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Westby School Board sets special meeting to finalize plans for start of school year

Westby School Board sets special meeting to finalize plans for start of school year

The Westby School Board voted Monday night to hold a special meeting on Monday, July 27, to finalize plans for the start of the 2020-21 school year, to give final approval of handbooks, and to have a referendum question discussion.

District Administrator Steve Michaels said the meeting will be held at 5 p.m. in the district conference room or the high school cafeteria, “depending the on the state of things.”

During the discussion portion of Monday’s meeting, Michaels said he updated the board on the options the district is considering for the start of the 2020-21 school year.

Michaels said the board first looked at the second parent survey. He said there was a good response and it provided direction for the district. He shared with board members the district’s mitigation factors in regard to such things as food service, athletics and transportation. Michaels said they also talked through scenarios such as how to handle testing and what to do if there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in the district.

Next week, Michaels said, he will meet with each school virtually about the start of school updates. Following the Board’s approval of the start of school plan on July 27, Michaels expects the plan would be rolled out by the first week of August or sooner.

The School Board received a Class of 2020 commencement update from Michaels and Bob Bothe, high school principal. Face-to-face commencement is scheduled for Saturday, July 25 at 11 a.m., with social distancing, either at the football field or in the fieldhouse if it is raining. Michaels said if commencement is moved indoors, only two guests per graduate will be allowed.

Board members voted to approve a resolution urging federal and state action providing emergency stabilization funding for K-12 public schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.

At the June meeting, the board discussed the resolution that Steve Glant from the CRUE office had sent out to union leaders and district administrators to consider bringing to their board for consideration. Michaels said the resolution was “more of a gesture than anything else.”

The Board voted not to increase the 2020-21 school district fees, food service prices and co-curricular passes.

Breakfast prices are 4K-4 $1.55, 5-12 $1.85, adult $2.35 and PK-12 reduced 30 cents; lunch prices are 4K-4 $2.65, 5-12 $3, adult $3.65, 4K-4 and 5-12 reduced 40 cents; 4K-12 and adult milk prices are 35 cents.

School fees for 4K-6 are $30 and for 7-12 are $40. Co-curricular passes are as follows: single event $4/$2; single annual pass $75; and couples pass $105.

The board discussed the 2020-21 calendar’s Fair Day, a no-school day scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18. Michaels said since the Vernon County Fair has been canceled for this year, it looks like that day will be moved to Dec. 23.

Board members decided to table the bleacher project at the athletic complex for a few weeks. Michaels said the Norsemen Booster Club purchased gently used stadium seating from Prairie du Sac High School for $30,000; the booster club covered $20,000 of the cost. The bleachers are now in the parking lot.

“It’s good to find gently used equipment and give it a new life,” Michaels said.

In order to have the bleachers in place for the upcoming football season, it’s necessary to pour a concrete pad to drain it properly and address runoff. The totals for the project will exceed $10,000 but funds are available in Fund 46.

The School Board presented a Community Volunteer Service Award and Distinguished Employee Award at Monday’s meeting.

The Norsemen Booster Club was nominated by Michaels for the Community Volunteer Service Award. Michaels stated in the nomination form: “Our Norsemen Booster Club has done extraordinary things for our schools in recent years. Two years ago, they funded the lighting of our football field and track. Most recently, they found and purchased bleacher seating for our football field. Working from a shared vision for our athletic complex, this organization is to be commended for keeping the conversation alive and helping the District make progress. Thank you for what you have done for the Westby Area School District!!”

Peter Engh was nominated by Michaels for the Distinguished Employee recognition. Michaels stated in the nomination form: “Mr. Engh has been a central figure in our District for over 25 years. He continued the tradition of excellence that he inherited from his predecessor (and former teacher/mentor) Ron Bjerke. In addition to running a robust concert choir program, Mr. Engh direct the High School Musical and is a leader in our WAPAC. Additionally, he supports his colleagues throughout the District as Co-President of the WAEA. In addition to all this, he is a music leader at his church and involved in many community organizations. Most recently, he was named News Channel 8’s ‘Top Notch Teacher’ for June. We are proud of you and grateful for your service and dedication to the Westby Area School District.”

The booster club and Engh received certificates of recognition.

Angela Cina can be reached at


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Vernon County Broadcaster editor

Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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