The Poynette School Board approved a project that would update the kitchen at the high school, specifically to replace the dishwasher, during its monthly meeting on April 27.

It is believed that the current dishwasher is more than 40 years old. Also, current building codes require a grease trap with any appliance — which the current dishwasher does not have.

The total cost would be $46,100 for the dishwasher and an additional $10,700 for a grease trap — a $56,800 project. The district did receive a $22,000 grant to go toward a new dishwasher.

For the last year, the district has been building up Fund 50 (for food service use only) to pay for ongoing kitchen renovations. In June 2020, the balance of that fund was around $364,000.

In 2020, the district provided the Department of Public Instruction with its plans for the kitchen, which included a new freezer, a washer/dryer and other equipment, and $32,000 for a dishwasher. All those projects were estimated to cost around $192,000 — still leaving about $172,000 in Fund 50. The DPI accepted the district’s plan.

Under the Bboard’s approval, the total cost must not exceed $60,000 for the new dishwasher and related equipment.

In its first actions of the night, though, the board welcomed Jody Bartnick as its new member, then proceeded to select its leadership positions, beginning with electing a new president. Former President Kathleen Lucey chose not to run for re-election last month after a 10-year stint on the Board.

Receiving nominations for president from fellow board members were current treasurer Jeff Noble and Jamie Pauli — the current vice president. Noble was elected president by a 4-2 hand-raising vote, and Pauli will remain vice Ppresident. Randy Tomlinson will remain clerk and Sally Stewart will be the district’s treasurer.

In other news, the board approved the resignation of PHS Associate Principal Jessica McCracken, whose position also serves the dual role of being the athletic director for the Poynette schools.

The search for a new Associate Principal/Athletic Director begins immediately.

Also, these are the other open positions within the district — special education teacher at PHS, world languages teacher at PES, two full-time custodians, strength and speed Coordinator for the spring, and a special education paraprofessional.

Other news

One of the few items discussed in the district’s Return to Learn plan was that it was exploring outdoor graduation ideas. A back-up plan, if weather is an issue, would move graduation to the newly renovated Kerr Gym at PHS. The school is working on finding out how many family members each student would be allowed in each scenario.

Shappell said that outdoor graduation is “a great goal of ours” as it would bring back some more normalcy at the end of the school year.

As part of the CARES Act, the Elementary and Secondary School Relief (ESSER) Fund was created to help public — and charter — schools during the pandemic. The ESSER Fund has three phases. Schools already received ESSER I payments — Poynette got $53,000 that were used for various COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

ESSER II was distributed in January, with the Poynette district scheduled to receive $215,000 plus funds that are earmarked for a percentage of in-person instruction — which will close gaps in reading, math, mental health and social/emotional health.

The distribution of ESSER III funds will be at a later date, which could see the Poynette district receive close to $600,000. Those funds can help with teacher retention and purchases of high-quality curriculum. However, 20% of ESSER III funds must go toward helping close achievement gaps. The final phase of distribution will provide the state’s public schools with more than $1.54 billion. Funds are available for use through Sept. 30, 2024.

The district accepted two donations during the April 27 meeting. An anonymous donor gave $3,150 to the PHS boys basketball program for the purchase of new uniforms from BSN sports (with anything left over going toward other needed supplies for the program). The PAD Parent Club also donated $231.94 for supplies for Kindness Month at Poynette Elementary School.

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