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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo School Board Sets Advisory Referendum

Issue Date: January 21, 2009

As a followup to a report from an Ad Hoc Committee that met for several months under the leadership of Dennis Karman, the Peshtigo School Board voted at the Wednesday, Jan. 14 to hold an advisory referendum to seek input from the district taxpayers at the April 7 spring election.

Steve Coble stressed, We are not asking them to vote on a referendum. We are just asking them for their opinion.

The Ad Hoc report indicated that more general education classes are needed, the science labs are outdated, the present facilities lack the number of teaching and practice stations to meet present and future demands of the physical education, fine arts, and various extracurricular programs.

The advisory referendum is asking the voters to choose one of the following two choices: 1): I would support a reasonable plan to resolve the educational facilities needs of the Peshtigo Middle/High School at the present location. 2): I would support a reasonable plan to resolve the educational facilities needs of the Peshtigo Middle/High School at a different location.

The Board’s decision to hold this advisory referendum followed a report generated by a facilities study committee, comprised of community members, students, and staff. This group met for several months and made the following conclusions: a) more general education classrooms are needed, b) current science labs are outdated, c) and the current facilities lack the number of teaching and practice stations to meet the present and and future demands of the physical education department, athletic department, fine arts, and various extracurricular programs.

Following this report, the Board concluded that doing nothing is not an option, so questions for an advisory referendum were drafted and agreed upon for presentation to the District’s eligible voters. An advisory referendum is a non-binding vote with a purpose of soliciting input from the constituency. Following the results of this advisory referendum, the Board’s options may be narrowed by the advice of the electorate and a more informed focus for future planning is likely to occur.

Jim Koronkiewicz said choices are expand, rebuild, or construct new at a different location.

Administrator Kim Eparvier presented an open enrollment report. Peshtigo School District in recent years has had a big margin of incoming students over those opting for other districts, more than 50, and each of these students brings about $6000 of state reimbursements. His report takes into consideration how many can be accepted at each grade level without running into a need for more classrooms or hiring teachers, as teachers come with a big price tag with today’s health insurance costs. For four year old Kindergarten, he recommends 5 additional students, zero for regular Kindergarten, as the numbers are at the maximum, 6, first graders, four, 2nd graders, three, 3rd graders, one, 4th grader, two, 5th graders, eight, 6th graders, zero, 7th and 8th graders, 16, 9th graders, 22, 10th graders, 11, 11th graders and one, 12th grader. No special education students can be added at any grade level. In addition no students expelled or being considered for expulsion will be accepted.

He also recommended that a waiting list be established at the various grade levels to give time to determine enrollment projections, as these ae only tentative at this point. Should a waiting list contain sufficient numbers to offset the cost of adding staff, this will be brought to the board’s attention.

The board approved a request from the Kumalong Sno-Riders to have a trail cut across a corner of the former Desjarlais property owned by the Peshtigo School District. They were assured the club has liability insurance to cover any risk to the school district. The approval will be subject to renewal consideration on an annual basis.

School Council Representative James Menor reported on the Pre-Christmas Banquet and the plans for the coming Winterfest Event for March 7.

Nan Ganter was approved as a volunteer coach for 7th Grade Girls Basketball and Don Morois for Assistant Cross Country Coach.

The Course Description Booklet was approved by the Board.

The Board voted to give Wisconsin Association of School Boards Delegate Gary Larsen his discretion in voting on various resolutions at the Annual WASB Conference.

The newly revised bus transportation policy was approved.

Eparvier noted congratulations are on order for the PHS Cross Country Team for its fine performance at the State Meet, and Cross Country Team member James Menor was named an All-Stater for Academic Honors.

He noted 6 volunteer students helped at the last Town of Peshtigo election day.

He also listed efforts to improve staff-administration communication and also spoke of challenging economic times and a need to connect with district representatives in the legislature. A legislature-imposed revenue cap of 1.6% annual increase has put a clamp on school budgets.

The board entered closed session to consider options for part time Special Education Director Services including but not limited to a Cooperative Agreement.


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