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Kobussen receives partial payment for contract


Cadott School Board

After multiple discussions, the Cadott School Board decided what payment to offer Kobussen Buses, after the COVID- 19 health crisis ended in-school classes in March.

During a regular meeting June 8, Cadott School Board members voted in favor of offering the busing service $73,552.05 to partially cover the contract that was not used during the school closure.

Superintendent Jenny Starck said the $73,000 covers roughly half of the regular routes.

Starck said since the Committee of the Whole meeting May 27, the district received a request from Joe Kobussen, president of Kobussen Buses, which asked for half of the regular routes amount, plus half of the extra-curricular/athletic trips that would have occurred between the school shutdown and the end of the year.

“My recommendation hasn’t changed,” said Starck.

Starck reminded the board that the district is expected to receive about $116,000 through the CARES Act.

“We have had a fair amount of pressure from legislators that have said if we do not pay any part of our transportation contracts, they will look to remove that CARES Act money from us,” said Starck.

Brad Sonnentag, board member, asked if 50 percent of the regular routes is enough to keep everyone happy.

Starck said it is arguably fair compensation and similar to what other districts without minimum payments in their contracts, are doing.

The motion to pay $73,552.05 to Kobussen for the unused part of the contract passed with five in favor (Rod Tegels, Donna Albarado, Al Sonnentag, Cedric Boettcher, Becca Blanchette) and two opposed (Mark Schley, B. Sonnentag).

Members also voted in favor of a number of bids for the construction of a greenhouse.

Albarado asked how large the greenhouse will be. Keith Becker, agricultural education teacher, said the greenhouse is 24x30 feet and will be placed next to his classroom.

Tegels asked what the yearly cost to run and maintain the greenhouse will be. Ryan Beachem, director of buildings and grounds, says it will cost about $2,000 per year for heat, water and electricity.

Becker said the cost will be offset by growing lettuce for the school.

“It will also be offset as we expand that vegetable production,” said Becker, adding those will go into the school lunch program.

Boettcher asked if more than just agriculture students will get to use the greenhouse.

“My goal is to open it up to the rest of the science teachers,” said Becker.

He says he would eventually like to bring younger grades in and will try to branch out as much as he can.

Members approved purchasing the greenhouse from United Greenhouse for $35,621; concrete for the greenhouse from Terry John Concrete for $5,160; plumbing/gas installation from Certified Plumbing, not to exceed $8,900; electrical for the greenhouse from Roshell Electric for $6,461; and benching for the greenhouse from Farm Tek for $1,987.

“So, we want to thank the Cadott FFA Alumni for donating $30,000, also, to this project,” said Boettcher.

Board members also voted in favor of purchasing a 10-person passenger van, Beachem said there is a used 2019 van from Eau Claire Ford for $28,995. He said they were initially looking at a new 2020 van, from Coutesy Ford for $33,900, but is no longer sure if it is available.

Starck says the vans are used for some extracurricular and sport trips, instead of a bus.

“The demand for the 10-passenger is every week, when school is in session,” said Beachem of requests to use the vans.

The vote for a 10-passenger van, not to exceed $34,000, from a vendor of choice, passed with six in favor (Tegels, A. Sonnentag, B. Sonnentag, Alabarado, Blanchette, Boettcher) and one opposed (Schley).

Board members also voted on a 1-1 Technology Initiative Plan for grades seven to 12.

Starck said the board had talked about the plan during a Committee of the Whole meeting and expressed concerns over the insurance fee. She says the plan had been pulled from other districts.

“Some of them have different economic conditions than ours,” said Starck.

She says they changed the insurance from $50 to $25.

“It’s not refundable,” said Starck. “It’s kind of like an insurance for us.”

She says if everyone pays, hopefully not everyone breaks their Chromebook.

“Chromebooks are typically what are used in districts, because they have that durability ratio to functionality,” said Starck.

B. Sonnentag, board member, asked how much the Chromebooks cost. Sue Shakal, director of finance, said they cost around $345 or $390 each.

Sonnentag asked if there was a way parents could opt in to upgrade the Chromebooks to a better Chromebook, since his family had issues with them in areas with slower internet. Starck said they probably wouldn’t do that, because it could perpetuate disparity.

Members voted in favor of the language in the 1-1 Technology Initiative Plan, with the ability to change the device specified after more discussion.

Albarado suggested B. Sonnentag contact government representatives about improving connectivity in rural areas.

“Be proactive,” said Albarado.

Boettcher, board member, suggested the board could even entertain passing a resolution on the matter at a future meeting, if they would like.

Members also approved a bid from Senn Blacktop for $38,505, to replace the blacktop in the high school parking lot near the church.

“Does the church use that parking lot, then?” asked Schley.

Schley also wondered if the church helped with the cost of the parking lot.

Shakal says there is a gentleman’s agreement that the church is allowed to use the lot during services.

“We do use their hall for it’s kind of a swap,” said Boettcher.

Members also accepted a bid to replace the stage lights from Main Stage for $35,910.

“The stage lights are so hot and inefficient, that we’ll actually, in the long run, be better ahead,” said Starck.

Also approved, a clock replacement bid from American Time for $13,262.71. Blanchette asked what the logo on the clocks will be. Starck said a little hornet logo will go on the clocks for no extra charge.

Members also voted in favor to move teachers to an established salary schedule and provide all other employee groups a 2.3 percent salary increase, for the 2020-21 school year.

The board also voted in favor of adding staffing. The positions are half-time math teacher, half-time science teacher, half-time instructional coach and half-time alternative education coordinator.

Tegels asked what the district is hoping to improve by adding the positions.

“For math, a lot of that piece will be allowing some double instruction for the bridge courses,” said Starck, adding that the bridge classes provide support for students who struggle, instead of putting the students in an easier class.

Starck says the science teacher would help eliminate overload worked by two other science teachers.

“That’s just to fill all of the course requests that we have,” said Starck.

B. Sonnentag questioned what the overload pay will be for the science teachers. Starck said it will probably be about $25.50 an hour.

Members voted in favor of the staffing, with four in favor (Albarado, A. Sonnentag, Boettcher, Blanchette) and three opposed (B. Sonnentag, Schley, Tegels).

The board approved a 3-year-old head start contract and 4K head start partnership though Head Start out of CESA 11.

Members also approved the hire of Macey Staab, family and consumer science teacher. The board also approved the resignation of Jordan Risberg as the junior high girls basketball coach. All current winter and spring coaching assignments were also approved to be offered for the 2020-21 school year.

At a Committee of the Whole meeting May 27, members accepted a bid for floor tile replacements from Independent Flooring, for $52,000, to replace the tile in the downstairs hallway in the junior/senior high building.

Members also approved music instrument bids from Brickhouse for $18,949 and two pianos for $17,040.75.

“And those were very long overdue,” said Starck.

During the committee meeting, the board also discussed graduation. Starck says no action was taken on graduation, since July 10 had been chosen as the graduation date at a previous meeting, based on feedback from parents. However, guidance from the county health department was discussed.

Starck says the current plan is to have students come in with their group of 10 or less, and go through the auditorium.

“That could change, if we’re able to do a larger group or do something more between now and July 10,” said Starck.

The celebration will be taped, including the valedictorian and salutatorian speeches.