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School district may buy old bank building

Following its closed-door session on Monday night, Superintendent Tim Widiker announced the St. Croix Central School Board approved a motion to pursue a purchase agreement for the Associated Bank building on Davis Street in Hammond.

Pending the resolution of a number of contingencies, a public hearing would be scheduled for the end of April. Potential uses for the roughly 8,000-square-foot space could include relocation of the district offices, community education, alternative education, administrative offices and virtual school offices.

Widiker also announced the board has selected Miron Construction to act as construction  manager for potential projects related to facility improvements and additions. Craig Uhlenbrauck of Miron will be working with Vaughn Dierks of Wold Architects to arrange a series of community meetings over the next three months to gather input as to needs and solutions.   

Magee to retire

Fourth-grade teacher Tom Magee read a letter announcing his retirement from teaching after more than three decades of service to the St. Croix Central School District.

“I’ve been a part of this incredible family for 35 years and my passion for teaching our youth has never wavered,” Magee said. “I enjoy working with students as much now as I did my first year. There is no doubt that leaving the classroom will be dearly missed by me. I love my students and I will be lost without them. Most of my life has been associated with SCC and it was a terrific three and half decades. It was never just a job to me, it was a career and a calling that I loved. Thank you for all those years.”

Members of the board wished him well.

“You will be greatly missed. You have the heartfelt thanks of this district for your years of service. We wish you well. Have a long healthy, happy, retirement. You deserve it,” said school board president Howard Kruschke.

Magee left the meeting to a standing ovation by the board.

Principal search

Widiker updated the board on the search for a new elementary school principal. His office is reviewing the 20 applications it received for the position. It hoped to finish its initial screening by Tuesday, March 18, and begin interviewing six final candidates April 2. The interviews will be conducted by three committees consisting of seven different staff members each.

“We hope to be able to recommend a finalist for the board’s approval at your April 28 board meeting,” Widiker said.

Virtual school

Parents interested in learning more about the St. Croix Valley Academy of Virtual Education can now find a tab (Virtual School) on the district’s home page according to high school principal Glenn Webb. The school has been authorized by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Open enrollment is available until April 30. The new school opens with the start of the 2014-15 school year.

“This means more opportunities for kids. We’re very excited to get this going,” Webb said.

GED Option #2

Director of special education Patricia Basche told the board she is in the process of completing an application for GED Option #2 which would allow qualified students to take advantage of alternative education programing. Option #2 allows authorized school districts to use the GED test battery to measure proficiency in lieu of high school credits for students enrolled in an alternative education program.

“So a child who passes the GED tests and also meets the rest of the graduation requirements is eligible to receive a traditional high school diploma. This will be another option to help kids learn and get their high school diploma,” Basche said.

Other business

  •  Interim elementary principal Steve Sanders announced the school will recognize the one-year anniversary of the fire on April 25 with a celebration headlined by Trigger Happy.
  •  Webb announced plans to introduce a senior awards banquet prior to graduation this year during which $27,000 in scholarships would be awarded to graduating seniors.  
  •  The board approved renewing the Shared Services Contract with CESA for the 2014-15 school year.
  •  The board approved a new three-year lease amendment with Trinity Lutheran through June 2017.     
  •  Parent Alicia Rutten appeared before the board to again address issues regarding playground security at the elementary school and bus transportation of elementary students. Rutten first appeared before the board in January motivated by two incidents in which her child boarded the wrong bus. At that time she asked that more individualized attention be given to elementary students during the process of loading buses. Monday evening she asked the board to consider making the new elementary principal also the transportation director given that she felt elementary students should be the primary focus of the position.