Rhinelander School Board approves projects
By Eileen Persike
The School District of Rhinelander Board of Education approved the hiring of a director of human resources. Michele Cornelius will begin her duties April 1. Prior to Cornelius, professional staff HR was handled by Superintendent Kelli Jacobi and Business Director Marta Kwiatkowski was responsible for the support staff.
The board also hired Rachel Hoffman as the district’s director of instruction. She will replace Teri Maney, who is leaving the district to become superintendent at the Three Lakes School District. Hoffman has been serving as the district’s Title I math interventionist and has worked closely with Maney the past few years. She will begin her new responsibilities July 1.
Bowen’s Bus Service was awarded a five-year contract to transport School District of Rhinelander students from the 2019-20 school year through the 2023-24 school year. Requests for proposals were made to eight bus service providers, with only Bowen’s and Dairyland Buses, Inc. of Waukesha returning proposals. Bowen’s, the district’s current provider, was the lowest cost. One requirement in the new contract will be that Bowen’s obtain a scheduling program with GPS that is compatible with the student data and reporting software and be installed and operational prior to the start of the 2019-20 school year.
Lease agreement for Hodag Connections Learning Center
School District of Rhinelander’s alternative education programs have a new home. The board approved a two-year lease at 51 N. Brown Street, the former location of Anytime Fitness. Maggie Peterson, director of Special Education-Pupil Services, said the off-site program will provide an alternative educational environment for students who may suffer from anxiety and health issues, who have a negative reaction to the traditional setting, or have other issues that prevent them from being successful at school. Individual learning opportunities will exist for students 4-K through grade 12. The lease takes effect Monday, April 1 and will run through March 31, 2021 and the cost is $3,000 per month.
Kitchen remodel at Crescent; ground breaking planned
Ground-breaking ceremonies are set to take place Wednesday, April 3 for the classroom additions to Crescent, Pelican and Central elementary schools. The school board approved $2.9 million dollars to be taken from the district’s fund balance to add classrooms to the schools, to alleviate overcrowding and allow the attendance boundaries to be redrawn so that each school will house pre-K through grade five students. The additions will be ready for the 2019-20 school year.
Additionally, the board approved spending $155,903 Monday night to remodel the Crescent School kitchen. The Operations and Strategic Planning Committee was told at last week’s meeting that the design is outdated and the remodel will allow more organization and better design to accommodate the serving staff and the students. That project will include changing existing doorways, opening a wall to the gym, installing new plumbing, electrical, flooring, structural beams and walls, painting walls, installing two sinks, tables and serving counter and installing heat in a storage area. The funding will come from the district’s Food Service Account which has enough to cover the remodel costs. Both the classroom additions and the kitchen remodel are scheduled to be completed before Aug. 1.
Summer school programs have been set for this year. The elementary and middle school programs will be held June 12-July 3, Monday through Friday and bus transportation, breakfast and lunch will be offered at no cost for students participating. Elementary students will attend classes at Pelican, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; James Williams Middle School classes will meet from 8:15 a.m. to 12 p.m. Classes will also be offered at Rhinelander High School, with varying class hours. A special three-day CAVOC summer school program will introduce incoming fourth grade students to the environmental, geographical and historical curriculum of Wisconsin. The program will be held June 17-19 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The administration shared an updated draft of a proposed strategic plan. The board reveiwed and discussed the proposed plan and concurred that the goals and priorities listed would be the basis of the plan moving forward. The five goals listed in the plan were those of the previous strategic plan: student success, high quality learning environment, recruit/retain high-quality employees, financial stability of the district and communicate and connect.
The board agreed on five priorities of the first goal, including meet or exceed expectations in state and district assessments; deliver high-quality instruction through the Equitable Multiple Level Systems of Support; students will complete requirements to graduate; increase educational opportunities to allow for student success, and increase participation in co-curricular activities.