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Cadott School Board; Summer facility updates getting a closer look

Updates to the Cadott high school gym and bathroom area were on the table for discussion, during a regular school board meeting, Jan. 11, as board members discussed the timetable for the remodeling.

Ryan Beachem, director of building and grounds, brought the ideas for updates to the December Committee of the Whole meeting, based on things that need doing and feedback from the general public. He suggested replacing the bleachers, floor and air handling units, and remodeling the commons area bathrooms.

Previously, the board proposed bringing the updates to strategic planning, to get a greater amount of community in put on the project.

Ced Boettcher, board member, says he does not think the district should wait on making the updates. Boettcher expressed concerns that the bleachers could become a safety hazard and pointed out that the district has the money for the updates in Fund 46.

“I know that floor, we talked about redoing that floor when I was still working here and I’ve been gone for a while,” said board member Donna Albarado.

Albarado also says the bathrooms at the end of the commons do not look very nice and says she knows there have been issues with the bathrooms over weekend events.

Rod Tegels, board president, asked what point in remodeling projects state approval will be needed and when an engineer will be necessary.

Beachem says an engineer will be needed for the bathroom updates, as well as any of the other projects that require structural changes. He also says the engineering can take six months for projects like the bathroom, so waiting much longer could push the project back another year.

Beachem says he has ballpark estimates for the projects, but can’t get official bids until after an engineer draws up plans.

Tegels asked if it was fair to have the administration, and building and grounds team to figure out what they would like to get done this summer, and form a presentation, with the understanding that it may be a two-summer approach. The other board members agreed.

Since the item was not slated for action, the board will take action on moving forward with the projects at the next Committee of the Whole meeting.

Kim Shult, Baker Tilly, also gave the 2019-20 audit report. Shult started by looking at the general fund and the fund balance the district has.

“That fund balance has been very stable,” said Shult.

She says they look at the adequacy of the fund balance, by comparing it to the annual general fund expenditures. As a percentage, the district’s fund balance is 16.52 percent of the annual expenditures. Shult says it is recommended that the district maintain a minimum of two months of fund balance, for cash flow and to cover unexpected expenses.

“You’re right at that level,” said Shult.

Tegels asked what the maximum fund balance recommended is. Shult says four or five months is typically the maximum they recommend.

“If your fund balance gets to be too high, you could really question if you’re taxing the citizens too much,” said Shult.

Shult also gave an overview of the other funds and gave board members the opportunity to ask any questions they had.

Superintendent Jenny Starck also gave a COVID-19 school update. She says starting Jan. 11, students in grades 4K through six, began attending in-person four days per week, with Wednesday work time. Starck says the tentative plan is to bring all students in kindergarten through grade 12, back to in-person classes five days per week, Jan. 18.

Board members also heard an update on the grading manual, as well as steps the district is taking to help students with failing grades. Action steps included Wednesday work time, analysis of reasons for failing grades and creating “fix-it plans” for struggling students.

Members also approved the resignation of Kathryn Paff, special education aide.

Thank you for the opportunity to assist the students at Cadott Schools, wrote Paff. They have truly been a blessing in my life and I will miss them.