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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Hires Principal, School Secretary To Retire

Peshtigo School District has hired Kelly Baudhuin as the new elementary principal. Her contract is effective July 1 of this year through June 30, 2015. Baudhuin’s contract was pro-rated to July 1, 2014, but she was not officially hired until after a closed session at the conclusion of the regular business at the monthly school board meeting on Wednesday, July 9. Vote was unanimous, with board members Vernon Rhode and Ken Jones absent.

She replaces Tammy Kielbasa, who resigned in June to accept a position as administrator for Washington Island School District. Baudhuin has been elementary principal in the Oconto School District.

Board members Steve Coble, Mike Fifarek, Tom Fischer, Gary Larsen and Julie Muenster interviewed elementary principal candidates for nearly three hours at a special closed meeting starting at 5 p.m. Monday, July 7. Board members absent from that meeting were Cory Hess, Ken Jones, Vern Rhode and Bob Thomas.

During the open portion of Wednesday’s regular meeting Larsen, who serves as board president, said he believed they were nearly ready to make a selection, and his prediction proved correct. They met in closed session after concluding regular business and returned to open session to make their decision official.

At the start of the meeting, with many expressions of regret, the board accepted the resignation of long-time administrative secretary Ruth Watson effective on June 30, 2015. She has been assistant to the board and the district administrator for many years, and has been a school employee since June 8, 1982.

Administrator Kim Eparvier thanked Watson for submitting her letter sufficiently in advance to allow him and the board to plan for a smooth transition.

The board approved Eparvier’s recommendation that all currently employed members of the support staff receive three percent raises for the coming school year. Board member Cory Hess abstained from voting.

Without dissent the board approved hiring Gwen Harron as library media specialist and technology coach, and approved resignations of Jennifer Hass as assistant varsity track coach and Dan Vanidestine as high school Student Council co-advisor.

Eparvier walked the board through a series of transfers between accounts in the 2013-2014 budget, which were all approved. The bottom line remained unchanged. Largest transfers were $269,000 into the Business Administration account, $11,000 into School Building Administration, and $50,000 into Central Services. Eparvier explained these were for attorney fees, extra board expenses, some capital equipment purchases, and some very high snow plowing costs during the past winter.

The $20,000 transferred into the vocational curriculum account was to cover purchase of some tech ed equipment.

Money transferred in came from areas where there was money left over in the budget, with interfund transfers, at $160,000, the largest single amount. Open Enrollment Out cost the district $247,460 for the 2013-2014 school year, which was $21,000 less than anticipated. Eparvier explained some equipment was purchased this year rather than next because spending was down as close to zero as possible maximizes the amount of aids the district will get from state and federal sources next year.

With the new state laws on school employee unions came the need for a new method of handling employee grievance procedures, in accord with the staff handbook. Without dissent the board approved a list of impartial hearing officers as recommended by School Attorney Bob Burns and authorized Eparvier to arrange for a hearing with one of the selected officers should any grievance advance to the hearing step in the process.

The list includes former Brown County Circuit Court Judge J. D. McKay, of Iron River; Atty. Richard Boren of Marinette; Atty. John Thiel of Appleton, Thomas Yaeger of Sun Prairie, Steve Morrison of Wausau, and Staff Attorney Raleigh Hones of the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. Eparvier told the board he will base his selection on cost and availability. He said as administrator, he gets to select the arbitrator, but “we try to get both sides to agree on it.”

Board President Larsen reported that at a special workshop meeting on Monday, June 23 the board had set some goals, and those goals were formally adopted by the board at Wednesday’s meeting.

The goals are:

1. To commit the resources, time and professional development to establish methodologies and strategies to address student achievement through “personalized” learning;

2. To develop strategies and support as a means to improve scores on the ACT (tests);

3. To educate and communicate to the general citizenry regarding the immediate and long-term facilities needs associated with the middle-high school programming along with the costs, the pros and the cons of identified options;

4. Use a multimedia approach to increase communication between the public, the Board of Education, and the administration, students and staff of the two school buildings;

5. Pursue additional opportunities in technology education; promote effective use of technology to enhance classroom instruction and communication with the general public; develop guidelines for safe and responsible use of technologies for staff and students; and

6. To establish co-teaching and team teaching strategies which maximize the involvement and engagement of special education students in the regular education setting.

For several months the board has been discussing a change in graduation requirements in accord with a new state law that allows student athletes to replace a half credit of phy ed with an additional half credit in English, social studies, math, science or health education of their choosing. At this month’s meeting the board formally adopted some graduation policy changes that included the half credit alternative for athletes, with provisions that participation in athletics must be documented by the athletic director and approved by the high school principal.

They also added a provision that the board may approve a course or courses in career and technical education that it determines may satisfy up to a total of one credit of math or science credit.

The policy further states that students with disabilities who have properly completed the programs specified in their I.E.P. and have received the recommendation of the I.E.P. Committee may participate in graduation activities and may be awarded a diploma “(provided they satisfied the district’s high school graduation requirements.)” Provision for a certificate of attendance was removed.

As recommended by NEOLA, the district’s consultant on policies, the board adopted a revised policy covering student accidents, illnesses and or concussions that occur in school. The District Administrator is allowed to provide for an in-service program on first aid and CPR procedures.

In case of an accident, the administrator in charge must provide an accident report to the District Administrator.

School personnel are not to diagnose illness or administer medication of any kind except in accordance with AG5330.

A new provision, covering concussion, states: “A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Concussions occur when there is a forceful blow to the head or body that results in rapid movement of the head and causes any change in behavior, thinking, or physical functioning. Concussions are not limited to situations involving loss of consciousness. Some symptoms of a concussion include headache, nausea, confusion, memory difficulties, dizziness, blurred vision, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty sleeping.”

The policy states that each year students and parents will be provided with an information sheet regarding concussion and head injury. If a student is going to participate in an athletic activity where a concussive event may occur, the appropriate release must be signed at least once per school year.

Parents who inform coaches and teachers that their child is being treated by a healthcare professional for a concussion must provide written clearance from that healthcare professional for full or limited participation in class, practice, activity or competition before they will again be allowed to participate in any school-related physical activities.

Hess asked if the district has any requirements for “base line” testing of students before they can participate in athletics, and was told that Bellin Health currently does baseline testing for all Peshtigo Middle School and High School athletes.

Board member Steve Coble, who chairs the Buildings and Grounds Committee, said they had met the previous evening “and walked the roof.” He said they found some damage, and will be getting prices on repairs.

Eparvier suggested the Policies Committee should schedule a meeting in the near future to discuss a policy relative to screening volunteers who will work with students. He reminded the board that during public comments last month a concerned mother had asked them to consider this, and said he has copies of a policy being written by NEOLA that covers this concern.

The board then went into closed executive session to again discuss a potential candidate for principal of the Elementary Learning Center and returned to open session to hire Baudhuin.


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