At Monday night’s regular monthly School Board meeting, the Board voted in favor of placing two referenda questions on the November 6 ballot. (Scroll past the video for more article text)

The first question will ask voters:

Shall the Unified School District of Mineral Point be authorized pursuant to Chapter 67 of the Wisconsin Statutes, to issue general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $11,920,000 for the public purpose of paying the cost of a school building and improvement program; renovating and updating existing elementary school; improving parking, bus lane, and storm water; securing lobby, office, and classroom addition; constructing or renovating or securing a gym and physical education addition?

The second question will ask:

Shall the Unified School District of Mineral Point be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $350,000 for recurring purposes beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, such excess revenues to be used for ongoing operational expenses?

The first question with regard to renovating the existing elementary passed by a 4-3 vote with Everett Lindsey, Andy Busch, Nate Chambers, and Aaron Dunn voting yes and Larry Steffes, Kelly Gundlach, and Jeff Basting voting no.

The second question with regard to operational expenses passed by a 6-1 vote with Steffes being the lone no vote.

Steffes cited concerns with too high of a mill rate, should both questions pass. He also said he knows many hours have been put into the surveys and the Elementary School Planning Committee’s work, but he feels, with the current change in district leadership, “it would be wise for the district to take a breather on this.” He also cited the district’s recent ability to balance its budget without having to dip into fund balance to do so.

Some stakeholders believed the survey response rate was low, with approximately 325 surveys (paper and electronic)  returned out of roughly 2200 that were sent. However, Kevin Eipperle of FEH Design, after working with other districts and similar projects, said if they get between a 7-10% response rate, they’re “pretty excited about that.”

Of the proposed $11.92 million renovation, the project breakdown (along with survey support for each item) can be viewed here:

With regard to the operational referendum and why the $350,000 amount was chosen, Superintendent Luke Francois said, “The Board asked for $500,000 and $1 million. I put $350,000 back into the mix because that was our original deficit entering the 2018-19 school year (before the budget was balanced). One point about a recurring referendum is, the Board does not always need to levy to the max. $350,000 would likely balance the budget for three to five years and keep district as it is today–viable and moving forward.”

Stay tuned for much more information regarding the November 6 referenda in the coming weeks and months. (Go to the one hour, two minute, 30 second mark)

Other business:

— The Board began the meeting by voting to move the action item of superintendent contract approval, and subsequent closed session discussion, to a special meeting Wednesday night August 15. This passed by a 5-2 vote with Busch and Basting voting against. (This discussion begins the meeting)

— The Board discussed how to fill the high school principal position, should Mitch Wainwright (current high school principal) be offered and accept the superintendent position. (Go to the 25 minute mark)

— The Board approved the Middle School Handbook (with possible additional language changes following Wednesday’s meeting) unanimously.

The Board approved the High School Handbook (with possible additional language changes following Wednesday’s meeting) by a 6-1 vote with Steffes voting no. The 210 Plan will now be in effect for all high school students for the upcoming school year. (Go to the 36 minute, 30 second mark)

— The Board approved nominating Badger Welding, Midwest Roofing, The Orthopedic Institute at Southwest Health, and SSM Health for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards’ annual Business Honor Roll. (Go to the 51 minute mark)

— The annual Seclusion & Restraint Report was approved unanimously. It can be viewed here:

(Go to the one hour, 30 second mark)

— When developing the preliminary budget, the Board took action to reduce expenditures, and a combined total of $265,926 was reduced across the district. The Board voted to have a Finance Committee meeting to discuss what, if any, monies the Board would like to see reinstated into the budget. (Go to the one hour, 54 minute mark)

— The Board approved the hiring of Heather Critchlow, 5th Grade Teacher, unanimously. The Board also approved the hiring of Micki Uppena, Elementary Library Media Technology Specialist, by a 6-0-1 vote with Gundlach abstaining. (Go to the two hour, five minute, 30 second mark)

— The Board concluded the meeting with business services.

The credit card statement was approved unanimously.

The bills payable were approved by a 6-0-1 vote with Basting abstaining.

The board approved unanimously the purchase of a new floor scrubber for the middle/high school at a cost not to exceed $15,000.

The board approved unanimously contracted services to clean the ductwork at the elementary building in the amount of $5,875. (Go to the two hour, 12 minute mark)

— Please note the regular September monthly meeting will be on the 3rd Monday of the month (17th) and not the normal 2nd Monday (10th).