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December 4, 2020

11/13/2020 1:47:00 PM
Winter sports get to start on time in Dodgeville School District

Winter sports for Dodgeville athletes got the go-ahead Monday, at least for awhile.
The school board heard from Athletic Director Joey Martin and District Administrator Paul Weber who gave their reports prior to the board taking action.
Weber told the board that COVID has been on the rise in the county, and he has been receiving frequent updates from the Iowa County Health Department. The most recent report recommends that close contact sports not be held until at least early December. He said it is up to the board to decide which course to take.
Martin handled the next part and told the board he feels the district can follow WIAA timelines and start practice next week. The WIAA allows girls basketball practice and gymnasics to begin next Monday with boys basketball and wrestling the Monday after that.
When questioned about problems that came about as the fall sports season wound down and how that might play into winter sports, Martin said he had a plan.
"I will be much more involved with overseeing the programs making sure the procedures are followed," Martin said. "The coaches are on board with masking, screening and will do whatever it takes to have their seasons."
Martin also said he feels the coaches will be more involved with youth programs asking to use the gymnasiums. He also said only 20% of students take part in winter athletics which he feels is a manageable number to work with in terms of small groups and with the number of spectators at games.
"If practices cannot start on time, we are taking opportunities away from the students," Martin added.
"I will be on top of things," he pledged.
Board president Mike Humke said he wants to make sure that the education programs can continue.
"That is my top priority," he said. "I am as much in favor of athletics as anyone but these are difficult times. This is a difficult call."
Board member Jessica Wieczorek mentioned that with number of cases on the rise comes the problem of overburdening hospitals.
"Our ICU beds are at 85% occupancy right now," she said. "I would be hard pressed not to follow Health Department guidelines."
Board member Mike Knoedler added that he feels the board needs to look further into winter activities which also include the drama program. He asked for a special meeting Tuesday, November 24 to assess how things are proceeding and to make a final determination of who and how many can attend games as spectators. He said the school is currently in virtual mode and November 24 would be a good time to revisit.
The board approved starting practices per WIAA and agreed to meet November 24.
In other business the board heard an update on how virtual parent teacher conferences have been going. Those who have held them said they would not be surprised if parents would like to see the conferences continue to be held virtually. It was noted holding them virtually seems to work out better for split families, with child care and with work schedules.
District Learning Coordinator Jacque Goetzke updated the board on testing. She noted the difficulties without having face to face or blended contact but she is hopeful of the end result. She added the results should provide data on how much the pandemic has put students behind.
The board learned that teacher Tom Butusov and Jared Schaaf are close to completing the non-traditional degree certification through CESA. One requirement of the non-traditional degree is the recipient must stay with the district for three years.
In a finance committee report David Blume said there is $10,000 left in the building referendum account and that a big check will be written soon with the funding coming from donations. That will complete the project, according to Blume.
He also said the committee is looking at the budget numbers and will see if there are funds available for both staff and administration raises.
As for COVID expenses, Blume said that there has been about $160,000 spent so far which has come from ARES and FEMA funds, some of which he hopes will be forgiven.
Blume also said the sale of the Ridgeway Elementary School building to the village is close to finished with closing set for early January.
Weber presented the board with an organizational chart that establishes the chain of command for district staff. He said the chart is designed for a non-covid year but should work at present.
The board learned that Julie Tredennick, an aide, is requesting retirement now and that Scott Storkson is planning retirement at the end of the school year. Storkson has been a teacher at the middle school for 31 years and Humke noted he has been a very respected staff member by the board, community and students.

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