Weather Forecast


Schachtner defeats Jarchow in special election

Plan committee members named by school board

Membership of a new committee charged with long-range planning was approved by the Ellsworth School Board Monday.

The committee will work on four goal statements adopted earlier by the board which are being integrated into a long-range planning process. They address: replacement of a $250,000 non-recurring referenda to exceed the revenue limit; the future of the elementary education program; the future of the community swimming pool; and obtaining resources essential to maintenance and care of school facilities.

Citizen members are: Kurt Buckner, Jack Celt, Raynee Farrell, Scott Henning, Gina Jensen and Lucy Strom. Staff and administration members are: Tim Brunner, Barry Cain, John Groh, Mary Kees, Dennis Langer and Mark Stoesz. Board members are: Gerald Bristol, Rick Kornmann and Paul Solyntjes. Facilitators are Leona Johnson and Dan Kaler.

At Board Member Bristol's suggestion, Superintendent Kaler agreed to find a replacement for Mary Matzek as a staff member on the committee, due to injuries she suffered in a recent accident. At Board Member Kornmann's recommendation, Kaler will arrange to have student members on the committee as well.

The superintendent said special efforts will be made to publicize the dates and locations of the committee's at-least-once-monthly meetings, as public interest is welcome.

In other business Monday:

--Curriculum Director Johnson reviewed school improvement goals. She reported mixed progress on one goal established for the past school term--increasing the performance of students with disabilities and thereby decreasing gaps in disaggregated student groups' state test scores--and considerable progress on another goal--focusing on inferential reading comprehension across the curriculum so student performance in reading and language arts improves. Johnson also outlined objectives for the improvement goals set for this term, including: promoting higher-order thinking through reading, writing, research and inquiry; and enhancing teacher, parent and student understanding of the impact of media violence on the decision-making, logical thinking processes of the brain, decreasing student use of media during the school week and thereby enhancing student performance in school. The goal about increasing the performance of students with disabilities was also renewed for this term.

--Two grant programs were discussed. The award of a $5,000 state grant to the district has enabled writing of an educational plan for the 15-acre school forest adjacent to the middle school, and the plan was approved by the board. A $4,500 state grant will allow financial literacy education to be implemented in several courses and offerings at the high school.

--The resignations of Deborah Shost as Title I teacher at Prairie View Elementary School and Nancy Vircks as Klaas-Jonas Community Swimming Pool Director were approved by the board, along with the hirings of Jason Fuchs and Lonnie Bechel as custodians at the high school.

--Updating of a district policy about community use of school facilities was finalized, including non-discriminatory language, increased fees and certification of insurance requirements.

--Kaler indicated he and local Police Chief Greg Place cooperated on a letter distributed to district residents about prevention and preparations to respond to acts of violence in the schools.

--The following committee meetings were scheduled: buildings, grounds and transportation for Oct. 17, long-range planning for Oct. 30 and curriculum for Nov. 15. A special school board meeting to finalize the district budget was set for Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library.