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Colby schools looking to hire full-time nurse

With concerns over COVID-19 still lingering and a number of high-needs students in the district, Colby’s school board voted July 20 to authorize the hiring of a full-time nurse for the school year.

For the past 18 years, the district has had contracted with an outside employee for four hours of nursing services per week, but superintendent Steve Kolden thinks there’s going to be enough work for someone to be on site full-time throughout the school year.

“We’re going to need a lot more nursing services,” he said.

Kolden said the increased demand is due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and an influx of students who have special medical needs.

When asked if the district could share the nursing position with Abbotsford, Kolden said the neighboring district gets its nursing services through the Marathon County Special Education, a consortium Colby does not belong to.

The motion to create the 80 percent full-time position — 160 days per year – was contingent on a review after the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

_ The board accepted the resignation of special education teacher Sonja Hasz.

_ The board approved the hiring of Chrisie Wright as head middle school volleyball coach, Sarah Adams as assistant middle school volleyball coach, Carmen Wells as vocal music teacher, Kiersten Rogowski as agriculture teacher, and Austin Depner as special education teacher. Teacher Kris Woik was transferred to first grade to replace Jill Spindler, who is leaving the district.

_ The board official approved a new shared services agreement for the new athletic director being shared with the Abbotsford School District, Jerry Smith. Smith is splitting his time 50/50 between the two districts, which are splitting his $55,500 salary in half.

_ The board renewed its shared services agreement with the Spencer School District for library/media specialist Nancy Becker, who spends 20 percent of her time in Spencer schools. In exchange, Spencer pays $16,342 toward her annual salary and benefits.

_ Kolden said state officials have been “very, very quiet” about the 2020-2021 budget, but he said tax revenues are down by about $173 million, which could create a shortfall of as much as $3 billion for the current biennium.

“I’m a little worried about a budget repair bill, which could impact school funding,” he said. “With the election coming up, I don’t think you’re going to hear anything from our legislature until after November.”