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District facilities are there for public to utilize

Cornell School Board

The Cornell School District has two buildings, two commons areas and two gyms at its disposal, and as was discussed at a regular Cornell School Board meeting Jan. 23, it’s a good thing when the facilities are used by the public.

Donna Shifflett, co-coordinator of the Small Town Storm Traveling Volleyball Club, is one who knows first-hand how important the school buildings are to the community. Shifflett appeared before the board, questioning if the club will be charged fees, as, in its fifth year, the organization is seeing more and more kids join.

“Is there something that we’re not accommodating right now, that you need?” asked superintendent Paul Schley.

Shifflett said that’s not the case.

“The school has been more than gracious, letting us use the gyms,” said Shifflett.

In the first year of its life, the club had one team, but now, with 49 players (18 from the Cornell School District) and six teams, Shifflett says she is concerned, as the club is taking up as much as 12 hours a week of gym time, knowing others utilize the facilities as well.

“We keep growing,” said Shifflett. “I just wanted to be proactive and make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

Dave Elliott, middle and high school principal, said when it comes to facility management for the district, school offi cials make sure Cornell kids are involved in the activities, as well as other things.

“What we look for, is involvement that is non-profit based,” said Elliott.

Shifflett said while the club does charge dues, neither she nor co-coordinator Kaitee Sigmund are paid positions. Shiffl ett also said, in the past, the club has been able to donate some money to the school and hopes to do so again.

Elliott said since the league the club belongs to requires background checks and training, the safety of the kids is not a concern. He also said insurance is taken care of and that after use of the school facilities, the club has not left messes when they are done.

“It’s working well,” said Elliott.

Board treasurer Stephanie Seidlitz added her thoughts to the matter, saying she knows the coaches put a lot of time and energy into the club.

“It doesn’t go unnoticed,” said Seidlitz.

Ironically, the district also received a thank you note from organizers of the Kids Community Christmas Party, expressing gratefulness over the school’s annual support and use of the facility. It was estimated more than 800 people attended the free happening, receiving a free meal the first week of December.

“Just like volleyball, we’ve always encouraged people to use our facilities,” said Schley. “That’s why they’re here.”

Elliott was also grateful, this time to Marcus Leland and the kids in the high school Student Council. The council held a fundraiser in December, collecting money for a family in need, who has had health issues and travel expenses.

Through the fundraiser, the council gave the family over $200 in gas cards.

“That’s impressive,” said Elliott.

Turning to the business portion of the meeting, members approved hiring Allison Spegal as a district administrative assistant, taking over for the retiring Peggy Patten. Spegal graduated from Cornell High School in 2015, and attended UW-Eau Claire.

“She’s been working at a business in the Eau Claire area, dong administrative assistant work, payroll, HR,” said Schley. “She fits the bill with what we’re looking for, as far as filling Mrs. Patten’s position now.”

Spegal begins with the district Feb. 3, with Patten staying on a few more days after that, to show Spegal the ropes. Schley said if it works out well, Spegal could also train for bookkeeper Cheryl Geissler’s position, when Geissler retires in the future.

The board also approved Chloe Zeman as the assistant middle school girls basketball coach.