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May 26, 2019

5/1/2019 8:46:00 AM
Iowa-Grant School Board further discusses staffing options for 2019-20, approves interventionists
Staffing options were a topic of discussion again at the Iowa-Grant School Board meeting on Monday, April 22. The board previously approved setting staff numbers at grade levels with all grades 4K through 8th having three sections, except that 4th grade would have four sections. Iowa-Grant Superintendent Stephanie Hubbard laid out two options for the board members:
• With option 1, The 0.2 principal goes to tech integration and a 0.2 Dean of Students is added. A PE assistant will be requested for IGEMS.
• Option 2 keeps the IGEMS principals the same with no tech integration or Dean of Students.
With both options, A PE assistant will be requested for IGEMS. With the high school PE position open and IGEMS giving them back the shared PE position, there is the flexibility to hire the PE/health/athletic director at high school resulting in most students at IGEMS having PE four days per week if the assistant is hired. The number of interventionists will be increasing from 2 to 4.5 covering grades 4K-10th. A middle school math teacher will be added along with hiring a high school PE/health/athletic director position, high school agriculture, and IGEMS special education teacher.
Hubbard also noted that the numbers in 1st grade are a bit on the high side for three sections (17-18 students), so administration will be watching these throughout the summer to make sure that three sections will be appropriate. If the numbers are higher than 17-18, another section may be added.
Moreover, Hubbard looked into potentially hiring a full-time Dean of Students as requested by Board Member Greg Anderson, but she "couldn't in good conscience recommend hiring one" as it would be too costly - the average teacher makes about $75,000 in salary and benefits at Iowa-Grant Schools. The state budget is also too unsure, but she is not ruling it out in the future.
Board Member Fred DiVall asked administration how the teachers feel about the potential changes. Iowa-Grant Principal Robyn Oberfoell explained that the majority as just happy to know there are going to be changes and what the planned changes are. There are a couple on the bubble who might potentially be switching grade levels that aren't thrilled with moving. More about this topic was discussed in closed session, and after getting out of closed session, a motion was made to approve 4.5 interventionists covering grades 4K-10, adding a middle school math teacher and a 0.2 FTE increase for speech and IEP needs (to be covered by CESA #3).
The board approved IGHS serving as a host school in the 2019-20 school year for a Costa Rican exchange program. Jacqueline Rolli was present to discuss the program and explained that this schedule allows students to practice Spanish in the safety of their home and really is about building relationships - community members can experience hosting a child without the long-term commitment of a full school year. The program that Rolli wants to use is led by Dustin Dresser. As the exchange was approved, a memorandum of understanding and invitation letter will be sent to exchange students so that they can solicit travel visas over the summer to come to Wisconsin. September and October are when Iowa-Grant will begin recruiting for host families. In November, the itinerary is set and meetings are held with host families to go over them. information will also be available for the return summer exchange where Iowa-Grant students can visit Costa Rica. Finally, the Costa Rican students arrive in Wisconsin in mid to late January, staying a total of around 10 days.
The average size group of students coming over to The United States is 8-12. Three requirements must be met to be a host family: a private room (it can be shared between more than one exchange student), Wi-Fi, and transportation to school. More information about the exchange program will be released in the upcoming weeks.
The building and grounds committee met at 5:30 p.m., right before this meeting, when they went over flooring and seating options for the high school gym which is being redone. Changes include moving the scorer's table and coaches/athletes to the floor. The redesign knocks down the capacity from 900 to 826, but the gym wasn't really getting the 900 capacity as the first row was being taken up by coaches/athletes. The bleachers will be seven rows of 24-inch high seats on one side and 10 rows of 22-inch seats on the other - below the bleachers will be blocked off so that there can be no traffic under there which has been a safety concern. The board unanimously accepted this redesign. Progress has been made on the floor restyle, but the committee is still working on it.
The board was informed about the change to the 6th grade Wyalusing program. Instead of being a 2.5 overnight trip, it has been switched to four one-day trips: one day to Mississippi River Museum, one day to Wyalusing, one day to Bethel Horizons, and one day back to Wyalusing to do "favorite" activities. Oberfoell explained that the overnight trip has ran its course and it has been hard to find volunteers willing to go on overnight trips. Board Member Rachel Zimmer was disappointed and frustrated that this was done without any discussion. She wants to know what caused the shift in the program. Board Member Kristin Spurley also was not pleased and stated "It's an institutional part of Iowa-Grant culture." A community survey will be going out and put in the May newsletter to gauge interest in the program and why there was a lack of volunteers last year.
In other business:
• The board elected officers for the 2019-20 year: President - Renee Linscheid; Vice-President - Don Rider; Clerk - Kristin Spurley; and Treasurer - Rachel Zimmer.
• Chad Vivian was sworn in as a new board member and will be serving on the negotiations/personnel committee and buildings, grounds, and transportation committee. Fred DiVall will be on the information and technology committee with Greg Anderson as the alternate. All other committee appointments will be the same as the previous year.
• Community First Bank - Livingston will remain the depository for the 2019-20 school year. According to board policy, every two years the accounts are moved to another bank in the district boundaries. On September 1, 2020, the accounts will be moved to Clare Bank - Montfort. A cash management authorization resolution was passed; it has to be approved every year and allows for the school to borrow money.
• The 2019-20 board meeting dates were approved; they are scheduled for the second Monday of every month with extra meetings in October and April.
• Donations from Community First Bank were approved - they are both from their school spirit debit card program where 5 cents from each purchase goes to the school. The first was for $281.20 and the second for $294.60.
• The 6th grade optional/supplementary Lake Superior trip for June 17-19 was accepted. This adventure is not mandatory, and any 6th grade student may go.
• The recommendation from the negotiations/personnel committee and leadership committee to plan on a step and 3.5 percent increase for staff was approved.
• The board issued contracts to all teachers from last year who didn't resign or retire.

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