October Richland School Board Meeting

The Richland School Board met for regular business on Monday night. At the meeting the board continued to hear poor reports on the current busing situation in the district.

In addition to one parent who voiced her frustrations with Kobussen Buses’s lack of communication with families and failures thus far to correct known problems, the difficulties have affected school buildings as well. Lincoln 4-K teacher and Dean of Students Lisa Stafford said that the transportation situation has been another challenge to an already difficult start to the school year because of weather interruptions. She said the Lincoln staff have made bus tags for students and have tried very hard to be sure the youngest children in the district are riding the correct bus in the afternoon. Overall, however, she said she’s seen little if any improvement in the overall bus situation. Board President Paul Corcoran admitted that the transportation problems in the district are not fixed, and everyone should continue to voice their frustrations and concerns in writing to the district. Corcoran said he and administrators have fielded many calls and face-to-face concerns, but complaints in writing will help tell the story to the bus company. District Administrator Jarred Burke is scheduled to meet with the president of Kobussen later this week.

The Richland School District received good financial news on Monday night. District Business Official Kathy Stoltz reported that the 2015-16 school year ended by adding nearly $169,000 to the district’s overall fund balance. She said that the revenues were slightly more than anticipated, however the expenditures were much less than anticipated. One of the key savings was realized with utilities. The district saw a 41% savings in gas for heat, 22% in electricity, 14% in water, and 23% with sewer. Those were a direct result of the energy efficiency projects the district undertook the last two years. While the exact savings amount from those projects is still being determined, Johnson Controls guaranteed a savings of at least $117,000.

The school board approved a formal fee schedule for the 1-to-1 electronic devices in the district. While there is no fee charged to use the iPads and Chromebooks, a list of repair costs to be charged in the event of damage was approved. These costs were already outlined to families in the form of administrative rules prior to the devices being distributed. Nearly all families agreed to that Acceptable Use Agreement. The board’s action Monday night also establishes a “first accidental damage” charge of $10 for the Chromebooks. The iPads used by Middle School students have no such repair fee.

In other news from the Richland School Board meeting Monday night, Jarred Burke reported that Homecoming activities went very well last week. He said that the high school and other school buildings are working hard to change the culture to make it a positive celebration. He also said that while there were some incidents that need to be corrected, there were no complaints from property owners who asked to not have their trees and buildings decorated with toilet paper last week. Burke also reported that the high school track is now painted and ready for use. He said that some in the industry have called it the premier track in southwest Wisconsin and one of the best in the state. The public is welcome to use it during daylight hours when it’s not being used for school activities. Finally, the 2016 fall musical “South Pacific” is set to take place November 11th through 13th. The Richland School District Foundation continues to take sponsorships for that event.