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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Set Coleman Graduation July 11; Open Outdoor School Facilities

Issue Date: July 1, 2020

Plans for the Coleman High School Class of 2020 to graduate at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 11, hopefully on the football field, were approved without dissent by Coleman School Board at its monthly meeting on Monday, June 15. Board members present for the meeting were Joanne Nowak, Jeremy Hoida, Scott Herzog, Barb Van Drisse, Corey Kuchta and Board President Ryan Wendt. Board Member Barb Klug was absent.

During time for public comment at the start of the meeting, Kuchta thanked Superintendent/High School Principal Doug Polomis for holding a meeting with parents and graduates to talk about how to handle the graduation ceremony before plans were finalized. Kuchta commented that many schools are "just pushing this off or holding a virtual ceremony," while Polomis "is taking the time to honor our graduates and get parent input."

Wendt thanked Hoida, his crew andgv other volunteers for constructing a concession stand at the softball field. Wendt said he realizes how busy these businesses are, and was impressed that they still found time to build the structure.

After some discussion, in view of the fact that some restrictions imposed earlier this year by state officials either had been lifted or soon would be, the board voted without dissent to open use of outside school facilities to community groups.

That vote came despite a document Polomis provided from Marinette County Public Health Officer Mollie Bonjean indicating their agency did not advise opening the facilities. He also shared a document from the Wisconsin Department of Health indicating their opposition to face to face graduation ceremonies, but said he was seeking board approval for the graduation ceremonies as planned with input from staff, graduates and parents, and the board later in the meeting gave that approval without dissent.

In his report as High School Principal, Polomis said seniors had turned in school-owned materials and completed assignments on Friday, May 15. At that time they received their caps and gowns, a photo copy of the ad from the Peshtigo Times, and a personalized graduation yard sign.

On May 19 other parents and students came to school to drop off the last packet of homework and to return school issued items. Staff members were present to help with the collection process and then reported back the following week to correct assignments. Teachers continued to work with students in the last few weeks to help them complete coursework to pass their classes. Pass/Fail grades were entered and parents were notified that electronic report cards were available.

During the last week of May, Lindsay Allen, Sarah Thomas, Layne Skrupky and Polomis made personal phone calls to seniors informing them of local scholarships they had been awarded. Certificates and award letters were mailed to the students.

Polomis had attended a Business Association meeting with the Chamber of Commerce Education Workforce Development group. Discussion involved ways in which businesses can continuously partner with schools in the area to develop career readiness.

There have been weekly virtual meetings of the state Parents Advisory Council for discussions as to what the opening of school will look like, Polomis said. School Nurse Kelly Mitchell and Polomis were to meet with Marinette County Public Health officials and other district administrators for further discussion and possible solutions. Plans for re-opening Coleman schools in fall remain in progress and have not been finalized. (The DPI came out with over 80 pages of recommendations on June 22 that leave those decisions very much up to local school boards.)

Elementary/Middle School Principal Yvette Marshall told the board distance learning had been a challenge for everyone, but said it was important to focus on the entire year and not just the past few months. (The DPI orders to close had come in March and most of the order remained in effect until July 1.)

Marshall declared nine months ago students, parents and staff were excited to be in the newly renovated building. As the year progressed they worked together in various ways to help students reach success. Marshall told the board the Coleman staff "has a special quality of working together to engage families throughout the year, and due to the shutdown our relationships with families strengthened."

Marshall said she is very thankful for this accomplishment and for everyone's efforts. She congratulated students on completing the 2019-2020 school year and said they can be proud of their accomplishments inside and outside the classroom. "Thanks go out to teachers staff, families and the community for supporting the students on this year's journey," Marshall declared.

High school building improvements approved by voters in the referendum is continuing. Most of the work in the elementary/middle school building was done last year. Polomis said most of the demolition phase at the high school is completed and walls are going back up. The new stairway is on the south side of the building along with walls for the addition to the commons area. The roof is being worked on, painting is being done in TechEd rooms and tile in the hallways are being prepped for painting.

Polomis distributed contingency and allowance PCI summaries received from Miron Construction, and said the district will use $350,000 to $400,000 earned in interest from investments to pay for projects the board had previously approved for payment with Fund 46 dollars - money the district is allowed to set aside for long term capital improvements.

The elementary school roof has been inspected and no new problems were found, Polomis said. He added that the roof was designed to expand. Costs were covered by Miron and/or the subcontractor.

Five years ago the board set up a long-term Capital Improvements Trust Fund, which now has a balance of $1.2 million. Polomis said most of that money will be spent this summer while crews are in the buildings doing work on the referendum renovations. He noted the 10-year plan for capital improvements can be modified at any time, and later in the meeting the board unanimously approved his recommendations for some modifications.

Renovation of the high school gym is underway. State champion boards have been ordered and two new conference banners for schools have been added due to cross country. There will be boards honoring team championships in all sports year by year Polomis said there is no longer room in the gym for the wrestling team state board that lists individual members, and suggested that could now be hung up in the wrestling room. He commented that not having enough room to display all the state championship recognition boards is a very good problem to have.

The board removed a requirement in the support staff handbook that to be paid for a holiday a staff member had to work on the day before and after it.

The board accepted a $2,000 donation from the Cougar Community Booster Club.

In other action, the board approved:

*Creating a speech/language pathologist assistant position, hiring Tess Rosner to fill it, and an agreement with DOTCOM to provide the mandatory oversight;

*Hiring of Tiffany Dufeck as a prom co-advisor;

*An overload stipend for Jeremy Brady for the first semester of 2020-2021;

*All policies presented for second readings;

*Labor of Love agreement;

*WIAA membership for the 2020-2021 school year;

*Open enrollment in and Open Enrollment out applications as presented:

*Start College Now applications and early graduation requests as presented; and

*Hiring of James Seewald to fill a maintenance position.

After completing other business the board went into closed executive session to discuss employee compensation. They then returned to open session and approved 2020-21 contracts for District Business Manager Lori Beland, District Administrative Assistant Lorie Karban, IT Director Dan Perry, and Building and Grounds Director Matt Markiewicz.


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