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June 19, 2021

5/19/2021 9:32:00 AM
Masks will remain in place in Highland districtv

Mask requirements will remain for the rest of the school year the Highland School Board decided last Wednesday.
A parent addressed the board during public comment, voicing the opinion that with the state mask mandate lifted the requirement should be revised. He said wearing a mask should be left up to choice.
Board members agreed there are reasons for and against the mask requirement but noted that with the students back to school for the most part erring on the side of caution is the best bet moving toward the end of the school year.
Principal Josh Tarrell told the board students are doing well with both masking and social distancing, even though some students have desks in the hallways to assure the six feet distance. He said both staff and students are functioning well with the requirements.
Also, the Iowa County Health Department strongly suggests masking continue until everyone possible is vaccinated.
The board will have the masking requirement continue with hopes it can be relaxed soon.
Teachers, support staff and non-union administrative and support staff will receive a 2% salary bump with some teaching staff who are able to change lanes seeing higher total dollars.
The board approved two new staff members. They offered contracts to Christa Dilley, a Monticello native, who will teach first grade/elementary an Becky Pink who joins the music department. Pink was formerly a long term sub at Mineral Point.
Volunteer baseball coaches will include Trevor Siegenthaler, Grant Hying and TJ Cool. Siegenthaler did some practice teaching at Highland first semester while Hying and Cool are former players who are making time in their college schedules to help out.
The board heard a buildings and grounds report that cited the need for some roof repair that would stave off problems until a referendum can take place that would fund a full replacement.
After discussion the board approved spending up to $16,000 for repairs.
In his principal's report Tarrell told the board the students are halfway through state testing and he is not pleased with the Department of Public Instructions's decision to proceed with it duing the pandemic.
He added that students not doing well have shown an increase this quarter and a recovery plan is being developed to help students both advance to the next grade and graduate.
Tarrell added there have been two new students attending in the last week, a third grader and a sophomore.
He updated the board on staff vaccinations with all who wanted one able to obtain it. He added that those 16 and older can now receive vaccinations.
Tarrell also discussed the athletic awards banquets that have been held and recounted the athletic success from various individuals and teams.
Along with athletics Tarrell asked the board to being a study of the future of 11 man football in a stand alone school situation as enrollment will take a drop in a few years. He also said boys and girls basketball could be affected with only enough players for one squad (no jv). He said the board needs to study such things as co-ops in all sports or possibly 8-man when it comes to football.
Future events include the NFHS banquet April 26, the FFA banquet, spring concert and prom.
Superintendent Bryce Bird gave revenue projections as he sees them with the uncertainty with the legislature and DPI. He said there could be some revenue left at the end of the year for projects or for the fund balance.
Currently revenues are down from not charging at sporting events and health insurance will be increasing in cost.
"There are a lot of unknowns," Bird said.
The board came to an agreement with WARCO transportation for 80% of full funding for 20 days the buses did not run due to COVID concerns/virtual school.
In other business the board:
-approved the 2021-22 SWEEP agreement for $100 which allows districts to use rarely used equipment when need arises.
-entered into a three year agreement with Upland Hills Health for therapy services and athletic trainer services.
-approved waiving the requirement to serve milk every day Under the Wisconsin School Day Milk Program while there are virtual days.
-approved the first reading of a policy dealing with head lice and discussed further policy development.
-Greg Biba had his last meeting as a board member as he did not seek re-election. He discussed his years on the board and thanked eveyone for their dedicated service. In return the board and administration thanked him.

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