Public hearing and board reorganization at May School Board meeting

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The Cumberland High School Class of 2020 Graduation Ceremony is still up in the air as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 Pandemic. The school held a special night on Friday, May 8th, lighting up Endeavor Stadium, the scoreboard and honoring this years graduates by hanging posters for all to see. Congratulations Class of 2020 and good luck in the future! Photo by Raven Broker

Monday, May 18th was a busy night for the Cumberland School Board.  It was a mixed-media event with some participants in the district offices and some attending by teleconference.
In May, the Board holds there annual reorganization meeting after the Spring election.  Adam Skinner was returned to his seat on the Board in the election so there were no  new memebers to invest. The first order of the meeting was to elect the officers for the coming year. Eric Stone was returned to his position as President, Jennifer Hyatt will be Vice President, Adam Skinner, Clerk and Jonelle Gideo is this years treasurer.
Next up were the Appointments of delegates.Jonelle Gideo will act as CESA 11 Delegate, the WASB (WI Assoc. of School Boards) Delegate is Adam Skinner with Jennifer Hyatt as Alternate.  Eric Stone will continue as the delegate to the Indian Education Committee
Lastly, the Board named the Cumberland Advocate as the Official newspaper of the district and designated the third Monday of the month as the day for the monthly board meetings.
With the reorganization items completed, the Board heard reports from Athletic Director Lorne Majewski about plans to get in some sports this summer for the Spring athletes. Lorne stated that the HON Conference will not be sponsoring a conference schedule, but the individual schools are free to work on area tournaments.  The have a small window in July which would allow them to play some Spring Sports without compromising the beginning of practises for the Fall sports.
Lorne also talked about the senior athlete banners outside Endeavor Stadium and said they will continue the practice of running a loop of photos on the Score Board from Friday night during “Light up Endeavor” through Monday morning in honor of those athletes.
Jamie Shaffer, Director of Learning, gave an update on how things were going with the continuing distance learning efforts in the district.  Jamie stated that all the staff were still working hard to meet all the students needs.  The staff has been proactive in getting the students the assignments, some who had been online have requested “paper” packets and visa-versa, “whatever it takes to facilitate better learning.”  Jamie also said the staff is using this time to complete their contiuing professional developments requirements online as well.
Special Education specialist Tami Alberg related how her staff is reaching out to their students to continue work on their IAP assessments.  
When Gov. Evers enacted the school shutdown, the State offered school districts three waivers to help adjust for the closures.  The districts were given the opportunity to waive the Civics course requirements, staff continuing development requirements and a waiver for instructional hours.
The administration determined that the civics course and staff development requirements were all being met and so those waivers weren’t required. However, there was a need to officially request the third waiver, so a Public Hearing was held for the Cumberland School District Board of Education to formally request the Department of Public Instruction for Waiver related to Instructional Hours for the 2019-20 school year only due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.
During the public hearing, Robert Ruppel spoke asking for and explanation of the waiver and what was being requested.  Superintendent Barry Rose explained.  With no further comments, the hearing was adjourned.
Returning to the regular meeting, the Board opened the floor to anyone wishing to address the meeting. Once again, Robert Ruppel spoke up. Ruppel, who attended with some of his kids, really wanted some firm indication as to what the plans were for schooling in the fall, stating “If we are continuing to teleschool, then we will go somehwere warm to do it!  The only reason to hang here and freeze is so we can go to hockey games and the kids get the physical social interaction with other students.”  
Ruppel went on to share some of his experiences as a “home schooling parent.”  He stated that the “suggested” course work isn’t really working  for some students.  They need it to be “mandatory” or they try to shrug it off. He also commented on the “Google hangout” sessions that allow students and teachers to interact with  each other.  He said it was “great as far as it goes” but would like to find a way for parents to participate with teachers and students at the same time.
He also stated that the thing being missed most is the community and social aspects of the school. He said that he feels that the COVID threat isn’t the same for rural communities as it is for the larger cities.  He finished his comments by saying “I would like to know what the plans for Fall are ASAP, because if the schools are going to remain closed, we’re going to Florida and teleschool from there!”
Dr. Rose responded to Ruppel by saying, “We’re on it!  We want to reopen as much as the community wants us to.  However, so much is out of our hands.  We will continue to adapt to the everchanging situation and get notifications of our plans to parents as soon as they are finalized.”
The Board then returned to action items by approving the annual bank resolution for short term borrowing up to $1,500,000. This is neccessary in case funds are needed to meet expenses before state monies are received in the fall.  According to Dr. Rose, the district hasn’t had to use this “safety net” for a few years.
The Federal Government has set guidelines for school lunch pricing.Each year, the district is required to raise lunch prices to try and match that guildeline. To that end, each year the district raises the prices by the minimum allowed - 10¢ per meal. The board approved this year’s increase.    
The Board then officially approved the  Resolution for Request of DPI Instructional Hours Waiver due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency for the 2019-2020 school year.
The board then moved on to staffing issues. Morgan Andersen has been hired as Middle School Special Education Teacher.Morgan had been filling this postion as a long-term sub for the second semester.
Also approved was the addition of  Shawn Flannery as Deaf and Hard of Hearing Educational Interpreter.
With the district relying so heaviliy on technology these days, and the retirement of Joan Schullo, the district determined that their current contract for one day a week technical support from ATS was no longer sufficient to the district needs. Therefore, they have hired  David Stone as full time Information Technology Technician.
On a sadder note, two resignations due to retirement were approved.Julie Wuorenma’s will be stepping down from the Elementary School Food Service position she has held for many years, and the district will also be saying “good bye” to Thomas Warnberg, who will be retiring from his 6th Grade Teaching position. Middle School Principal Colin Green stated that “it was with a heavy heart” that he brought the request to the board. “Tom Warnberg,”  he stated,  “has made a real impact on our school, our kids and our community” with his work on the school forest and community outreach program.  He will be missed.
In the administrative reports, Jim Richie spoke about the new bleachers being installed in the ES Gym and how great it will be. Dr. Rose also mentioned that the gym floor will be resurfaced, and will be the only floor in the district to include markings for Pickleball courts.
High School Principle Ritchie Narges gave a timeline for seniors - May 27th will see the final return of all homework, May 29th the seniors will return all school equipment (ipads, uniforms, etc.).  Narges also has made arrangements for the seniors to participate in the annual car “parade” around the parking lot and through town. He also hopes to be able to have some kind of celebration with food for the kids at that time. Narges also announced that his term as HON President is done and he will be passing the torch to the principal in Hayward.
Dr. Rose announced that plans are to pause the Grab-N-Go lunches after June 5th (the official end of the school year).  They will take a short time to give the food service people a chance to reorganize and hope to reopen with some kind of summer meal program.
The next regular meeting of the Shool Board has been set for June 22nd at 6 p.m.

 

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Cumberland Advocate

375 2nd Ave, PO Box 637
Cumberland, WI 54829
Phone: (715) 822-4469
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