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Parking lot, house purchase approved

Parking lot, house purchase approved Parking lot, house purchase approved

The Marathon Board of Education last week Wednesday voted to provide Marathon Cheese Corp. staging space at Marathon Area Elementary School (MAES) for an expansion project in exchange for a $100,000 donation towards a parking lot. It also voted to acquire a house west of Marathon High School at a price not to exceed $167,000 for a possible future campus expansion. With the board action, Marathon Cheese Corp will begin July 5 to amass materials and workers on the MAES campus north of the current 42-car parking lot adjacent to Fourth Street.

The school district will receive the $100,000 payment to be put towards what engineering firm Rettler Corp., Stevens Point, has estimated to be a $395,000 parking lot. The new 117-car lot will be lighted and served with sidewalk and curb and gutter.

District administrator Rick Parks said he has been in conversation with Marathon Cheese Corp. officials about the project. He said a fence will separate workers from MAES students.

Parks said the net $295,000 cost of the new parking lot will be paid for from an estimated $200,000 in general operations savings this year due to COVID- 19 plus some amount of fund balance.

Board member Jodi DeBroux abstained from voting on the parking lot motion.

The board directed administrator Parks to purchase the home at 100 Second Street from Margaret Shidell, Sr. for a price between $140,000 to $167,000. Board members told Parks to try and buy the home for eight percent over its listed market value in order to be consistent with other home purchases on that block.

With the home purchase, Marathon School District will own the entire block of homes and could move forward with a possible project.

Parks said a long-term planning committee might wish to consider placing a parking lot on that block so that all Marathon High School students would leave and enter the building from the school’s west entrance.

“That’s better than having students using both the front and back entrance,” he said.

Board president Brian Gumz said board members needed to act on the house purchase now or regret losing an opportunity.

“This is an opportunity and if we miss it, it will not help our long-term planning,” he said. “This house is the last piece of the puzzle.”

Board member Lia Klumpyan agreed. “If we can do it, finally, we should take advantage of it,” she said.

Parks told board members that the school district would pay for the home from its “healthy” $1.7 million fund balance.

In other board business:

_ Board members approved resigna- tions: Sarah Budny, MAES/Marathon Venture Academy (MVA) principal; Kassie Klump, prom advisor; Christine Krautkramer, MAES teacher assistant; and Jeni Luzinski, MAES/MVA counselor.

_ Principal Budny said there were 57 students registered for July summer school, including four virtual students. She said that the school could staff a first session, but not a second session of the summer school.

The school, she said, would require social distancing as recommended by the Marathon County Health Department.

_ Board members granted district administrator Parks and high school principal Dave Beranek 2.5 percent annual raises. Following a closed session, the board compensated administrator Parks for 10 unused days of vacation.

_ Board members discussed opening the Marathon Wellness Center and hiring people to ensure that users are wiping down fitness machines and observing six feet social distancing. Board members suggested that a high school student could be hired for this job.

Administrator Parks said hours of the Wellness Center would need to shift based on when an attendant would be able to work.

Board member Ted Knoeck said he liked the idea of reopening the Wellness Center but questioned what kind of schedule would work once school resumes in the fall.

_ Board members said they wanted to try paperless meetings with packets of materials available to board members online.

_ Principal Dave Beranek said computer use by district teachers and students dramatically increased since Feb. 26 with distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said student and teacher emails totalled 911,878, an increase of 86 percent from the prior three months. The district had 86 active Google Classroom classes and MVA and Marathon High School had a maximum of 410 unique visitors online. The school saw its Google Hangouts increase to 6,702.

_ Board members approved a list of fall coaches. The coaches include, by sport, as follows: football, Ryan Winkler, head coach; Connor Ellenbecker, varsity assistant coach; Rob Love and Brad Bernarde, JV/assistant coach; Jeff Schneider, Chad Thurs and Chuck Baldeschwiler, junior high coach; volleyball, Nicole Schneider and Lynelle Love, co-head coach; Paige Wirkus, junior varsity coach; Danielle Jacobson and Kayla Laher, junior high coach; cross country: EJ Otto, head coach; Gina Smith and Tera Fieri, junior varsity coach.

_ Board members hired Tera Fieri as an instructional coach and Carly Saeger to handle district payroll.

_ Administrator Parks reported that the food service program served 4,138 lunches and breakfasts that were picked up curbside during the period of COVID-19 distance learning.