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Ag, dance and cheer alternatives okayed by Ellsworth School Board

Alternatives to budget cuts proposed earlier in the high school agriculture teacher position, and the danceline and cheerleading programs were approved by the Ellsworth School Board Monday.

Board members had directed these particular cuts among a list of budget adjustments and enhancements presented early last month be returned to administration for review, further information and input, Superintendent Barry Cain said.

On the ag position, Curriculum Director Leona Johnson told the board she's worked with teacher Jordan Liethen about the possibilities, including rolling over some hours into the summer school program. A prime consideration was the need for the teacher to have an average of nine students per hour during summer school in order to "break even." She said the ag instructor put in a total of 24-and-a-half hours for last year's summer school program.

A concern was expressed about not giving up SAE, involving individual projects on a one-to-one basis, Johnson said. School officials thought an outside organization, perhaps the FFA Alumni, might help fund those projects. A total of around 16 hours or a couple of school days have been devoted to them in the past.

The board agreed to roll over the ag position hours into the summer school program and find alternate funding for the SAEs, to be tried for a year.

As for danceline and cheerleading, changes in the interest of saving money have been pursued; specifically, combining the two programs, Cain said. A varied level of interest in both has existed, he added.

Athletic Director Ann Anderson proposed offering a combined dance/cheer program this fall. Participants would cheer at all home games in the fall, but not travel, and perform a dance routine at halftime of the homecoming game, plus perhaps another game, Anderson said. The coaching salary, which has been $1,445 for fall and winter, would be retained, with the combined effort to apply to the fall and just the danceline operating in the winter.

Entering competition would continue if the participants can raise money for it themselves, Anderson said. A $40 fee to the Wisconsin Cheerleading Association would be covered by the district, however. There would also be a $300 expense for general supplies, the majority of which go toward homecoming.

Cain said a total savings of $2,713 was foreseen under the plan. Anderson said 21 girls have signed up for the program next year, most interested in cheerleading, and would be given the option of not competing in the winter, if they didn't want to.

The board agreed to accept the combined program.

Read more in the print version of the Herald May 12.

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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