By Jennifer Gallus
The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Board was treated to an update from the drama club pertaining to its yearlong activities during Tuesday’s board meeting.
Drama Department Director Belinda Larson gave the board an overview of the drama club’s goals and accomplishments, and four drama club members, Karl Schliep, Eric Arlien, Erick Carlsted, and Kacie Carlsted, took turns explaining the past year’s activities while a slide show played.
The students have done some work with the Dassel-Cokato drama club and said they’ve developed some very strong friendships with those students that they value.
The drama club also talked about its upcoming production, which is a dinner, murder/mystery titled “Three Doors to Death.” It will take place Saturday, March 8 at the new HLWW High School Auditorium.
A catered dinner will be served at 6 p.m. and the show will be at 7:30 p.m. Dinner theater tickets must be purchased in advance by Monday, March 3 and cost $20. Tickets for only the show can be bought at the door and cost $6.
Bids were sought for caterers in the surrounding three towns, and Bergie’s in Howard Lake was the lowest bidder. They will serve a chicken dinner at the event, which is a fundraiser for the drama club and for Laker Pride.
In not-as-pleasant business, the board talked about more potential budget cuts. Several cuts were brought to the table at last month’s meeting, and this month’s discussion resulted in the decision to move the fifth grade to Howard Lake.
This would reduce the fifth grade to two sections, would alleviate some shuttles from Winsted to Humphrey and vice-versa, and allow for better scheduling of music, physical education, and special education.
A district-wide reduction in teaching positions will eliminate 4.3 to 4.8 full-time equivalent positions. Specific names of teachers have not been made known as of this time, but those announcements will likely take place soon.
“It’s possible that if the levy were to pass in April, that a fraction, up to 1 FTE (full-time equivalent), could be retained, but we’re not sure at this time,” said Board Member Al Doering.
“We’ll all go through a grieving procedure,” when the staff reductions are announced, District Supt. George Ladd said.
“As we all know, it’s not something we want to do,” Board Chair Dan Schaible said.
In happier news, High School Principal Mike Day reported that the first day of school at the new high school went fairly well.
Day said the kids were all smiles upon arriving that morning, and they were treated to rolls and juice as they entered. As the students left that afternoon, Day said they seemed to have a calm about them, as if the fact that this was now their school had settled in.
Day couldn’t express enough gratitude for the help that the community, staff, and students gave over the course of the move to the new school. In particular, Day recognized Tom Hammer, Katie Hammer, Chris Kittock, K-Way Trucking of Winsted, Littfin, Joe Remer with Five Star Trucking, and Dean Wessman.
Consequently, Middle School Principal Brad Sellner reported how quiet the middle school was that first day without the high schoolers in the building.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• approved the resignation of elementary teacher Jennifer Brandt.
• approved a leave of absence request for Kathleen Diedrick.
• approved the hire of James (Joe) Kitts as lead custodian for the Howard Lake site.
• approved a contract with School Management Systems to manage health benefits for the district at an initial cost of $5,000 with $10,000 due in six months, but only to be paid if the company indeed saves the district money.
The company said it can, “Reduce overall plan costs by $96,000 per year, and district costs by $44,000 per year.”
• appointed election judges for the Tuesday, April 8 school district special election as Rosemary Stifter, Ron Miller, Tom Main, Geraldine Smith, Adrian Duske, Mary Johnson, Gene Gilbert, Jessie Salonek, Doris Schendel, Karen Schoen, Bernie Libor, Karen Oestreich, Glee Main, and Gloria Janikula.
Substitutes, as needed, will be Amy Carlson, Marilyn Greeley, Pam Hinde, Mary Robinson, Stacy Horsch, and Julie Stifter.