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May 26, 2019

4/25/2019 9:47:00 AM
Highland Board of Education approves end-of-year trips for fifth graders, seniors
There was an unusually big crowd at the Highland Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, April 10; fourteen fifth grade students along with their parents and teacher, Lynn Michek, were requesting approval for the annual overnight trip to Bethel Horizons, near Dodgeville. The students gave a presentation about what they will do and learn from an outing to Bethel Horizons - answers included teamwork skills, environmental science, and more along with fun activities like rock climbing, stargazing, and going on a scavenger hunt. The excursion is slated for May 9-10, rain or shine (or snow!), and the trip is paid for by monies raised through fundraising efforts by the students throughout the year. The board unanimously approved the trip.
Also on the agenda was a request from the senior class to go to "Grad Night" at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL. The event runs from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Saturday, May 11 and is specifically for high school seniors. Cost of admission is $63/person with the class being able to pay $30/person from their funds - students would have to pay for the difference. Students are not allowed to leave the amusement park unless the entire class is ready as well, and two chaperones will be going. The senior class is requesting funds for a bus driver and bus. The board happily approved their request to cover the cost of transportation.
Anticipated end-of-year expenditures totaling $130,633 were passed including $50,400 for technology, $15,000 for instruction, and $65,233 for maintenance. Within these categories were specific items involving updating the business lab; a new, smartphone-friendly webpage; software licenses; fences for the softball/baseball fields; scoreboards; and an ADA-accessible walkway (the walkway will be 8-foot wide with carpet over crushed limestone that will be started after spring sports are over). There is money in the budget for these items.
A memorandum of agreement between Oregon Mental Health Services, LLC and the Highland School District was approved. Oregon Mental Health Services has an office in Dodgeville and also works with many local school districts on getting students access to needed mental health care. There is no cost to the district as everything is done through the parents' insurance - all the district provides is a space and internet access. Lyndsay Jackson is the appointed counselor and will be at the school on Fridays. In the memorandum to the school, it states that "Provider agrees to provide school-based counseling services for no charge for 10% of the caseload in the District for students without insurance coverage." Highland District Administrator Nancy Hendrickson elaborated further saying "their goal is to not turn students away even if they have no health insurance." Moreover, the counselor will be able to provide services during the summer if needed. "This will be a great thing for our kids," exclaimed Highland Principal Josh Tarrell.
Two additional personal days to be used by support staff for the numerous snow days that were had this year was passed by the board. Many support staff missed several days of work because of the abundant snow days this year and lost pay because of that. The two extra days gives support staff more wiggle room in that area. This change will be potentially added to the staff handbook for next year.
Curt James was recognized for his six years on the board - he chose not to run for re-election this year, and his seat remains open as nobody registered to run for it in the April election.
In other business:
• The lawn care bid from Pagel Services out of Stitzer was approved. Cost is a bit more than the previous lawn care service; however, they did not submit a bid.
• SWEEP 1 and SWEEP 2 intergovernmental cooperative agreements were passed - this just allows the district to co-op with other schools to save money and share equipment.
• The 2019-20 CESA #3 contract was approved. Services and cost will be staying the same as last year at $8,311.
• Superintendent Hendrickson briefly previewed next year's budget. She's hoping for a state aid increase as that's the indication from the government, but "you never know," she said. The big-ticket items that she knows about are already in the budget "There's a lot of moving parts; everything is very preliminary," she explained. "Things may change." Staffing will be maintained next year as it is this year. The estimated revenues for next year are $4,275,491 - a slight decrease of a little over $20,000 from the previous year due to grants not being offered next year (mostly the DOJ-sponsored safety grant).
• The next regularly scheduled Highland Board of Education meeting will be Wednesday, May 8 at 6 p.m.

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