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Hancock voters asked to return to polls Dec. 18

Voters in the Hancock School district should mark their calendars to vote on Dec. 18. That is the day when school district taxpayers will be able to go to the polls and vote on a school building addition and remodeling referendum. The proposed $5.4 million project will include three aspects, a new addition with additional classroom space and an elevator making the upper level of the high school building accessible to all, renovation of the 1924 high school building and equalizing classroom sizes and renovation of the 1960 addition to include upgrades, repairs and improvements.

A committee consisting of two school board members and school administrators continue to meet with I & S and ICS, the contractor approved for the proposed project. A few areas in the plans have seen some minor changes but basically the plans remain the same. The high school restrooms may see some changes pending state approval. It was noted that the roof on the new addition will have a slight pitch. Principal Tim Pahl is meeting individually with teachers to get input for the classrooms.

Voters will be informed of all aspects of the project including how it will affect taxes. Mailings will be sent out in December and a public hearing will be held on Dec. 10 at the school. Voters are encouraged to attend the hearing to get more information and have questions answered. Architects will be presenting a power point demonstration and offering hand-outs for discussion.

The voters will then be asked to go to the polls on Tuesday, Dec. 18 to vote on the new referendum. Voting will take place at the school that day. A special meeting of the school board will be on Dec. 21 at 5 p.m. to canvas the votes.

In other action at the November meeting of the Hancock school board, it was decided to approve hiring Karla Cronen for three hours of homebound instruction for a student on a Section 504 plan. The board also regretfully accepted the resignation of Sandy Nelson and will offer the position internally before advertising for a replacement. Mary Pahl and Barry Nelson were approved to transport students with their personal vehicles as needed. This was necessary due to the increased length of bus routes and van use.

The board also authorized the administration to go forward with the purchase of a multifunction school activity bus using funds donated by the FFA. The purchase will be pending a full inspection. The FFA will donate the $9,500 needed to purchase the bus. However, the district will be responsible for repairs and upkeep. The bus will hold 13 passengers plus the driver and can be used for extra-curricular activity transport. In order to use it on bus routes, the driver will need a CDL and bus driving endorsement.

A list of school foundation approved grants was also approved by the board. The grants total $4,794 and include new iPads for second and third graders, trips, band and choir risers and software to be used in the high school math department.

In the principal's report, Pahl thanked the members of the community for their support in passing the levy on Nov. 6. He also thanked the parents who attended parent teacher conferences and the students and staff who helped make the HHS fourth annual leaf raking project a success. He congratulated Ms. Schmidt and the cast and crew of the fall play "Anne Arky." and the students who made the first quarter honor roll.

Pahl also asked about sending out an enrollment survey to the parents of students who have left the school district or are home-schooled. The board would like to let them know that their opinion is important and hope they will return the survey to help the district.

The next regular board meeting will be on Dec. 17, one day before the vote. However, the board will also meet with architects and contractors on Dec. 10 prior to the public hearing.