Greenhouse plans grow closer to fruition

by Dave Cary Review Correspondent

The Plymouth Education Foundation’s goal of raising $1 million for the greenhouse project took a step closer to reality at Tuesday’s board meeting. The board voted to allow use of some $300,000 of foundation to help raise more funds toward the amount above will be used for the greenhouse itself but associated ag and culinary arts educational programming as well.

The $300,000 -- which came from Acuity several years back and was maintained in the “Kids Outside the Average” fund by earlier foundations, who spent only the interest earned by the principal and not the principal itself -- will be used in fundraising to match, 50 cents on the dollar, donations made by outside sources to the project. The total should reach the million sought.

This would not be the usual sort of let’sgo to-the-phones fundraiser one sees on TV or hears on public radio; the matching funds provision would only apply to donations of $10,000 or more; the campaign will go on for 12 months once it formally starts.

Superintendent Carrie Dassow and board president Mark Rhyan both were careful to say that this use of funds will not impact scholarships at all.

Rhyan said that the foundation’s new executive director, Anne Troka, felt prospects for finding large donors were quite good.

• • •

The board’s three-year strategic planning which features three ‘pillars’ or goals. The first is seeing to it that all students are prepared for post-high school education or work; the second, that the present educational environment is maintained and enhanced and the third that faculty is encouraged and directed top develop professionally.

In an update to the board, Assistant Superintendent Dan Mella said that as to the first, some 85% of students go on to school after PHS and that the district had been and continues to relate to the local economy quite effectively, through relationships with area businesses and other entities as well. A couple examples were the modernization the food science area – seen as important since one quarter of the area’s economy is food-related – and the automotive modernizations enabled by the Van Horn donations. These tend to lend a cutting-edge quality to study because they bring some state-of the art knowledge into the class without faculty or administration having to go out and get it.

Along these lines are the teaching partnerships the district has with UW-Oshkosh and UW-Green Bay, which, Mella said, were something like a teaching hospital. Attracting high-quality faculty, he said is likely to be benefit from this since these also tend to keep things fresh.

• • •

In other matters, the board approved the Botany Crosswalk Curriculum for a high school science credit. This move will allow students to earn a science credit for taking the Botany course through the agriculture department. The curriculum must be sent to the State DPI for final authorization.

Business Manager Jon Miller presented the2013-14 budget for approval and for forwarding to the annual meeting for approval by the electorate. The budget calls for a levy increase of just over four percent above last year. Miller said that the budget was brought into balance by use of some $211,000 of fund balance, used largely to offset an $185,000 roof repair that had not figured in early calculations.

The board approved pay raises of $5 per hour for district nurses. . Miller said the nurse raises make the district more competitive; it employs two part-time RNs. The board also raised pay for substitute teachers by $10 per day, while substitute aides were raised to $8 per hour and substitute custodial personnel to $9 per hour. Dassow said the latter raises were requested to make the district more competitive although the substitute teacher raise – to $80 per day – was still a bit low.

• • •

The board accepted the following donations:

•$1,668.02 from Fairview PTO for student class trips and teacher supplies.

•$74.15 from Horizon PATH for teacher supplies.

•$322.27 from Johnsonville Rod & Gun Club for student class trips.

•$366.81 from YMCA for class trips to Camp Y-Koda.

•$3,752.27 from Parkview PTK for student transportation.

• • •

In personnel matters, the board approved contracts for:

•Emily Donaldson to teach 70% music at Fairview and Parkview. Donaldson has a Bachelors degree from UW-Milwaukee and taught the last three and a half years in China.

•Sarah Reabe to teach Instrumental Music at Riverview. Reabe has a bachelor’s from Winona State University, two years teaching experience in Sheboygan and eight years as a private instructor.

•David Rockhill to teach alternative education at PHS. Rockhill has a bachelor’s from UW-Whitewater and Masters from UW-Milwaukee. He has 18 years’ experience with the Kewaskum schools.

•Elliott Friedel as a cross-categorical teacher at PHS; Friedel has a bachelors from Northern Michigan University and masters from Cardinal Stritch University. He has six years’ experience with Janesville schools.

•Brianna Hartman to teach 8th grade English/Language arts at Riverview. Hartman has a bachelor’s from Northland College, and this will be her first teaching position.

•Cassandra Cotter to teach 4K at Horizon on a 50% contract. Cotter has a bachelor’s from UWOshkosh and taught three years at Sheboygan County Head Start.

•Alexandra Leichtnam to teach cross-categorical at Fairview; Leichtnam has a bachelor’s from UW-Platteville and one years’ experience at Urban Middle School in Sheboygan.

•Todd Williams to teach Business Education at PHS. Williams holds a bachelor’s from Concordia College and masters from UWStout. He has 14 years’ experience with the Sheboygan schools.

•Field Lehmann to teach elementary art. Lehmann holds a bachelor’s from UW-Milwaukee and taught one year in China.

The board also accepted the following resignations:

•Andrew Damp, 80% PHS Business education teacher, after 18 years with the district.

•Jessica Sinor-Vanne cross categorical teacher for nine years at PHS.

•Kelly Schroeder, Grade 8 English/Language teacher at Riverview after four years with the district.

•Sarah Hapeman, 45% reading teacher, after seven years with the district.

•Lauren Kultgen, 100% elementary art teacher after two years with the district.

The board also approved two out-state travel requests from Ag Teacher Walter Taylor for the FFA national convention October 29 to November 2 and to the FFL Leadership Conference next June 23-39.


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