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Minimum hours waived for remainder of school year

Lake Holcombe School Board

Normally, schools are required to have 1,050 hours of instruction in kindergarten through sixth grade, and 1,137 hours in grades seven through 12. However, after schools closed statewide in March, because of the COVID-19 pandemic that swept the nation, special concessions were made.

With no objections during a public hearing as part of the regular Lake Holcombe School Board meeting April 27, according to Wis. Stat. Sections 118.31, the minimum hours of instruction were waived by the board.

“With the COVID-19 closures, schools are not able to meet those minimum required hours,” said superintendent Kurt Lindau.

Looking ahead to the 2020-21 middle/ high school schedule, members heard a plan for time periods to move from 42 minutes to 45 minutes.

“The master schedule is kind of a fine balancing act put together,” said principal Mark Porter. “We’re cementing in a pilot that we tried fourth quarter, with the grab-and-go breakfast, for about 10 minutes.”

During the time it ran, 70-80 middle/high school students who never ate breakfast, utilized the program.

“So, it was very popular,” said Lindau. “As I said from the beginning, the impact on students in learning should be positive, because you have all these kids who aren’t eating breakfast.”

Lindau says it’s like kids’ bodies woke up around 9 a.m., and realized they were hungry, and that the grab-and-go provided a second chance for breakfast.

“That’s definitely there to stay,” said Lindau.

Something that could be approved, was the Northwest Area Health Insurance Cooperative renewal, which uses the Security Health Plan. As part of the consortium, schools informed Security Health they would accept a 5 percent or less increase, and would not go out to bid as a consortium.

“They came with a rate coming in at 4.9 percent,” said Lindau. “It’s about a $26,000 increase for health insurance for our employees.”

The board approved the renewal and also agreed to pay 25 percent of what the spring coaches contract would have been, after Lindau pointed out that some work had been done, prior to the canceling of the sports/activities season. Members also agreed to increase the base rate pay of support staff and administrative support staff for next year, by 2 percent, as well as the principal’s base rate wage by 2 percent. Porter also asked that his accumulated paid leave payout upon retirement be in the amount of $100 per day.

It’s unclear what the start of the new school year will look like, but meals will continue, as the board approved Amy Linskey as the new school nutrition program director/head cook.

Also filling the open activity director position, is Todd Senoraske.

The board also approved Sabrina Burlingame as a middle school volleyball co- coach.

Unfortunately, some farewells were also said, as the board accepted the resignation of Jeannette Fijalkiewicz as a kitchen assistant, with Fijalkiewicz citing health reasons as to why she was unable to keep up with her duties on a daily basis.

I appreciate the experience and opportunities the district has allowed me to be a part of, she wrote. It has been very rewarding to serve so many on a daily basis. I am proud of our students and staff at Lake Holcombe School, and will miss everyone very much.

Mary Kostka, assistant girls basketball coach, also mentioned she has had some health issues, and needs to focus on her health and family, which prompted her step down from her coaching position.

I thank the school for the wonderful opportunity to work with some truly talented young ladies, wrote Kostka, who earlier had resigned as head cook. I truly feel that we have an amazing program going and look forward to seeing what the next few years bring.

Ryan Hartzell also stepped down as a comiddle school girls basketball coach.

I had a great time and enjoyed watching the kids grow, wrote Hartzell. I will continue to watch from the bleachers and cheer them on.

Members also accepted $15.55 from Eastbay Lodge to the band program, and breakfast and lunch meal delivery supplies from Jennifer Heidtke.

In the closing minutes of the meeting, president Brian Guthman thanked staff, teachers and everyone involved with the school, who keep students fed and learning. He said people tell him every day what a good job the district is doing during this diffi cult time.

“I know that you’re doing the very best job,” said Guthman.