Mineral Point students needing mental health services will now have resources right at school beginning in the fall. (Scroll past the video for more article text)

At Monday night’s meeting, the Board unanimously approved (with member Lisa Hay absent) CWM Counseling, a mental health agency based out of Platteville, to offer services in each school building starting with the 17-18 school year, but not be affiliated with Mineral Point.  

Mineral Point would provide a private location for CWM to provide counseling services so students are not having to miss school to attend appointments, as well as have students able to access therapy services more easily.  Parents would make an appointment directly with the clinic and HIPAA privacy regulations would still apply.

Board members, administration, and faculty present all praised the effort spearheaded by Dixie Dempsey, Director of Pupil Services/School Psychologist, to make this a reality for Mineral Point students in a time where mental health is a much needed service, but a rarely discussed topic in the public. (Go to the one hour, 58 minute, 15 second mark)

Other business:

— The Board voted unanimously to approve moving introductory band from the 5th grade school year to a summer program between 5th and 6th grades. This proposal comes with the support of instrumental music teacher Matt Nevers, who also stated the Music Boosters support this decision.

A Power Point detailing the justification for this decision is available for viewing here: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=40715378

(Go to the three minute mark of the video)

— After a study of comparable salaries in the area, working collaboratively with Judy Pelton and Kyle Carey, and receiving feedback from the Board, the Board had before them the proposed salary schedule for support staff for 17-18.  Summarizing, wages were adjusted to reflect current market salaries for similar positions in CESA 3.  A lane was added for custodial summer help and custodians were split into two lanes to now include a Lead Custodian.  The responsibilities of a lead custodian in each building during the school day when students and staff are present command different qualifications than custodians working outside of the regular school day.

If the board approved the salary schedule, the District will work closely with Pelton and Carey to transition staff to the new salary structure in a manner that assures that every staff member on the schedule receives an increase comparable to peers in Southwest WI schools and takes into consideration special qualifications and longevity in the District.

Steffes was concerned whether the District could afford the proposed $50,500 increase moving forward each year, potentially putting the District in the red before it needs to be.

Stephenson stated she understood Steffes’ concern, but felt there is no better pitch to constituents if having to go to referendum than telling them monies were put towards the people that directly impact the success of our students.

Basting stated he believes kitchen staff should be included on the pay raise, but received pushback from other Board members because food service is outsourced by the District so the Taher employees do not receive a paycheck directly from the school district.

Dolphin stated he’s not a believer in step raises for anyone solely based on years of experience.

There was some desire to delay the decision on this matter, but the new school year payroll begins July 1.

The item was moved to closed session so individual employee salaries could be discussed. After that discussion, the Board approved the following:

$45,000 for support staff salary increases with Steffes voting no. This also includes that going forward, new hirees for Lead Custodian, Clerical, and Instructional Assistants will start at $13.50 per hour.

A $3,900 increase to be divided for Angie Schubert, District Administrative Assistant, and Diane Reichling, District Assistant Bookkeeper with Steffes voting no. (Go to the one hour, 11 minute, 30 second mark)

— The Board discussed Preliminary Budget Development Areas.

For Year Zero (meaning the fiscal year of 16-17, which concludes June 30), the dust collector implementation has been delayed due to not hearing back from the state on required permits. The money reserved for the dust collector for this school year that just wrapped up has been replaced by capital projects including: Security Assessment Recommendation-Replace outdoor security/safety lighting $10,565; Replace Dishwasher at high school (no longer repairable) $22,590; Replace carpet in middle/high library, resource, and Payne rooms $28,882; IMC and resource remodel-replace furniture, tables, and soft seating $28,447; Extend asbestos abatement to two additional rooms at elementary $7,408; Extend replacement tile to two additional rooms at elementary $16,605; Replace desks with collaborative tables-two rooms $7,205; Wireless system replacement $39,750; and Apple Macbook Airs lease payment $39,500.

Gundlach made the motion to re-invite Nexus to help the Board plan and execute some items, such as the dust collector,  that could fall under energy efficiency planning.

All voted no except Gundlach.

Stephenson stated she wants to make sure that, after the new update to the District’s Strategic Plan is completed, the community places facilities as a focus area before she agrees to spend resources.

The dust collector system replacement will have to be part of next year’s budget and that cost is estimated at $75,000. Superintendent Luke Francois stated the roof issue at the middle/high school is still pressing, and suggested the Board build money into the capital budget to investigate what is causing the issue. The Board approved carrying $100,000 for the dust collector, as well as the roof investigation, for next year’s budget. Gundlach voted no, stating her strong desire to have any such repairs part of a performance contract. (Go to the two hour, 15 minute, 15 second mark)

— Recognized State Track & Field participants Sydney Staver, Jalissa Weier, Jaynie Gorgen, and Kevin Eisenzimmer. (This portion of the video begins the meeting).

— Approved the credit card statement and bills payable with Busch, Dolphin, Gundlach, Stephenson, and Steffes voting yes and Basting abstaining. (Go to the 23 minute, 45 second mark)

The ensuing discussion included Gundlach’s concerns that many of the items approved were mere band aids, and not true fixes to larger issues. She suggested bringing Nexus back to help with energy and efficiency planning as she views many of the concerns as safety issues.

— The Board unanimously approved amending the budget to reallocate existing and available funds to cover 16-17 fiscal year expenditures (Go to the 55 minute mark)

— The Board unanimously approved the hiring of Katie Hughes, Kindergarten Teacher, and Erin Leonard, Math Intervention/Alternative School Teacher. (Go to the 57 minute, 30 second mark)

— The Board unanimously approved the maternity leave of absence request from middle/high school art teacher, Lesley Macaulay (Go to the one hour, one minute, 15 second mark)

— Vickie Dahl, Athletic Director, presented on the addition of an Equine Program. Mineral Point MS/HS would co-op with Dodgeville for WIHA as participatory only (non-lettering). This would be at no cost to the district and would remain as an activity club status.

She also spoke on the Trap Team and her desire to keep it as an activity club status. She stated that students are only allowed to letter in one sport per season, and many students who participate on the trap team also participate in other spring sports. She would recommend a patch instead. These were not items for action on this month’s agenda.

— The Board held a first reading for a new policy that requires all school food authorities operating the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program to have a written unpaid meal charge policy. (Go to the one hour, seven minute mark)

— The Board unanimously approved the District’s recommendation of approval of six years of online digital content and print materials for grades 6-8 math resources.  Big Ideas expands the math curriculum with Houghton Mifflin from grades K-5 to now include grades K-8.  The cost is $944 per year per grade level or roughly $17 per student. (Go to the two hour, ten minute mark)

— The District received and evaluated proposals from Community First Bank, Farmers Savings Bank, and Mound City Bank.  The District recommends approving Farmers Savings Bank for short-term borrowing needs, mainly to make payroll in between state aid payments, with a proposal of 1.15% for a 2 year period for a $1,500,000 Line of Credit with interest due annually.  The Board approved this unanimously. (Go to the two hour, 39 minute mark)

— The Board approved, with Busch abstaining, summer school contracts and extra day contracts with an aggregate total of $46,928. (Go to the two hour, 41 minute, 30 second mark)

— The Board continued on its trend to update all policies with the most current language available by unanimously approving both the proposed Board Governance policy, as well as the policy dealing with Administration in the Absence of Board Policy. The policy on Board Self-Evaluation and Goal Setting was tabled and the policy on School Board Advocacy was dropped due to lack of interest. (Go to the two hour, 45 minute, 45 second mark)

— The Board unanimously approved, with Busch abstaining, having Busch serve as the representative to the TIF/TID Joint Review Board. (Go to the two hour, 49 minute mark)

— In his Superintendent’s Report, Francois provided several updates including:

Informing the Board a representative from EMC Insurance came into the building last week following the air quality incident that forced the evacuation of the middle/high school and walked the building, not finding anything immediately alarming. A subsequent report of the findings will be provided and will offer suggestions to hopefully make sure a similar incident does not occur in the future. Francois again publicly praised everyone involved during the incident.

Informing the Board about a possible reduction in categorical aid from the state from $200 originally proposed down to $150, which he cited as a real concern, as well as the possible reduction in sparsity aid. He will continue to keep the Board informed as funding discussions continue for the foreseeable future at the state level.

The Board learned of the latest regarding the organization to update the District’s Strategic Plan.

The Board viewed a new brochure that helps to highlight the Options in Education (Alternative School).

Francois closed by saying that discussion was had with support staff about possibly moving from the current Tax Sheltered Annuity system to the Wisconsin Retirement System. The vote was split 11 to 11, so no change will be made. (Go to the two hour, 52 minute, 45 second mark).

— The next regularly scheduled Board meeting is set for Monday, July 17 (note the change from the typical second Monday of July 10).