$4 million project to start at close of school year
Wadena-Deer Creek students will once again be asked to take part in a school move out day May 30 at the elementary school in order to prepare for the second phase of construction to begin at the close of school.
Damien Williams senior project manager with ICS Consulting firm shared how the school will be putting in the final $4 million of work into the elementary school to complete the two year upgrade of the school HVAC, as well as an upgrade to most all parts of the school from basement to roof top.
"It's going to be a busy summer," Williams said as he spoke to the school board Monday, May 20.
Staff mentioned an open house for the finished school in the fall for the community to tour the updated building.
In other actions, the board:
• Recognized Sara Goetze and Cole Pearson students involved in the BPA program at WDC that attended a national BPA event.
• Recognized FCCLA students heading to the national convention. The board heard speeches from Morgan Grangruth and Elliot Doyle.
• Approved three new hires including Kyle Hagen as head wrestling coach; Christine Ruda, Title I teacher; Samantha Samsa, Title I teacher.
• Approved resignations of Trent Johnson, fourth-grade teacher and coach; Tracy Church, adult basic education teacher; Holly Lillis, Deer Creek cleaner; and Linda Uscola, adult basic education teacher.
• Heard about adult basic education lay-off notices due to dissolution of adult basic education consortium. Supt. Lee Westrum noted that the action is not related to performance, it is related to the dissolution of the consortium. Employees involved include Cherilyn Danielson, Pelican Rapids; Leah Hamann, Bluffton; and Stephanie Drange, Wadena.
• Westrum noted he has sent off letters to Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka urging him to consider education funding formula friendly for rural districts. He later sent a thank you letter to Gazelka for his work with the funding.
• Received information about the proposed 2020 budget, which showed a projected fund balance increase of $310,339 with an estimated 1,035 ADM (average daily membership). More discussion will continue on this budget at the June meeting.
• Received in their packets information about capital requests. Some of those included tables at the elementary school, band equipment, roughly $41,000 in grounds equipment and a new bus at a cost of about $104,000. Total requests came in at around $221,000.
• Heard from two kindergarten teachers Mrs. Morlock and Mrs. Gallant as well as principal Louis Rutten about the need for a fifth section of kindergarten. That means one additional kindergarten teacher is needed. With a projected 84 kindergartens, that's about 16-17 students per section. Rutten was thankful to the preschool for preparing students for kindergarten and making connections with families to get solid numbers expected for the next school year. The teachers commented that adding a section was a good move for many reasons, one being that a larger class size means more time is needed to create important relationships with the students.
• Rutten noted that K-4 grades became ENVOY certified as a demonstration site.
• Heard from Supt. Westrum that a retirement party was held for staff with 194 years of service represented.
• Heard that Westrum will be in conversations with the Deer Creek mayor and DEED regarding the future use of the Deer Creek School as the Freshwater Education District will be moving out of that location with the completion of the new building in Wadena. The school board will meet at the Deer Creek location in June for a meeting and visit of the site.