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Brandon Welle resigns from Hancock school; two new hires

The ink was barely dry on contracts for two new teachers at Hancock Public School, and the board was faced with another resignation. High school physical education and health teacher, Brandon Welle, submitted his resignation as instructor and head baseball coach. The Hancock school board accepted his resignation with regret and thanks. This was just shortly after approving two new teacher contracts.

The school board approved a contract for Lisa Menninger as a Special education teacher for next year. Menninger is currently living in Pennsylvania but will be moving to this area as her husband has accepted a position as a professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

The board also approved a contract for Darin Zimmerman as the social studies teacher and head girls' basketball coach. Zimmerman is from Rothsay and this will be his first job out of college.

The board held a closed session to review negotiation strategy and then approved a 2.98 percent salary increase for classified staff and assignments for next year. The head baseball coaching position will be filled by Chad Christiansen. The district will be in need of filling the coaching positions of assistant football, assistant girls' basketball, head volleyball, head track, junior high track and junior high boys' basketball.

Along with staffing issues, the school board also had discussion on the building and facility. The interior demolition of the former ITV classroom has been completed and carpet will be installed soon. The room will be painted and then prepared for a fifth grade classroom.

High school students have been volunteering time to help move some of the items from the fifth and sixth grade classrooms to the high school building. The current fifth and sixth grade rooms will be used for younger elementary grades and special ed next year.

The school board was presented with a summary of a preliminary plan from I&S Group who is working with the board for possible future construction. They had several ideas and are still looking into possibilities. They will be returning to Hancock this week to conduct a student flow observation.

I&S Group is also working on determining if the 1920 high school building is structurally sound or would it be better to build from the ground up. There are several things to take into consideration including the costs of remodeling compared to building new. I&S will also be taking into consideration future enrollment numbers and needs at the school.

Along with the classroom work at the school, some other facility work is underway. The gym is in the process of being painted and new mats will be put up when complete. The tiles on ramps will be replaced soon and some tiles were replaced in locker rooms. The brick work on the exterior has been completed.

After the July 6 All-School Reunion events, the gym floor will be sealed and the gym will be closed for several weeks. There will also be some work done on the front lawn before the reunion.

Cyrus Consolidation

The Hancock School Board tabled action on the Cyrus consolidation. Superintendent Jerry Martinson attended a meeting of superintendents from four districts including Cyrus, Hancock, Morris and Minnewaska. He learned that the next step would be to contract with an attorney. He stated that Morris had contracted with Northland Securities at a minimum cost of $10,000 and other districts interested could share in the expense.

The Hancock school board is still not certain about pursuing the consolidation. The main concern is that if no district continues with consolidation, the neighboring districts could all lose their referendum dollars from the state. Minnewaska choose to table action last week and take a wait and see approach. The Hancock school board decided to also do this and see what the Morris school board decides to do.

Other action

* The board approved a preliminary budget after reviewing proposed numbers for the next few years. Martinson encouraged them to try to maintain at least 40 percent of disbursement cost in the fund balance. Next year is estimated at 47 percent and the following year at 43 percent.

* Tim Pahl reviewed the new Multiple Measurement Rating systems recently approved by the state for assessing student progress. The systems takes into account four measurements including proficiency, student growth, achievement gap closure and graduation rate.

* The board approved approximately $13,000 in grant money from the school foundation based on requests from teachers.