HG approves new high school credit requirements

by Steve Ottman Review Correspondent

HOWARDS GROVE—The Howards Grove School Board approved new high school credits as required by the state of Wisconsin Monday.

One credit will be added each for science and math, making them each three credits to graduate.

The Legislature has approved the increase and it is currently on the governor’s desk for signing, so it will change eventually.

The total number of credits needed to graduate will remain the same at 28 and the number of electives will drop from 12 to 10. The new law will allow the school to have local control over what extra credits can be.

The current law says one science can be biology, any other science can be used for the remaining credits. For current students, the school will work with them.

Other science classes will be made available, so that students can have other choices than just chemistry.

Spring break was approved to run from March 30 to April 3 for the 2014-2015 school calendar.

This year’s spring break was set to accommodate the band trip and does meet state requirements. The calendar will also have a built in snow day for May 22 if needed.

Board member Richard Hemb questioned why the school is going back to the week-long spring break because the survey said no to the break.

He felt that there is an isolated group driving for the spring break and questioned the educational impact.

Hemb was told that there would be plenty of homework over the break for the high school, even if there are 100 band or choir students gone for three days in Florida.

Middle School officials noted there is no research that showed spring or Christmas breaks had an adverse effect on learning, although there is during the summer.

The elementary school felt that it hurts more when the parents take the kids out of school for 7-10 days than if there was no break.

Hemb also questioned the Oct. 24 day off from school and asked why it isn’t the last Friday in October. There was discussion about the reason why year-round school also needs breaks.

Hemb said that 60 percent of 160 survey respondents said they didn’t want a spring break.

January 23 will also be a in-service day. It is two days after the first semester break.

The Howards Grove Education Association ratified a new contract Nov. 6. The board voted to ratify the contract at the November meeting. It was agreed that a pot of money equaling $61,404 (approximately 2.07 percent) will be added to the salary schedule.

The HGEA has agreed to distribute that money by equal amounts to current salaries. It was reported that the HGEA unanimously ratified the proposed contract, but would not disclose how many eligible voters there are in the HGEA.

The current flexible benefit plan through Employee Benefit Corporation has offered a new option in. The new option will allow employees to carryover up to $500 of unspent employee contribution for an additional 12 months.

With the deductibles increasing and the estimating of how much to flex being a bigger question, this option will provide some flexibility to the employees on how much to contribute.

This option will not cost the district any additional money.

Jean Hawkinson was added as an Advisory Board member. Hawkins has a history with education and lives in the village.

The Florida band/choir trip was approved to be taken over spring break. The students are raising funds from the Weill Center and are adding a food sale that was approved by the board.

The district audit was accepted. The special board meeting wasn’t needed.

New health care premiums will be in effect Jan. 1, 2014 for full-time employees and part-time employees. Premiums for single plans were decreased to 10 percent and family plans were raised to 15 percent.

Lt. Mike Williams of the Sheboygan Police presented a power point on drug enforcement in Sheboygan County.

Heroin use is on the rise as cases grew in every city in the past three years. Deaths are up 50 percent since 2012 and teens who have tried heroin is up 300 percent since 1995.

Williams felt that the misuse of prescription drugs is a gateway and that there was an increase of 200 overdoses since 2009, 1,100 percent in offense re- ports and 1,500 percent in arrests.

In June the Sheboygan Police Department applied for a grant “Heroin Initiative Through Understanding”, the grant was awarded in September.

Acuity also donated $100,000, which allowed the grant to be used county-wide.

Williams went through objectives and felt that the schools needed to start drug prevention programs to educate students, parents and teachers.

More information can be found on heroin at www.flyeffect.com.

Board President Jeff DeAmico thanked the HG Education Foundation for a donation to the Challenge Day Program, the Sheboygan Elks Club, the junior football league and Howards Grove Boosters for donations.


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