High School senior Elizabeth TenBarge was sworn in Nov. 11 as the student representative to the Lodi School Board.
District Administrator Charles Pursell called it a milestone that reflected well on the progressive stance of the district. “We and one other school district in the state of Wisconsin are the only ones with student representatives duly elected to and appointed to the Board of Education.”
Pursell noted that TenBarge had already been attending meetings. He described her as prepared and articulate. He said that her addition would bring “a student view to the questions and concerns” facing the Board.
TenBarge told the Board that she has an interest in pursuing it as a career.
“I enjoy spending my time here and I’m really excited,” TenBarge said.
For all the improvements seen across the Lodi School District in recent months in the aftermath of the most recent referendum, the potential exists for even more. Members at the School Board meeting looked at projects that have not yet been approved or are not being addressed through the Department of Justice Safety Grant.
“At the committee level, we reviewed the expenditures, some of which came in under what we projected,” Pursell said. “We talked at our last meeting about expending those funds for additional projects. “
In the short term, the Board approved replacing the pump and a broken frequency drive at the high school pool in the amount of $8,500. Pursell then offered the Board an opportunity to go much further.
“If you take a look at the original $500,000 that was appropriated, subtracting all those projects that have been approved and that are completed or are currently pending, there’s approximately $24,691 that we have not expended. Couple that with interest earnings that we have made over the length of the project, we’re in the neighborhood of about $275,000 to $300,000 of funds that we still have available that can carry out some of the other priorities.”
Pursell said the Facility/Finance Committee was making two recommendations. One of which was making the Board meetings more accessible in a more reasonable format that people can view. The idea would be to offer Board meetings to the public in a streaming format with closed captioning.
Finance/Facility Committee member Steven Ricks added that the board room currently weighs heavily on district tech staff and “It’s also through a method that a lot of people don’t have access to anymore, going through the cable company.”
Pursell also suggested taking a look at the Performing Arts Center as a second project.
“The other thing is the Performing Arts Center at the High School that gets a lot of use all the way from our primary music program, all the way through our high school musical and arts programs; as well as in some cases we’ve used it extensively for community meetings,” he said. “It has some technology, some sound, some lighting issues and it hasn’t been touched since it was originally built in 1997.”
Board member Michelle Pare concurred. “It’s a great facility. I’ve judged all over the state and it’s one of the best we’ve got, but it needs some help. It’s sad.”
The Board of Education voted unanimously to get bids on the cost of both projects. The work is time sensitive, since any work needs to be completed by May, 2020.
The Board of Education also received a report from Library Media Center Director Paula Tonn. She said her role and that of the LMC included promoting literacy and a love of reading; curating collections both on shelves and online; connecting students and supporting teachers.
Tonn said that her goals included developing a long-range library plan for the district. She concluded, “The bottom line is if you have quality library programming, you have higher student achievement.”