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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Plan April 1 Start For Coleman Elementary Renovation Work

Issue Date: February 7, 2019

Plans for remodeling and renovation of the Coleman School facilities are proceeding, with April 1 set as the scheduled date for actual construction to start, District Administrator Doug Polomis informed the school board at its monthly meeting on Monday, Jan. 21. Bids are to be let in mid-February, with responses due by mid-March.

The renovation work is to begin in the elementary school portion of the building in April of this year and be completed before classes resume in fall of 2020.

Work on the high school/middle school areas is to start in April of 2020, and hopefully also be completed before classes resume that fall.

Voters in the April 2, 2018 referendum authorized the district to borrow up to $10,850,000 for remodeling of the existing building, and an additional $2,980,000 for remodeling and equipment additions for specific program areas of the existing building. The elementary, middle school and high school are all housed in different sections of the connected buildings.

School officials, including Polomis, have been meeting regularly with members of the Miron and Brey design and construction team to plan and schedule the building renovation projects.

Sam Wilson of Miron has been assigned as site superintendent, and is to be on-site every day that construction is in progress. Polomis said they will be having weekly meetings every Tuesday once construction starts.

Polomis told the board at the Jan 21 meeting that Miron has submitted a tentative phasing schedule as to when each area of the buildings will be affected. Construction is scheduled to start with the elementary school portion of the building on April 1 of this year. The high school phase of construction is scheduled to begin in April of 2020. Work is being scheduled to cause minimal disruption of classes.

Board member Corey Kuchta said a handicapped person in the community had asked that when they work on gymnasium bleachers they put in hand rails and make the first step shorter so he can make it up.

Polomis said those concerns are shared by many. Part of this summer's project is the elementary gym, and the bleachers will have hand rails and a half-step for the first step. There are tentative plans to put new bleachers with similar features in the high school gym at the same time to save on costs. There also will be wheelchair seating. They need to be sure the gym floors, and possibly painting, are done before the bleachers go in.

Polomis said they will try to minimize impact on classes, but cautioned that life for students and staff will be disrupted while construction is going on. The board may need to give up its meeting room for a time to allow displaced classes to meet there.

Board President Ryan Wendt asked if there might be a way to get the new high school entry done this year, but Polomis thought not, but said he would put that request on a list for discussion the following day. He said there will be a temporary entry on the west side of the building while construction is going on.

Polomis said the district recently went through another Standard & Poors rating for the second borrowing to finance the projects, and the district's rating again came back as A-plus, which helps to get a good interest rate. He hoped they would be able to lock in interest rates by the end of the week.

Polomis told the board that he and Network Administrator/Technology Coordinator Dan Perry will be working with Federal Funds Assistant Lori Puckett to use E-rate funding for cabling and/or hardware (such as access points and switches) for computer-related work and equipment connected to the referendum project.

At the board meeting scheduled for 7 pm. on Monday, Feb. 18 there will be another report on the building project. Wendt asked that a referendum project discussion be on the board agenda every month until the projects are complete. He also asked that information on bid outcomes be provided, as a lot of contractors want to know.

The Feb. 18 board meeting will be preceded by a 6 p.m. Policy Committee meeting. Other items for the 7 p.m. board meeting on Feb. 18 are AGR Goals, 2019 Summer School course description booklets, the 2019-2020 high school course description book, and possibly some action resulting from an hour-long closed session administrative review and 2019-2020 staffing discussion held at the end of the Jan 21 meeting.

Also at the Jan. 21 meeting the board had been given copies of the course description book for next year that Polomis said was put together with the help of High School Counselor Lindsay Allen. Polomis thanked Allen for her work, and mentioned they are offering three new transcribed credit courses, as well as eight new courses within the district that will run if student numbers are there.

By unanimous vote the board approved a joint education agreement in which Coleman will join Wausaukee, Crivitz and Beecher/Dunbar/Pembine School districts in their partnership with NWTC in the Wisconsin Northwoods Academy at Wausaukee. The classes are open to students in 11th and 12th grades, and they would provide their own transportation to and from Wausaukee. They would take classes in English, math, etc. at Wausaukee for half a day and spend the other half day in the Northwoods Academy classes, mainly dual credit technical school courses not offered at Coleman.

Polomis said the other members of the Northwoods Academy have already approved Coleman to join. NWTC instructors go to Wausaukee and teach classes that give both high school and NWTC credits. By the time students finish a semester in Academy classes they are well on their way to a certificate in their field. If they do two years, by the time they are done they have their certificates and are ready for a job in their field.

Due to Higher Learning Commission requirements that go into effect in 2022, Polomis proposed that the district be allowed to reimburse costs for teachers willing to get their masters degree in order to teach the transcribed courses. Only if the instructor holds a masters in the class area they teach will the students continue getting dual high school/college credits for those courses after the 2022 change in rules. Polomis said this will be a cost to the district, but he can make it work in the budget, and having more teachers eligible for the dual credit program will result in savings of many dollars and much time for the students and their families.

Polomis said English Teacher Sarah Thomas is planning to work toward her masters in English Composition and Oral Communications and if she starts now, she will have the needed degree by 2022. She's looking at on-line classes, Polomis said, and there is a grant possibility that would cut the cost from $22,572 to $16,938 spread over three years. He said she is confident she can do the work, but needs help paying the $16,938.

There may be other teachers willing to do the same thing. Board members wanted to be sure everyone is treated fairly. They agreed provisions for repayment if the teacher moves to another district or fails to complete degree requirements are important. There was no official board action, but all members indicated they supported the idea. Polomis said he will continue drafting a higher education reimbursement agreement and bring it back for a future board meeting.

Other action items on Jan 21 included accepting the resignation of Special Education Aide Desiree Demmith, and hiring of Ashley Broderick to fill that position. Demmith said she would stay involved as an occasional substitute.

The board approved Open Enrollment parameters placing no limitations on regular education applications, but limiting Special Education open enrollment to three spaces in early childhood and two in middle school. The enrollment limits were set to meet student needs without adding more staff.

Creation of a Spanish Club as proposed by Spanish teacher Katherine Schermer-Ludak was approved, as were a trip for the Spanish Club to Costa Rica in July of 2019 and a trip to Europe (Switzerland, Italy and France) in conjunction with Lena School district in June of 2019. There is no cost to the district for either of the trips, but a substantial cost to students. All overnight trips for student groups require prior board approval. Board member Barb Krause-Krug commented it is wonderful that the students able to go are getting that opportunity.

FFA trips were approved to Wisconsin Rapids for a Farm Forum on Feb. 15 and 16; to Green Bay for a Leadership Conference on March 22 and 23, and to Kiel for a Leadership Derby on April 6 and 7. Wendt commented it is nice to see the FFA doing so many things.

The board meeting began with a power point presentation on the 7th grade field trip to Ski Brule in Iron River, Mich. Phy Ed Teacher Layne Skrupky had made arrangements for Coleman students to attend a learn to ski day there, and only five of the Coleman students who went had ever skied before. With Skrupky to tell the board about their experience were students Ally Hoida, Callee Compe, Aliayah Brueniger, Karson Risner and John Schindler. All said they thoroughly enjoyed the day despite the cold.

The board readily approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Trinity Evangelical Church through which Trinity can use the public school facilities as an emergency evacuation destination. The district has agreements to use the Trinity facilities and those of St. Anne in Coleman in case the public school needs to be evacuated. Polomis said when the Trinity people talked to him about this, he said, "absolutely."

During his Superintendent's report Polomis told the board on Tuesday, Jan. 15 Coleman had another safety drill which focused on an intruder and reviewing information with students to make an informed assessment of a situation. He said they even had a staff member dressed up as an intruder, but to be sure no one got hurt they had told students in advance that the intruder was not real. He said they are being required by the state to do full evacuation drills, and will do one in April. Parents will be notified in advance. Failure to hold the drills will result in loss of Safety Grant funding.

Reporting as high school principal, Polomis said the Coleman-Pound Lions Club High School Student of the Month was Allison Crandall, nominated by Miss Betty Beschta.

Drivers Education is once again be offered at the high school starting Tuesday, Jan. 29. There were about 35 students signed up, and those who do not earn at least a "C" cannot stay in the class, ""so it's a very, very large incentive," Polomis commented.

Monday, Feb. 11 is Youth Apprenticeship Employability Day, and there will be a Job Fair the next day. Both events are at the Oconto Falls School District. Students are to bring their resumes to the Job Fair and may leave with a summer job, or even an offer of a job after graduation. The Job Fair is open to adults in the afternoon.

Elementary/Middle School Principal Yvette Marshall reported that mid-year assessments were completed for middle school and elementary students. The PTO provided Teddy Grahams to elementary students as a treat on assessment days. At the next PTO meeting at 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 11, they will be planning the book fair for the March conferences.

Mackenzie Carlson and Ben Krueger were students of the month for December.

Marshall thanked Middle School Teacher Joanna Gross and 5th Grade Teacher Kyle Johnson for participating in the "Dash for Cash" program. Mrs. Gross collected money to add to her library of books and Johnson's funds will go toward Math Night.

The board accepted with thanks a $100 donation from George and Carol Laitinen for Cougar Den, $100 from Associated Bank for FBLA, $100 from Coleman-Pound Lions Club for an athletic trainer portable treatment table, and $2,840.81 from Cougar Country Booster Club for numerous equipment items for softball, baseball, wrestling and golf.


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