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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo School To Partner With Performance Services

Issue Date: February 20, 2020

At the Peshtigo School Board meeting Wednesday, Feb. 12, the Board discussed the selection of a partner to work with from a mix of six different firms that made presentations on Monday, Feb. 3 and Wednesday, Feb. 6.

The first three groups to present on Monday, Feb. 3 were the Blue Design Group from Hortonville, Hoffman from Appleton and McMahon Group from Neenah. Performance Services of Waukesha, Bray from the Milwaukee area and Keller with offices in Kaukauna, presented on Wednesday, Feb. 5. Superintendent Patrick Rau said, "All of them provided a great presentation and they are all good companies. I would be able to work with any of the six firms, but it is important to choose a group that is best for the community to work with".

The board decided to narrow it down to two of the six presenters of Performance Services and Bray. There was a lot of conversation regarding both companies "Bray does a nice job to specs, checks all invoices before they are paid, provides many options and listens to the community and seem to be very nice. Performance Services will do what the community wants them to do, they were very open, transparent and upfront and liked how they had everything laid out. Both are very good and schools are their business.

Board Member Jenny Schwittay commented, "I like the continuity of Performance and like that they pick only a couple of projects a year to focus on and not only did we interview them, but they interviewed us".

Another comment was made that Performance Services overrides a part of the cost if the referendum fails and with Bray there is an initial cost for the referendum and Design has a 5.5% fee and the school will get charged the fee if the referendum fails. After discussion, the final decision of the Board was to partner with Performance Services of Waukesha.

Director of Student Services Julie Williams shared a presentation and results of the Communities That Care (CTC) program. CTC is a non profit organization made up of committee members that assess risk factors, outreach to students, address mental health issues and work on suicide prevention. CTC is a strategy development process for local communities that empowers them to use robust evidence of 'what works' in prevention and early intervention to prevent youth problem behaviors, based on unique profiles of young people's behavioral outcomes and risk and protective factors in that community. It is a change process for preventing youth violence, delinquency, alcohol and drug use and promotes well-being through tested and effective programs and policies.

Students in grades eight, ten and twelve participated and the program was based on substance abuse and prevention, school drop-out rates, depression, suicide and also focused on risk factors such as what the level of day to day alcohol use is in a 30 day timeframe, use of energy drinks, binge drinking and vaping.

Peshtigo showed above average use of alcohol. There was also 120 kids using energy drinks in the past 30 days and 16% of students said they binge drank in the last 30 days. It is perceived that if students view themselves as an academic failure, there is likely hood of all risk factors.

Superintendent Patrick Rau said, "Due to the high risk factor on vaping, we had a speaker come in and talk about the dangers of vaping".

At the last committee meeting it was suggested to find more counseling and make it available for the students. A board member mentioned it might be worth it to start targeting students at a younger age such as sixth grade because by the time they get to high school level it is too late. Williams responded, "Some of these things that we talk about and do at the high school we already do at the grade school level". The board has already talked about what programs and what they can implement for the future.

Fifarek commented, "This is not only here, but statewide along with suicide rates and depression. Are we pressing our students too much or easy going? It is not just Peshtigo but the State level is having problems as well".

Rau mentioned school can't start for the 2020-21 year before Sept. 1, which puts time limitations on meeting the goals for the school year. He also said, "We were able to co-ordinate our Spring break with Marinette and Coleman schools and the in-service co-ordinates with deer hunting season. The Christmas break will probably start on Dec. 23 because if we start before that then we would have to go to school into the second week in June".

Rau also commended Kara Seefeldt for the time she put into updating the Nursing Services Handbook which was created with co-ordination of local physicians that oversee the program.

Buildings and Grounds Chairman Josh Seefeldt gave an overview of some of the Capital projects for the school year, including a new freezer being a priority along with re-decking of the playground equipment, refurbishing older classrooms in the Elementary school, doing three to five rooms per year, carpeting, painting, ceiling work, LED lights, new built ins and replace what needs to be replaced. Seefeldt said, "There are a lot of projects we can choose from".

Rau added, "We received some specific bids and anything over $10,000 will have to be approved and by approving, it will give Brian Williams, Director of Building and Grounds the go ahead to start working on the projects".

The GameTime bid to replace four metal decks with rubber coating including covering on the stairs of the playground is $16,000. Seefeldt commented, "There is a lot of liability and that is the reason why we want to go with GameTime to do the repairs since they are knowledgable of the equipment and procedure".

Seefeldt advised they received bids from Hanks Refrigeration and Olson Electric for the walk in cooler/ refrigeration for a cost of $40,553.63. Hanks does not have a truck or labor charge, whereas other companies do. There will be a five year warranty on certain parts with two years on other parts along with two years on labor. It was approved to go forward with the bid.

Two bids came in for carpeting and baseboard replacement for four classrooms from J W Cordman at $16,591 and from Berth & Rosenthal at $16,317. The bid was awarded to Berth and Rosenthal as the low bidder.

The board also discussed the purchase of a van to be used by Williams which would be used on a daily basis for food service for transferring food between the schools and picking up supplies and materials. It was approved to authorize the purchase of a van not to exceed $22,000 and will allow Williams to start getting quotes for the van. Once the van is purchased they will look at the truck to put a plow on it to do some of the snow cleanup themselves.

Another agenda item was Summer School Teacher pay. At present, the rate is $22.00 per hour for enrichment courses and would like to propose to increase the rate to $25.00 per hour. Rau interjected saying,"Summer School basically pays for itself, I feel we can absorb that into the budget".

Under the direction of Michael Paquette, two students, Brody Heroux and Mitchell Peters made a reverse osmosis system, which in a maple syrup making operation, takes the water out of syrup, therefore cutting down on the boiling time. Mr Devine will be trying the system when syrup is in season and if it operates successfully, the team will sell the unit.

Board member Gary Larsen asked Paquette if there were any grants out there for programs they do and Paquette responded, "WPS (Wisconsin Public Service) puts grants out there for initiative in the classroom up to $2,000. We have also received grants from M&M Foundation and received other donations as well".

Only one resignation was announced, Randy Verkerke resigned as High School Counselor effective at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Rau commented, "He will be missed, he did a great job and we were lucky to have him for the past 14 years. I wish him the best of luck".

In donations, $1,000 was received by WPS Foundation for Skills USA; $500 was donated by the Heart Failure Survival Center for Girls Soccer, New Life Church donated $458 for the SEED (Students Eat Every Day) program and the Eagle Express Spirit Pump brought in $404.75.

At the end of the meeting, Rau announced he invited Mayoral candidates to a forum for the March School Board meeting. They include incumbent Mayor Cathi Malke and Tony O'Neill Who is running against Malke. In talking with Malke, she originally told Rau she would attend, until unforeseen circumstances of serious health issues of a close family member surfaced. She is unsure if she will be able to attend depending on what health concerns are going on at the time of the forum and she doesn't want to make a commitment that she can't fulfill. She had then asked Rau to submit questions to the two candidates and then post the answers in the Peshtigo Times for the public to see. Rau did not respond to Malke and will be proceeding with the forum, even though Malke might not be able to attend.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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