WDC to lose 90 years of experience
The Wadena-Deer Creek School board accepted retirement notices from two long-time employees at the school during their last regular meeting Sept. 17.
Joyce Boyne, senior bookkeeper at WDC, has been employed with the school for 50 years, her coworker Vicky Schmitz, accounts payable employee, has been at the district for 40 years. Both wrote letters to the school Superintendent Lee Westrum announcing their plans to retire at the end of December 2018.
In her letter, Boyne spoke of the difficult decision to leave the place she's known for so long.
"This is possibly the most difficult decision I have ever made, but, it is time for me to spend more time with my family and my hobbies. I will always cherish the past 50 years as a WDC employee. Thank you for being a part of it."
Westrum said this was a big loss for the school, and he personally said it was a loss as the two had an immense amount of school knowledge to share. Coming in about five years ago to the district, he learned a great deal from them. He called Joyce the district historian.
"Not sure I've ever been at a meeting where you lose 90 years of experience in one evening," Westrum said. "It's quite a loss for us."
Business manager Brian Jacobson also gave the two praise saying he felt confident the process was in good hands with the two employees.
Boyne's retirement is effective Dec. 31, 2018.
The board also accepted resignations of Jennifer Shreves MS/HS Para and Kim Klautzman- food services. They also accepted hiring Alicia Page- elementary para and Julie Meltzer- Kids Club Para. The board approved lane changes for Holly Becker, Mary Ellenson, Mandy Gallant, Danielle Grieger, Rachael Johnson, Sara Lenz, Zach Martin, Alyssa Morlock, Loni Niles, Kelly Shrode, Kevin Tumberg, Heidi VanDyke, Monica Watson and Brad Wollum. The lane changes were made as the employees advanced their own educations.
In budgeting talks the board approved a transfer of $89,000 into the Community Service Fund, an amount to balance a deficit in the fund. The school had budgeted about $161,000 for the school readiness/preschool fund but actual expenditures for the 2018 school year were closer to $222,000, a roughly $60,000 difference, Business Manager Brian Jacobson showed the board. There was also a $29,000 deficit in the School Age Care fund, adding up to the $89,000 deficit. The increases in spending were attributed to expansions to the early childhood programs. Westrum said these are services to the community but the goal is to also break even.
The board unanimously passed the resolution to transfer the funds from the General Fund noting the importance of the programs, including early childhood programs ability to retain students in the district.
The board approved a preliminary levy at the maximum levy limitation of $2,054,650.26. That represents a 5 percent overall increase from last year and a $274,230 increase to the general fund. This amount could come down, but cannot go up before the levy amount is approved in December.
Superintendent Westrum shared that the WDC enrollment had increased slightly from the end of last year's school year (997) to the start of this year (1,002). Westrum was glad to see stable numbers despite losing many foreign exchange students. The district hosted 23 last year but only six for the start of this year.
The school district is looking at ways to improve areas that have been built as rain gardens in the past around the Middle/High School. Westrum said he'd like to turn the spots into grass as it would be lower maintenance. The board did not object to the idea of removing mulch from the areas and placing sod there. Westrum was not favorable of rock gardens, concerned that rocks might be thrown in a parking lot filled with cars.
After major improvements have been made to the looks of the WDC Elementary School, some comments have been that the old "pink" terrazzo flooring clashes badly with those improvements. The board heard that the school is looking to have portions of the flooring sanded and refinished. If that yields good results more may be done. If it's not effective, or not attractive, Westrum suggested they may consider placing a new flooring material over some parts, that matches up with the new colors splashed throughout the school. Westrum wanted to avoid putting money into improving the flooring if they decided to cover it in the near future. The board was in favor of having a contractor show how some of the polishing may look on certain areas.
New board member
The school board entertained an idea to open a non-voting position for a WDC student to sit on the school board. The idea came up after Westrum was approached by an interested student. The student would be eligible for a Minnesota School Board Association scholarship if the position is in fact opened.