March 11, 2019 School Board Highlights

Posted by Sarah O'Donnell on 3/12/2019

McDill Pledge Leaders


Thank you to students from McDill Elementary School for leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance.


The Consent Agenda, including previous minutes, the approval of monthly bills and employment recommendations were approved.


Student and Staff Recognitions


Award Recipient


Charles F. Fernandez Center student Cheyenne Cummings presented the Mandana Bliss award to volunteer, Tom Ness (not pictured).


Award Recipient


Jefferson Elementary students Lydia Johnson and Sophie Durkee presented the Mandana Bliss award to teacher, Renee Oestreich.


Award Recipients


Charles Fernandez Center principal, Jen Knecht, presented the Charlie Awards to students: Cheyenne Cummings, Elijah Kluck, Christian Lochner-Zanon, Samantha Miller, Caleb Stroik, Ryan Wilcox, and Dominique Williams. The Charles F. Fernandez Center for Alternative Learning (Fernandez Center) created a way to reward students that demonstrate the resiliency, positive attitude, and drive to succeed regardless of obstacles or hurdles that they face in life. This year we are proud to announce the fourth annual “Charlie” awards that will be awarded to five qualifying students that embody these characteristics. These students have truly exhibited the skills required to face challenges and adversity while maintaining focus on his/her educational path.


Award Recipients


SPASH principal, Jon Vollendorf recognized SPASH Student Senate members for receiving the Wisconsin Association of School Councils Spirit of Excellence Award.  SPASH was one of six regional winners in Wisconsin. The Spirit of Excellence Award requires that schools submit a thorough application showcasing their school’s achievement, student activities, and other unique things that connect the school to the community.


Business Services


SPASH Concept Rendering

Representatives from Nexus Solutions provided the board an update on referendum projects including building renovation plans for Washington Elementary, Plover-Whiting Elementary, SPASH, and the Ben Franklin Junior High entrance.  


The recommendation for a sale of bonds to borrow a portion of the $75.9 million approved by voters in November to occur in two phases was approved. The first phase, currently taking place, consists of the sale of $60 million in bond. The second phase $of selling the remaining $15.9 million bonds in the spring of 2022.  The bonds were sold at a lower interest rate than estimated in referendum planning. This lower interest rate will save local taxpayers 15 cents per 1,000 of assessed value, or, $150 less for a 100,000 home than previously anticipated.


Educational Services

The Four-Year-Old Kindergarten Program and Site Agreement contracts for 2019-2022 were approved as presented (Imagination Center, UWSP, Non-UWSP).


Student Services
The recommendations to amend open enrollment seats available for Project Search for the 2019-20 school year were approved as presented.


The School Board received a report from Portage County Health and Human Services Kathy Reynolds, School Nurse Coordinator on nursing services in the District.


Human Resources

Beth Bakunowicz, Director of Human Resources provided an update regarding Teachers on Call including district substitute statistics, requests and fill rate.



The district is currently working with school district policy experts, Neola to update all district policies. Remaining policies that had not been addressed were presented for review and eventual approval by the School Board for implementation once all policy series have been reviewed and approved.


Superintendent Gerlach presented a Mid-Year Strategic Plan update to the school board with an end of the year report to be presented in June.


The Board moved to designate Karlyn Krautkramer as Deputy Clerk to assist the Board Clerk in administering the responsibilities of Board Clerk to the extent permitted by law, and remain as such until replaced by the Board.


Closed Session

The board voted unanimously to move into Closed Session per State Statute 19.85(1)(e) deliberating or negotiating the purchasing of public properties, the investing of public funds, or conducting other specified public business, whenever competitive or bargaining reasons require a closed session specifically for the purpose of discussing bargaining for the July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 contract agreements and to review the administrative contract for the superintendent.


The next regular meeting of the school board will take place on April 8, 2019, at the Bliss Educational Services Center.