With the Arlington Early Learning Center (AELC) closing at the end of the school year, the Poynette School District has been working on ways to repurpose as much equipment as possible, and donate some pieces that are no longer needed.

At the school board’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 18, it was decided that some of the desks and other things from the AELC could be donated to the nonprofit Hearts in Motion (HIM) organization. HIM is headquartered in Indiana, but has three additional offices in the U.S., including one in Mukwonago. It serves the impoverished in and around Gualan, Guatemala, as well as reaching out to those in need in Central and South America. In Guatemala, HIM has created a firehouse — and provides training and equipment to firemen — a Guatemalan headquarter building, a rehab and physical therapy center, a school sponsorship program, a nutrition center, a senior center and music education.

The school district would like to donate desks and chairs, and other items, to the organization. The district would have to do nothing else as HIM arranges to pick up the equipment and haul it away.

It was noted that AELC would also donate some items to nonprofits in Arlington and Poynette, as well as the possibility of the Arlington Fire Department receiving some items. In addition, there would be a rummage sale at the Learning Center, open to the public, for any additional items.

“We will make sure the public does have access, if they want those desks or tables,” District Administrator Matthew Shappell said. “Historically, we have had very little to no success selling those desks. But if we can pass those things along, that’d be great.”

The board was unanimous in all of its decisions during the meeting.

The school district is still looking for a realtor to handle the sale of the building, but Shappell hopes that a realtor will be found soon and that the building can be listed by the summer.

With the village board rejecting the proposed sidewalk near the new elementary school, the district said that it will unlikely be able to have a single start time for all schools. The lack of sidewalks maintains the Unusually Hazardous designation for those areas forcing bus transportation. However, there will be stop signs installed at the intersection of North and Main Street, as the village and the Columbia County Highway Commission will draw up a memorandum of understanding on the topic.

With the news that school closures were indefinite as of March 18, Shappell was looking for a silver lining, and found one regarding construction at multiple schools. The high school’s front entrance can now be remodeled right away without workers needing to stop to limit the noise hindering the students.

Also, the new elementary school is nearing completion. According to Shappell, a lot of the classrooms are just needing finished floors to be added. An open house was schedule for April 15, but has been canceled. Shappell said Findorf — the project construction company — could use a drone to capture footage of the nearly completed building, and that narration by the district could be added to the video when posting it online.

In other news, the district approved $2,250 in donations — $300 from the Arlington and Poynette BP and Elsing Oil Company, Inc. for the high school music department New Orleans Spring Trip; $200 from Gary and Nancy Elsing; $250 from the Poynette FFA Alumni to the high school; $500 from the Poynette Music Parents for the clinician fee for the Band Clinic Day; and $1,000 from Poynette Hometown Bank to be used at the discretion of the District. The Poynette Baseball Association also donated an indoor batting cage for the high school that will be able to be set up in the gym.

Since the New Orleans trip and the band’s clinic day have been canceled, Shappell said those donors will be asked if they would like to be refunded their contribution. If they refuse, the district can use that money wherever they see fit.

The board also approved a change in the 2020-21 curriculum. Economics and a modern/21st century history or current events class will now be an elective due to the social studies discipline changing.

The board also approved the retirement/resignation of a pair of teachers at the end of the school year. Scott Hazard, a band and general music teacher who has spent 31 years in the district, will retire, and John Howe, a technology education teacher with four years in the district and 33 years in education, will resign.

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