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Kobussen asks for some payment to make ends meet

Kobussen asks for some payment to make ends meet Kobussen asks for some payment to make ends meet

Cadott School Board

With the unanticipated changes to the 2019-20 school year, Kobussen Buses asked the district to consider making some payments toward the contract, during a regular meeting May 11, to help keep the busing company going.

“Our transportation contract with them does not specifically have payments around when school is closed,” said Jenny Starck, superintendent.

Starck says the district is working with Kobussen for lunch deliveries.

She said the board could consider a partial payment of the contract and added the federal CARES Act contains some language about honoring contracts to the extent practicable.

Pat Mulcahy, regional general manager with Kobussen Buses, spoke to the board about ongoing costs and how the school closures have affected their business. He says they have continued to pay drivers, as if they are working.

“Obviously, these are strange times,” said Mulcahy.

Mulcahy says the contract between the busing company and the district is structured around expected school days. He says they have visited with other districts and most of them have been open to discussing payments with Kobussen.

Twenty percent of the districts are paying between 45-65 percent of the contract, 42 percent are paying 85 percent of their contract. Mulcahy did add that some of the contracts have the payments written in, after all the snow days last school year.

“This is a very low-margin business,” said Mulcahy.

Mulcahy says the company makes most of their money on trips and sports, the majority of which are in the spring.

“We never hit our profitability period this year,” said Malcahy, adding the business’s profit hits about May.

Malcahy says they want to make sure they have drivers and safe buses, come fall.

“So, we’re just asking you guys do whatever you can to help us,” said Mulcahy.

Regardless, he said they would give the district the best service they are capable of.

Sue Shakal, director of finance, says payments to Kobussen will impact state aid next year, if the spending is not made up somewhere else.

See CADOTT SCHOOL BOARD/ Page 3 Stark said six buses run twice a day during the normal school year, plus trips. For 45 days, roughly how many days of school was left when the doors closed, paying for one run per day, the estimated cost would be $135,788.

Mark Schley, board member, said he would like to see if they can help Kobussen now, in exchange for something in return later.

Starck reminded the board Kobussen’s profit margin is small, so she is not sure what they would be able to negotiate for the future.

A decision on the matter was tabled and sent to committee.

Immediately prior to the regular meeting, the Cadott School Board held an organizational meeting. During the meeting, Rod Tegels was elected as president of the board; Al Sonnentag as vice president, Donna Albarado as clerk; and Schley as treasurer.

Members also set meeting times for the board. Brad Sonnentag, board member, asked to talk about if they should continue Committee of the Whole meetings, or return to multiple committees, as the board has done in previous years. B. Sonnentag noted the Committee of the Whole meetings can get lengthy.

“Just from my standpoint, the Committee of the Whole is more streamlined,” said Tegels, adding they do not have to catch up members not on the committee, during the regular meetings.

Schley agreed Committee of the Whole seems more efficient. Albarado also said that being on multiple committees can be time consuming, too, if they all meet that month.

Stark also said holding the meetings in alternating weeks, would make it easier to get information ready for the meetings in a timely fashion.

Members voted to set the regular meeting for the second Monday of the month, at 7 p.m., and Committee of the Whole meetings to be held the last Monday of the month, at 7 p.m.

Members also approved a grading plan for the remainder of the school year. Junior and senior high students can do work to retroact their current third quarter grade, with third quarter grades turning into the final semester grades. A pass/ no pass grading system will be used for the fourth quarter and third trimester for grades seven through 12.

Starck says the plan is consistent with what most schools are doing and most legal opinions around barriers children face learning from home, such as access to the needed materials or programs for study.

The board also approved Tabitha Sikora as the Academic Excellence Scholarship winner and Mitchell Drilling as the Wisconsin Technical Excellence Scholarship winner.

Members also accepted donations from Tiffanie Janzin, for $100; Steve Vuchetich, for $500; and Jane Koehne, for $500; for the student lunch program during the school closure.

Members tabled approving a floor tile bid, saying they would like to hear the comparison between the better and cheaper options. The committee will discuss the issue further.

The board also approved a bid from Superior Sealers, for $20,566, for blacktop repair and sealant, to the high school and elementary school parking lots.

Members also approved the resignation of Caitlin Engel, Family and Consumer Science teacher, and FCCLA adviser.

I have decided to resign from my position to live closer to my family in central Wisconsin, wrote Engel. I have been very fortunate to work at Cadott Junior/Senior High School for the past three years, and am proud of what I have been able to accomplish. I truly appreciate all of the support that the staff and administration has provided to me, and I will very much miss the small school atmosphere.