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Seneca School Board makes end-of-year adjustments
Seneca School District

SENECA - It was a slow, but necessary, start to the Seneca School Board meeting on Monday, May 20 as board ‘reorganized.’

Reorganization occurs every spring following the April election. As it turned out this year, there were few changes. Incumbent board members Rachael George, Larry Kelley and Chad Sime were all re-elected without opposition.

Following suit, the board’s previous officers were nominated by the board, nominations were closed and each was elected on a unanimous ballot.

For the record, the Seneca Area School District Board officers are:

• President Mark Johnson

• Vice President Shawn Lenzendorf

• Secretary Rachael George 

• Treasurer Larry Kelley

Johnson began the reorganization of the board by telling his fellow board members that he was fine with the selection of another president, if they decided to do that–they did not.

When Kelley was nominated as treasurer, Johnson noted that Larry had put in more time in the treasurers’ job than anyone he had seen hold that position in the last 20 years.

When it came down to committee assignments, except for one additional assignment, everything stayed the same.

President Johnson requested that board member  Tyler Aspenson join the building and ground committee because of his background in construction. Aspenson agreed to the board president’s request and was placed on the committee.

At one point in the discussion, board member Charles Clark wondered aloud if he should be replaced on the personnel committee. Clark said that because of his work responsibilities he was unable to attend several early afternoon job interviews. He asked if someone else shouldn’t serve on the committee. Board members assured Clark that the situation was fine and that not being present at those job interviews because of work responsibilities was understandable.

 Chad Sime went so far as to tell Clark that if he were placed on the committee he would have the same problems attending those interviews.

Seneca District Administrator Dave Boland noted the interviews were often held at inconvenient times to accommodate the applicants’ schedules and travel time.

In other reorganization business, the board:

• approved Johnson as the district’s CESA 3 representative

• designated the Peoples State Bank and the Local Government Investment Pool as the district’s financial institutions 

• designated the Crawford County Independent & Kickapoo Scout as the district’s official publication

The board did take an advantage of the fact that the school calendar had built in a makeup day that was no longer needed and waived Friday, June 7 as the last day of student instruction. The last day for students is now Thursday, June 6. The teachers’ last day will become Friday, June 7 instead of Monday, June 10 as previously scheduled.

In reporting on the 2018-19 school budget, the administrator told the board that there had been some added expenses in a website update and the purchase of a new van.

The electrical work needed in the building cost $36,000 and could be split into this year’s budget and next year’s budget, according to Boland.

The administrator noted that the WERC recommended maximum salary increase for staff based on the consumer price index this year was 2.44 percent. The board decided Boland should return to the next meeting with the impact of salary increases ranging from 2.5 percent to 3 percent.

The district will probably see health insurance costs continue to be reduced, as senior staff is replaced by younger employees, according to Boland. The district has used a WEA health insurance plan for the past 20 years and has been very satisfied with the coverage. However, the district is getting on a Quartz health insurance plan that combines Gundersen Healthcare services with Madison hospitals.

The Seneca Area School District Monthly Recognition Award went to two retiring employees–janitor Larry McCarn for 45 years of service and Marlys Oldenburg for 38 years of service. The monthly recognition also recognized the Seneca Middle School and High School Band for their first place finishes in recent state competition.

After meeting in closed session, the Seneca School Board returned to open Session and:

• accepted the resignation of K-12 music teacher Jenny Jerrett

• hired Philip Davies as the new K-12 music teacher

• hired Michaela Chambers as new elementary school teacher to replace the retiring Marlys Oldenburg

• hired cleaner Kathy Boland

• approved Jessica Olson as the new varsity volleyball coach

• approved a maternity leave for the next school year

In other business, the Seneca School Board:

• learned the WIAA had again waived membership dues and approved another year of membership in the statewide school athletic association

• approved student use of school equipment during the summer programs

• approved open enrollment requests that included nine coming in and eight going out (two of the incoming requests will not happen and only one of the outbound requests had attended school in the district previously)

• approved an agreement with the Benton School District to share services of Seneca’s school psychologist

• approved six students for the early college credit program

• approved a contract for a 2019-20 athletic trainer to be shared with North Crawford

• approved a contract for occupational health services with Crossing Rivers Healthcare

• approved a low bid of $9,500 for concrete work from Concrete Concepts of Ferryville