up with technology is always a district need.

With the help of the architects, SGN, Ladd will prepare a written draft with possible staffing that may need to be hired for a new facility, including food service, custodial, buildings and grounds, bussing, and the estimated cost of these positions and services.

Looking at land

The land committee consisting of Ladd and Board Members Lori Custer, Charlie Borrell, and Charles Weber met to continue to look at the land options available for a new school building.

Custer noted that the committee is looking at the $3 million figure for land and utilities and have multiple sites they are looking at.

“We have to have the land wrapped up in the next month or so in case the price of the land would be higher than the $3 million,” Doering said.

Ladd noted that the goal would be to have the information to the board at the July work session but the committee is not sure if they will be able to do it by that time.

Borrell noted that something regarding the land options could materialize quickly as well.

Gerdes’ resignation

The board accepted the resignation of Elementary Principal Becky Gerdes, effective June 20, who has taken a principal position in the Rochester school district. Weber abstained from voting.

Gerdes initially requested a leave of absence, noting that she requesting a leave because there may be a staff member at HLWW who is retiring next year, whose position she is qualified for and in case her family cannot relocate to the Rochester area.

The board chose not to make a motion on this, with Doering noting it would not set a good precedence if the leave was granted because Gerdes has only been the elementary principal at HLWW for one year and is taking a similar position in a different district. He added his appreciation for her work done as elementary principal at HLWW, noting that she has done a good job.

Hammer agreed, noting that Gerdes has done a good job, but feels that her request for a leave of absence is not what the leave of absence process is intended for.

Ladd noted that of 48 candidates for the elementary principal position, it has been narrowed down to 11.

The interview team consisting of Ladd, Board Members John Lideen and Dan Schaible and some teachers, parents, and administrators will be interviewing six of the candidates Tuesday, June 28.

Breakfast next school year

The board unanimously approved the food service breakfast program, which includes reimbursable meals at the elementary sites and ala carte, self-serve items at the middle school and high school site.

Breakfast at the elementary sites would cost $1, unless qualify for free/reduced meal.

Food Service Director Michelle Johnson noted that breakfast would probably be served from 7:40 a.m. to 8:10 a.m.

State and federal guidelines state that schools must go back two years to determine if a school needs to offer breakfast. If a district served greater than 33 percent free and reduced lunches, breakfast must be served at that site.

Johnson noted that during the 2002-03 school year, the district did serve greater than 33 percent free and reduced lunches at Winsted Elementary School, but recommended serving breakfasts at all sites since it will be served at one site.

JOBZ acreage transfer

Winsted City Administrator Brent Mareck attended the meeting to ask the board to approve the transfer of 1.06 acres currently with the JOBZ designation transferred to Millerbernd Design and Fabrication, 1.06 acres to Millerbernd Manufacturing and 3.52 acres to Five Star Holding, LLC.

After much discussion by the board regarding the propriety of transferring the acreage to exiting businesses rather than reserving them for new businesses, the board unanimously approved the transfer.

Odds and ends

In other matters, the board:

• approved the superintendent contract.

• gave directive to the negotiations committee to use the school’s attorneys to assist in negotiations, and if the cost to use their services could go beyond normal budget costs, the committee will come to the board with information.

• accepted the resignation of Britta Barth as high school yearbook adviser, Emily Ryherd as .5 elementary instructor, Laura Smallbrock as early childhood special education teacher, and Shirley Olson as collaborative coordinator.

• approved the hiring of Jennifer Brandt as the language arts teacher at the middle school at BA step 2, Amanda Cacka as .5 English Teacher at the high school at BA step 0, Cassie Danielson as special education instructor at Winsted Elementary at BA step 0, and Daina Penny as special education instructor at Humphrey Elementary at BA step 1.

• approved the middle school handbook changes.

• approved the LEA grant, the No Child Left Behind consolidated application for Elementary and Secondary Act, which is for the Title I program (teacher and paraprofessional) which provides assistance to students at risk; Title II - professional development; Title III - technology; Title IV – library, and Title V – gifted and talented program. The grant was completed by HLWW Title I instructor Robin Day and Gerdes.

• authorized calling for bakery, dairy, snowplowing, and waste removal bids.

• recognized this year’s athletes of the year: Brad Ogle and Hayley Whitcomb, scholar/athlete award: Nathan Clark and Zach Arvidson, Jostens leadership award: Samantha Painschab, Emily Horstmann, Clark Ostvig and Josh Remer, ExCel award: Steve Bobrowske and Anna Merritt, distinguished athlete award: Trent Zachmann and Amber Cardinal, Triple A Award: Nathan Clark and Chelsea Streich.

• recognized the girls’ state track competitors: Jolene Smith, who took third place in the 800 individual race and competed in the 4 x 800 relay with Anna Merritt, Brittany Drew and Natalie Smith.

• recognized Dick Sonstegard for being named Region 5AA Coach of the year in boys’ track.

• High School Principal Mike Day noted that the fall musical will be Oklahoma.

• Middle School Principal Dean Wessman noted that psychology and horticulture will be two new classes added this next school year at the middle school.

• heard from Gerdes, who noted that there was some restructuring of classrooms at Winsted Elementary for next school year. There will be a primary wing including kindergarten, first grade, and music and the temporary will house the second, third, fourth, fifth, special education classrooms and the computer lab.

Gerdes also noted that as of Friday, June 17, there are 15 students each in the a.m. and p.m. kindergarten classes at Humphrey Elementary and 17 students in the p.m. class and 21 students in the full-day class at Winsted Elementary.

Gerdes said that they do not want to go beyond this number for a full-day program because it is a new program.

She also said next year the first through fifth grades will have a parallel block reading schedule, with 50 minutes of basal reading time, and another 50 minutes of reading time, broken down into ability groups where students will be reading books at their levels.

• heard from Ladd who said that the legislature is at a deadlock and districts may not receive their money for a couple of months because of it, and statewide 1,000 teachers may be laid off because of the stalemate.

• heard from Ladd, who also noted that currently 18 HLWW high school students are signed up for the newly offered cosmetology course this fall at Wright Tech.

• approved the sale of general aid obligation aid anticipation not to exceed $1.6 million.

The school district will use aid anticipated borrowing to help make it through next year in anticipation of the operating levy monies for the following year.

Ladd noted that it is good the district will have the borrowing in place because of the legislative shut down as well.

Next meeting dates:

Work session: July 5, High School media center, 7 p.m.

Special school board meeting with the facility community committee and the architect, July 6, High School, 7 p.m.

Regular school board meeting: July 18, High School media center, 7 p.m.

Joint meeting July 6

The board set up a joint meeting Wednesday, July 6 at 7 p.m. at the high school in Howard Lake, during which architect Gary Nyberg will give more details about the costs and plans for facilities.
Both the board and facility community committee will be present.

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