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Somerset Board of Education hears updates from WisDOT, RMM

During its Oct. 27 meeting, the Somerset School District Board of Education heard a presentation from WisDOT about the upcoming work on the St. Croix Crossing bridge and how it will affect the school, as well as an update from its IT company, RMM Solutions.

WisDOT Project Supervisor Tim Mason went through a 10-minute presentation that depicted the next set of steps in the bridge construction and set out the timeline for which roads and intersections would be out of commission and when.

In 2015, grading of Highway 64 will continue from County Road E to 150th Avenue, while construction will begin on the new County Road E from Highway 35 to the new County Road E overpass. More details on the next step in the plan will be available in January after the bid process is done for the construction and grading projects in December. In 2016, the main project will be paving both Highway 64 and Highway 35. Mason said the project is still on schedule to finish in fall 2016.

During the second presentation of the meeting, Amy Arnold, from RMM Solutions, stepped forward along with her colleague Scott Gremler to bring the board up to speed on what has been going on with the IT team.

The pair talked about the ticket board and the amount of tickets they are getting from the teachers and staff at the three schools as well as the network assessment the team is trying to put together with the help of a survey that was sent to all staff members. Arnold and Gremler both emphasized the need for staff to return the surveys so that the IT team can compile the information and figure out the best way to proceed to better optimize the school’s network.

According to Gremler, the schools have excellent hardware that was built well, but they are running a lot of systems that aren’t working in the most efficient manner, which leads to too much complexity in the system. Gremler said he would like to work toward reducing that complexity and create more efficiency within the district’s systems.

The next person to take the floor was St. Croix County Medical Examiner Patty Schachtner, who said she had been contacted by two groups of parents to talk with the school district about getting Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) training for suicide prevention to help students from grades seven through 12. Schachtner told the board that although the Somerset School District hasn’t had a suicide in the last few years there have been seven parental suicides in the area. At the end of her speech, Schachtner asked the board to consider getting QPR training for its staff in the near future, which the board said they would consider.

Later in the meeting, Superintendent Randy Rosberg gave a summary of the district’s enrollment after the third week check. Enrollment was at 1,591 as of Oct. 7, which is down 12 students from the same time last year.

Among the last few items the board discussed were the adoption of the 2014-15 budget and the certification of the 2014-15 tax levy. The budget was approved at $16,755,260.46, which leaves a budget deficit of $37,965.46, a decrease from the September budget hearing. The board approved the tax levy as well, which went up slightly overall from last year to $4,533,324.

To end the meeting, the board approved the High School Career Readiness Courses, including Supervised Work Experience, Supervised Job Shadowing and Supervised Service Learning. The plan is to run a pilot test of the courses during the second semester of this year and then run the program at full scale both semesters next year. Each course would be half a credit and last one semester.

Other Business 

— The board approved the hiring of Bill Roll as the elementary school maintenance technician and buildings and grounds position. 

— The board approved hiring a certified occupational therapy assistant for two days a week. 

— The board approved the resignation of two employees.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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