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Board approves slew of reallocation funds recommendations: New Richmond School Board

After bringing several ideas for ways to spend the roughly $995,000 left over from the money allocated to the demolition of the old middle school during the January New Richmond School Board regular meeting, district administrator Patrick Olson came back to the board at the Feb. 20 regular meeting with recommendations and final bids for most of the previously recommended items.

The board approved all of the recommendations, including:

• HVAC Climate Maker recommendation to upgrade the current Building Automation System for the school district. The total amount of the bid for the upgrade is $330,253.62, with the high school to be completed by June 30, 2017 and the rest of the work to be scheduled for the 2017-2018 school year.

• District filter upgrade purchase to update the school's current internet filters, which are four year out of date. The total cost of the upgrade would be $7,244, with the winning bid coming from WiscNet.

• District WiFi upgrade recommendation to upgrade the district's wireless capabilities throughout the district. The total cost for the upgrade would be $147,013.51, with the winning bid coming from Parallel Technologies.

• SysCloud archive recommendation which would provide the district with additional online backup for its files. The total cost for the online backup for three years would be $14,850.

• District Chromebook purchase recommendation, which would provide 600 Chromebooks to be distributed throughout the district. The winning bid came from CDW-G for $143,310.

• District Chromebook cart purchase recommendation, which would go along with the Chromebook purchase to provide an additional 18 laptop mobile carts to be distributed throughout the district. The recommendation was for the second least expensive option from EarthWalk due to the EarthWalk cart being prefered over the least expensive option. The bid from EarthWalk was $32,775. Building budgets will contribute $625 per cart to offset the higher cost of the EarthWalk carts.

• Stadium lighting recommendation, which would provide installation of metal halide lights at the high school soccer field/track. The recommendation was to approve the bid from B&B Electric for $195,000. The work would be done by June 30 and have a 25 year warranty.

• High school auditorium sound system upgrade recommendation, which would include the removal of the current wireless system, antennas and all cabling to be replaced by new systems, antennas and cabling. The recommendation was to go with Brickhouse Music out of River Falls for a total of $23,000, which also includes testing for functionality and proper sounds for the entire wireless setup and labeling all components.

The board was also made aware that another recommendation would be coming in the next month or so for laptops for all staff members at the elementary schools in order to make them more flexible in their classrooms.

Demo update

Olson also gave the board an update on the demolition at the old middle school building, which has been going smoothly, especially with how nice the weather has been over the last few weeks.

"There was one surprise that we had and that was the discovery of a subfloor with asbestos, roughly 1,000 sq. feet," Olson said. "The asbestos has already been removed and it didn't slow them down too much since they were able to partition off that one room and get it fixed. They are just waiting on the testing part right now. We've been very impressed with Eckert Wrecking. They do a great job of communication."

Other than the one small snag with the discovery of the subfloor, which was located in a classroom on the second floor under a second subfloor, Olson said the only other isolated issue that the site has had was the theft of copper last week.

"Overall they are on track and things are going very smoothly. Unfortunately, there was some theft of copper last week, but there has been theft in multiple places over the last couple weeks, including one of our car dealerships," Olson said. "But in all, things have gone well on the site."

Retirements

During the personnel portion of the meeting, the board heard from Olson about a pair of staff retirements, including high school and middle school orchestra teacher Jim Saliny and Paperjack Elementary special services teacher Linda Sislo. The board approved the retirements, so both teachers will retire after the school year.

"Mr. Saliny has been a Tiger for 35 years in many roles, most notably as orchestra teacher and taking that program. I think we are all aware of what he has done and what the benefits of that program have allowed for our kids. Words can't express it," Olson said.

Saliny also coached several sports throughout his teaching career at New Richmond, including hockey and he is currently the golf coach.

"Thank you for 35 wonderful years....This program has really grown and I hope the orchestra program will continue," Saliny said during the meeting. "My years here have been a wonderful, wonderful experience. I never thought I'd be here for 35 years. This is a wonderful district to be part of."

Sislo has been a Tiger for 24 years in total working in the special education department.

"We want to thank her for her hours and the relationships that she built with our special ed students," Olson said. "So we want to thank her for her service."

Curriculum and instruction

Olson brought two recommendations to the board during the meeting: one for a new class and the other a new math curriculum for students with significant disabilities.

The new course Ferguson proposed was English 12 - Applied Communications I & II, which would be a year long course that would focus on communication, including effective listening, speaking, reading and writing in life and at work. The first semester of the course would be offered as a transcripted credit WITC course, while the second semester of the course would be offered as an advanced standing course for WITC.

The second recommendation was for a new math curriculum for student with the most significant disabilities that impact learning, adaptive skills and communication. The curriculum would be for the approximately 10 to 15 students at the elementary school level whose curriculum is not aligned to common core standards but rather aligned to alternative standards known as Essential Elements. Up to now, the teachers have created their own resources for the Essential Elements. However, the recommendation was to use a new program, called Equals Math created by AbleNet, to meet the math needs of the students. The program is aligned to the standards in which the students are tested when they participate in the Dynamic Learning Maps assessment, which takes the place of the Forward exam.

The board approved both the new course and the new math curriculum.

Other business

• Olson announced that high school agriscience teacher Rachel Sauvola was named the 2017 WAEE Formal Educator of the Year.

• The board accepted the 2015-2016 district financial audit report.

• The board approved the purchase of a pickup replacement recommendation. The approved bid came from Bernard's for $26,295.

• Olson gave a short presentation on the New Richmond Recreation Planning Final Report for the board and discussed what the next steps of the project.

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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