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Sporting event spectator policy mirrors opposing team

By Julia Wolf

The Cadott School Board tackled the issue of how many spectators will be allowed to attend fall sporting events, during a regular meeting Sept. 14.

District administrator Jenny Starck explained the Cadott School District voted in favor of allowing open attendance for spectators, during the conference voting procedures, but Cadott was the only vote for that piece.

Starck said other district’s approaches to the issue varies, with some not allowing spectators, while others do allow some people to attend the sporting events.

Starck presented a draft recommendation where each student athlete would be given two tickets for family members to attend. Spectators would only watch the event their student is in, so spectators would switch between JV and varsity games, and no concessions would be offered.

Ticketing allows the district to keep track of who attended, so if there is exposure, the district knows who was there.

Starck says the district is working to get livestreaming for all sporting events going.

“Right now, the plan is not to charge for any attendees, because it’ll already be kind of complicated enough, keeping track of who’s coming,” said Starck.

Board president Rod Tegels asked if the two spectators per athlete, was different for inside and outside events, or if it was the same across the board.

Starck said the recommendation is the same for indoor and outdoor, in part for simplicity. She also said the big gym and football field also have similar capacities, but understands if the board decides to do something different for football than volleyball, since games are outdoors.

Mark Schley, board member, said he thinks two tickets per student is too restrictive. He asked if there are some schools that would not play Cadott, if they change the recommendations presented.

“I believe we have some flexibility,” said Starck, adding that the suggested two tickets aligns with most other districts.

“I think we want to allow as many family members as we can, but we don’t want to lose any games,” said Schley.

Steve Mengel, athletic director, says two tickets seems generally accepted, but the max is four. He said those discussions happened in the Cloverbelt Conference and reminded everyone football is part of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference.

After some additional discussion, it was suggested Cadott mirror the opposing team’s policy for spectators.

“I don’t think that this is unreasonable, with what has been brought up in the AD meetings,” said Mengel.

Mengel says communication between all parties involved, will be vital moving forward.

Members voted in favor of mirroring the opposing team’s spectator rules.

Members also approved a roofing bid for the south side of the high school, from RTS Roofing for $168,983.

“Some of this is connected to the storm damage that we had when the tornado went through,” said Starck, referring to the tornado that touched down in July.

The damaged portion of the roof will be covered by insurance and the surrounding roof, close to 20 years old, will be done at the same time.

The estimated insurance coverage for the damaged portion of the roof is $49,663.

Board members also discussed online learning options and livestreaming. Providing a livestreaming option was voted on at a previous meeting.

Part of the plan would be to prioritize getting document cameras and webcams for each teacher. Some hotspot purchases, available for families without access, is also a focus.

“There are a lot of areas that don’t even have cell service to support a hotspot,” said Starck.

Starck says high-speed internet is needed in order for students to watch their classes in real time, something many families in the district do not have.

The plan proposed by Starck is more of a phase-in, making more online options available for students as connectivity in their homes allows.

Brad Sonnentag, board member, asked about taping lessons for students who do not have fast enough internet at home to livestream. Starck says they are not recording lessons now, but could be started if necessary.

Starck also says livestreaming, not recordings, is needed in order to count as the same level of instruction offered in the classroom, so families would not be able to chose recorded lessons as their learning platform.

Starck says the document cameras are about $2,500.

Members voted in favor of approving the infrastructure to livestream, as soon as the equipment is available.

Ced Boettcher, board member, says he is in support of anything that helps students, but says the plan is not providing each kid equal opportunity, because of accessibility issues.

In other business, members approved the hire of Claire Koxlien, assistant cross country coach; Teresa Marquardt, fourth-grade teacher; Jodean Kendall, paraprofessional; Joseph Semanko, paraprofessional; and Cynthia Bergman, 0.25 paraprofessional.

In the information section of the meeting, Lisa Voisen, Baird Associates, talked about debt refinancing options. Voisen says interest rates have fallen to around 1.6 percent or 1.7 percent, as opposed to 2-3 percent in 2013, and savings from refinancing could be between $150,000 and $175,000.

She says no additional debt will be taken on, only restructuring debt, and the term will not change. Voisen says she sets a minimum threshold and will lock in if the rates fall below that threshold.

The board will vote on a resolution to refinance at an upcoming meeting.

Starck also gave a reopening update. She says the district is still working on some improvements.

“The trickiest parts for us, are kind of drop-off/pick-up, lunchtimes, those times that, in the past, have not been quite as structured,” said Starck.

Starck says a new thing that did start after the weekly meeting with Chippewa County Public Health and other districts in the county, siblings of students showing COVID-19 symptoms will also be sent home.

“Other than that, we’re happy to have kids back in school, we’re happy to have people here and looking forward to some additional time with that,” said Starck.

As a reminder to the public, the annual meeting will be held Monday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m., in the high school auditorium.