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Public shows support for Starck’s contract renewal

Public shows support for  Starck’s contract renewal Public shows support for  Starck’s contract renewal

Cadott School Board

Closed sessions happenings and rumors were just two of the things addressed during a Cadott School Board regular meeting, Feb. 10.

Donna Albarado, board clerk, asked that minutes from the regular board meeting Jan. 13, be pulled from the consent agenda for further discussion.

“I’d like the minutes to the closed session on Jan. 13, to reflect the actual vote of a 4-3, which was by secret ballot,” said Albarado. “I’m questioning if the secret ballot was legal, as our policy states secret ballot can only be used to elect officers.”

Albarado read a portion of the policy for the election of officers and a section of the policy pertaining to voting, as well as portions of state policies dealing with the same matters.

“President Tegels, I’d like you to look into the legality of the method of this voting and report back to the board if this was legal,” said Albarado, addressing school board president Rod Tegels.

“Which, I already have, Donna,” said Tegels.

Tegels said he has already talked to the school board attorney Steve Weld and his office about the issue.

“You can use secret ballot anytime you want,” said Tegels. “There are no statutes according to him. I’m not the legal expert, but I already consulted with him.”

“Well, I’ll be checking, too,” said Donna.

Community members also took time during the public comment portion of the meeting to address rumors they have heard and offer support for superintendent Jenny Starck.

“There have been many concerns expressed to me recently, about Jenny Starck being forced to resign,” said Russ Falkenberg, community member and concerned parent. “Whether these concerns are perceived or real, they must be addressed.”

Falkenberg said Starck is well-respected in the school and has changed the culture for the better. He says Starck has helped stop good teachers from leaving, but is worried board actions are reversing those gains. He

See STARCK’S CONTRACT/ Page 4 also noted change takes time, but that he thinks Cadott is trending in the right direction.

Falkenberg expressed concern at some things he has heard about certain school board members, who he did not specifically name.

“One of you had the audacity to state you believe Jenny’s performance review should be tied to the school’s athletic performance,” said Falkenberg. “How about only those students who achieve a passing grade be allowed to participate in athletics?”

Amy Wellner, community member, thanked Starck for always keeping in touch with her when she calls about a concern.

“Since you’ve started with our district, I’ve heard a lot of positivity from staff, and our athletes and our students here in this building, and at the elementary school,” said Wellner.

Wellner said she sees the district making gains, noting any size gain is good when Starck has only been with the district a short time. Wellner also noted everyone would like to see the sports team win, but pointed out it is not always possible if athletes aren’t on the same page.

Heather Wojtczak, an employee of the district for 14 years, also thanked Starck for her work in the district. She said Starck is approachable.

“I feel like our leadership is working together as a team this year, I would say, more so than it has been for several years,” said Wojtczak.

She also says she would like to see a chance for success to happen, especially with a new junior and senior high principal this year.

Community member Bart Chapek said he has seen good come from the school board the past few years, with one of those things being Starck’s hire, noting Starck has been professional when working with him. Chapek also reminded those present that Starck is part of the community.

Lastly, Shari Gunderson spoke as an outsider, after 36 years of working in the district.

“I think everybody is here because of the rumblings that they have heard in the community, whether they be right or wrong,” said Gunderson. “We are ashamed that the school board would even consider removing Jenny Starck as an administrator, whether it be this year, next year or down the road.”

Gunderson also said she found it abhorrent that any part of an administrator’s duty is tied to sports teams performances.

Gunderson also says she finally sees the junior and senior high staff coming together under the leadership of their new principal, and a superintendant who wants to know what is happening in their classrooms and is willing to listen to them.

Following a closed session meeting, board members voted in favor of extending Starck’s contract through June 30, 2022, with automatic rollover provisions, in a unanimous roll call vote.

Members also voted in favor of preliminary teacher non-renewals. Starck says teachers hired after Aug. 1, are only on a one-year contract, so the notices are a reminder. The job position is opened and the teacher can apply for the position again, if they are interested.

In the business portion of the meeting, members discussed facilitating options for strategic plan updates, as discussed at a Committee of the Whole meeting earlier in the month. Board members voted in favor of an initial planning meeting with Howick Associates.

Members also voted in favor of an academic and career plan. Keith Becker, agricultural education teacher, was on hand to describe the outline of the plan. The plan goes grade by grade, starting in sixth grade, with guest speakers to show students what is out there.

“Then, we have our exploratory courses in career and technical education,” said Becker.

After that, students begin taking assessments and surveys to match them to jobs they may be interested in, as well as ACT prep, college visits and job shadowing opportunities.

The board also awarded phone system upgrade bids to TSI, for $25,382.

“We actually have about $7,000 of our school safety grant we can use toward this,” said Starck.

Starck says the new system will allow emergency responders to see which portion of the building a 911 call comes from, as well as some other safety features.

The district also received a higher bid from Cady Business technologies.

Members also approved the resignation of elementary special education teacher Carly Pfeffer.

I was given the opportunity to stay home with my children, and after much thought and consideration, it is what is best for me and my family, wrote Pfeffer in her resignation letter. I appreciate the opportunities Cadott has provided me, as well as the professional guidance and support that has allowed me to grow as an educator. I will truly miss the students, staff and administration.

The board also approved the hire of Jeff Goettl, head football coach; Jason Poehls, assistant football coach; Jeff Trunkel, assistant football coach; Chris McConville, assistant football coach; James Bremness, head volleyball coach; Lynn Schreiner, assistant volleyball coach; Katie Lambert, assistant volleyball coach; Tom Weiss, high school cross country coach; Jodie Chrusciel, junior high volleyball coach; Amber Zastrow, junior high volleyball coach; and Pat Rothbauer, junior high cross country coach.

Members also accepted donations from the Sunshine Club and Citizens State Bank for past due student lunch accounts.