5/15/2013 1:01:00 PM School building security to increase
Ruth Erickson Chronotype staff
The Rice Lake Board of Education announced new safety measures, approved new committee assignments and recognized a student from each of its school sites at its regular meeting Monday, May 13. In the Buildings and Grounds Committee reports, re-elected chair Don Cuskey said "a neat item" to be installed this summer at all of the school sites is a video camera/intercom system. Visitors to the schools will be buzzed in after visual approval. "We are really trying to upgrade our safety throughout the district," Cuskey said. Board member Bill Schmitzer asked when it would be operational. Cuskey said at the start of the new school year this fall. Cuskey acknowledged that the new system may be a bit of a nuisance but will be worth it if it keeps staff and students safe. Board member Paula Brettingen asked what maintenance projects were put on hold when the surveillance system was moved to a top priority. Cuskey did not have the list of maintenance projects in front of him but said remodeling of bathrooms at the middle and high schools and parking lot patching were some projects put on hold. Still included in the maintenance budget for this year are new public address systems at the middle school and Haugen Elementary. The committee is also considering projects like boiler replacements and the heating and ventilation unit at the middle school that could qualify for an energy levy based on potential cost savings. Last year an energy levy offset the cost of computer upgrades.
Committee, staff changes Despite still being short one board member, new standing committees were approved. Buildings and Grounds Committee members include Cuskey, Janna Haack, Keven Jensen and Miriam Vavra. Curriculum Committee members are Brettingen, Schmitzer, Haack and Jensen. Negotiations Committee members are Steve Bowman, Haack and Vavra. Policy Committee members are Doug Kucko, Brettingen, Cuskey and Jensen. Finance/Transportation Committee members are Bowman, Kucko and Schmitzer. Superintendent Observation Committee members are Cuskey, Haack, Schmitzer and Vavra. In other assignments, Schmitzer will serve as the Wisconsin Association of School Boards public pollicy correspondent. Kucko is the board's WASB delegate. Jensen is the CESA 11 representative. Cuskey is a Parks and Recreation Board member, and Haack is on both the Strategic Plan and Safety committees. Staff changes approved by the board included the hiring of Maite Oyarbide-Sanchez as art/world language exploration teacher at the middle school and the resignations of the following: First-grade teacher Aura Polster, alternative education teacher Cari Colegrove, paraprofessional Susan Anderson, girls' junior varsity basketball coach Christie Nielsen and varsity volleyball coach Gerri Cowley. Student Recognition awards were presented to Staci Siewert from Rice Lake High School, Emma Crotteau from Rice Lake Middle School, Tanner Jasper from Tainter Elementary, Tatum Myers from Jefferson Elementary, twins Noelle Reinikainen and Faith Reinikainen from Hilltop Elementary and Lucas Sirek from Haugen Elementary.
Other updates Teachers Brittany Ahlberg and Terri Brown introduced the board to the members of a book club formed at Hilltop Elementary, who read and did a media presentation on the book "Rules" by Cynthia Lord. It deals with accepting the differences of students with autism. Three recipients of funds from the Education Foundation of Rice Lake told the board how they used the funds. The foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to help the Rice Lake School District teachers and students excel in programs not funded by public tax dollars. Roger Britton, art teacher at the high school, purchased equipment that allows his art students to create electronic portfolios, which is what colleges now request. He showed an example of an e-portfolio. Paul Thurston, health and science teacher at the high school, used grant funds for the replacement of the school's weather station. He said the new station has many capabilities, like a lighting sensor and the ability to relay weather emergencies to cell phones through a Weather Bug application. Thurston said his health students studied how weather affects the social and behavioral health of people, particularly during this cold spring. Belinda Cernick, fourth-grade teacher at Haugen Elementary, told the board its grant funds were used to start a fourth-grade school store. Students had to fill out applications with references and go through the interview process for jobs available-presidents, bankers, sales clerks, even bodyguards. Four of her students told the board what they liked or learned from operating a store. - - - -