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R-7 Board gets update on construction progress

Monday, July 5, 2010

Construction work on the old Verona High School site was discussed during the June meeting of the Verona R-7 Board of Education.

Architect Richard Werner told board members work is continuing on building the new locker room adjacent to the school gym. Floor slabs have been put in place and vertical walls were in the process of being erected.

The new structure will replace the outdated locker room under the old high school. Construction will add two physical education locker rooms, two athletic locker rooms, a new weight room and coaches' office.

Superintendent Bill Sweet said the project included removal of a corner wall in the old gym. The change will allow the addition of around 60 seats to the gym, which Sweet said have been "sorely needed."

Construction work is expected to be finished by mid-August.

Finances took up much of the meeting as board members sorted out where the district stood after the State General Assembly finished its work. Board members approved the budget for the 2010-11 school year and amended the 2009-10 budget to match actual spending.

"We run a pretty lean ship," Sweet told The Times. "There's not much fluff to cut. We had one elementary teaching position we're not renewing, so we'll be combining two sections of one grade level into one."

Sweet said contracting with Opaa to run the food service program will save the district about $30,000 a year. The only other cost-cutting measure planned will involve reducing hours for the superintendent's secretary, the counselor and the technology coordinator next summer if there is no summer school.

The board was able to grant step increases in salary for the coming year for both certified and non-certified staff. Sweet said the base salary rate for teachers remains competitive and did not change.

Teacher Susan Senninger reported on the Career Ladder work done by faculty members over the past year. A number of those activities, including much of the tutoring program, would not continue next year without state funding to cover half of the Career Ladder cost. Senninger presented board members with a framework for a locally funded, smaller version of Career Ladder similar to what other districts are considering.

To position the district for future capital improvements, board members agreed to transfer 7 percent of funds from the district's general fund to its building fund, a move allowed once a year.

Joni Sherwood was hired as a special education aide.

On policy matters, the board approved the high school student handbook changes as amended. A new policy was adopted requiring students to have 25 credits to graduate. An early graduation was also authorized, pending completion of the credits required.

Elementary Principal Jeannie Abeln reported that she and six teachers attended two days of training on the Positive Behavior Approach Program that will be introduced in the coming school year. A school-wide matrix will be organized for use by all teachers.

High School Principal Terry Winton reported Verona FFA members assisted with setting up the Lawrence County Youth Fair on the Ernte Fest grounds in Freistatt. The Mt. Vernon agriculture teacher had called to say he had never seen a group of students so willing to help.



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