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Hancock school board discusses future referendums and construction

It is never too early to plan ahead, especially for major construction or remodeling projects. For this reason, the Hancock School Board members have been thinking ahead and making some plans for the future. At their meeting on Monday night, the board discussed the future of two referendums currently in place and the possibility of building a new high school in six years.

The district has two referendums, one for $800 and one for $350 per pupil unit. The $800 referendum will expire in 2013. Therefore in 2012 some action will need to be taken to renew this referendum and possibly increase it. The question still on the table is how much to ask the voters to approve. This brought about discussion as to some work that needs to be done at the school and the future of the current high school building.

Board member Joel Flaten suggested asking for the referendum renewal with an extra amount to do some remodeling in areas other than the high school. The new wing is now 13 years old and some areas are starting to show some wear and tear. He pointed out that flooring may need to be replaced, bathrooms updated and even desks added or replaced. There are quite a few areas that could use updating and maintenance throughout the elementary wing. He added that the referendum could be a two-part question with the remodeling dollars as the second part.

Board member Randy Reese suggested a different approach. He would like to see exactly what needs to be done along with a timeline for completion and a dollar amount needed. He would rather have the referendum be in one question and see first what is needed budget-wise.

The board is also looking ahead at the expiration of the current bond issued for the elementary wing. This construction project will be paid for in 2018 so that would be a good time to either construct a new high school building or do a major remodel of the existing building.

The board members decided to get a more accurate list of remodeling projects along with a cost estimate for these projects. They would also like to set up a timeline for the future perhaps by beginning to talk with architects. The referendum vote will probably go to the voters later next year and a decision on new construction would be two or three years down the road.

Other business

* Principal Tim Pahl reported on the In-service on Dec. 9 where teachers discussed ways to improve reading scores. He suggested a follow-up on Jan. 16 from 2:15 - 5:15 for sharing intervention ideas and information. The board approved an early dismissal that day for the teacher in-service.

* Teacher negotiations are nearly complete and the Hancock Education Association is waiting on one ballot before submitting their decision. However, it is expected that they will approve the board offer.

* There was no one present for the Truth in Taxation portion of the meeting. After some discussion about how the change in homestead credit has affected taxes, the board approved the levy of $539,810.40.

* The board approved hiring Wanda Schmidgall as an Alternative Services Tutor for a student who was expelled.

* Board members Barry Nelson and Joel Flaten, along with administrators Tim Pahl and Jerry Martinson will attend a special meeting of the Cyrus School Board on Jan. 9. The Cyrus District invited Minnewaska, Morris and Hancock School Board to the meeting to explore possible consolidation in the near future.

* The board approved an agreement with public health for Early Childhood Screening.