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Richland School Board Meeting 3/7

The Richland School Board met for regular business on Monday night.

At the meeting the board discussed the topic of transportation for families who opt to open enroll their children either into or out of the district. District Administrator Jarred Burke explained that they often receive requests from families, but state statues outline that transportation in those circumstances is the responsibility of the family unless the district has a set policy which would guide all transportation requests, or a mutual agreement can be reached with the neighboring school on a case-by-case basis. Board members lamented that they didn’t want to open the door to make it easier for families to choose other districts, but acknowledged that there are often valid reasons another school setting is in the best interest for the student. The school board took no action on the transportation topic. Burke said that he would consult with the school district’s attorney to see if a guideline can be developed that falls short of a formal policy, but also helps meet the needs of families regarding certain circumstances.

Lincoln Elementary Dean of Students Lisa Stafford presented information to the board regarding the recent 4-year old Kindergarten screening. She said that the effort was largely a success, but due to some illnesses they have scheduled a second screening day on April 15th. Stafford said that 71 children took part in the February screening. Overall there are 74 students confirmed for 4-K enrollment for the 2016-17 school year, including 63 children who participated in the screening last month and a handful who are currently enrolled in the district’s Early Childhood program. Stafford added that historically they have also gained about 12 more students between screening time and the start of the school year – which would bring next year’s enrollment to approximately 86 students.

Food Service Director Nellie Tyl updated the board on her department. She said that there are no upcoming changes in the federal nutritional guidelines for next school year, but there will be changes to the sodium level targets for breakfast and lunch in the 17-18 school year. Overall they have been serving similar numbers of breakfasts and lunches compared to last year. Finally, Tyl reported that 54% of students in the Richland District are eligible to receive free or reduced meals in the district.

It was announced that students from Richland Center High School won the recent Wisconsin SeaPerch Underwater Robotics competition and have earned the right to represent the state at the national completion this spring in Louisiana. Jarred Burke said it’s the hope that all students who participated in the competition – not just the team that won – will be able to attend the national event. He said it’s estimated that will cost about $12,000, and school officials are working on the details to make that a reality.

In other action from the Richland School Board meeting Monday night, the school board approved Baraboo Sysco as the district’s commodities purveyor for next school year. The board also approved space for five German or Swiss exchange students from Reflections International at RCHS for the 16-17 school year. Finally, it was announced that there are 14 staff positions that will need to be hired across the district prior to next year, including the principal position at the Richland Middle School. Jarred Burke reported that interviews to fill that position are set to take place this week.