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Cambridge schools approve Koshkonong Trails five-year contract

“Twelve years ago or so, this was a complete vision,” said school board president Tracy Smithback-Travis. Its “unheard-of that we would have come this far."

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The Cambridge School Board has renewed its contract with Koshkonong Trails, the district’s project-based charter school. The contract is good for five more years.

Koshkonong Trails was founded in 2018, through a three-year contract between the Cambridge School District and the Koshkonong Trails Governance Board. The original contract expires in June.

The school board approved the contract between the two boards, required by state law, on Feb. 15, after several months of discussion.

School board members said the renewal affirms Koshkonong Trails as a positive addition to the district.

Board member Courtney Reed Jenkins called the school “a jewel for us.”

“For such a small school district to have this sort of innovative charter school is remarkable,” Reed Jenkins said.

“Twelve years ago or so, this was a complete vision,” said school board president Tracy Smithback-Travis. Its “unheard-of that we would have come this far,” she said.

Governance board president Jay Settersten said Koshkonong Trails’ board feels “comfortable with the contract as written,” and “things have been going well on our end” regarding contract negotiations.

Superintendent Bernie Nikolay said this contract won’t look too different from the last. With only two minor changes brought up at its Feb. 15 meeting, the Cambridge School Board passed the contract unanimously.

Settersten shared Monday night that the governance board did receive some direction for minor changes from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

And board member Mike Huffman asked that the district add a zoning capacity to the contract for the modular building that Koshkonong Trails is based out of on the Severson Learning Center.

The biggest change, Nikolay said, was extending the contract’s length from three years to five, Nikolay said. A longer contract gives the school more stability, and reassures students looking to enroll there, board members said.

The contract also will not require the number of teachers at Koshkonong Trails to match its current student enrollment. While class sizes will stay small, Nikolay said, student-teacher ratios will be a target rather than a guarantee.

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