School board entertains several personnel changes

By Emily Bialkowski
Caledonia Argus

The Caledonia Board of Education’s regular meeting was filled with solid housekeeping items and an air of anticipation for the upcoming school year.


“Now is an exciting time for us all. Next week it starts. All of our work has been in preparation for this coming week when we’re able to bring all our staff back on board as a team. It’s going to be a great start to the new year,” Ben Barton, the district’s new superintendent, said.

With that, the board began sweeping the agenda.


Personnel items

• The board accepted the resignations of Ellen Soper a full time teacher and Mary Lou Gerard as part time middle school/high school cook.

• The board recalled Sherri White as an elementary media specialist/gifted and talented/Title I teacher.

• The board agreed to hire Stacey Meyer as a part time middle school/high school English and ESL teacher; Tory Kale Schulz as a full time kindergarten/first grade teacher; Denise Wernecke as a part time school nurse; and Zoe Lamm as a full time middle school/high school life science teacher.

• The board had previously approved the hiring of James Westland as the 9th grade football coach for $1,665.89, but he expressed a desire to job share the position with Dan Muenkel. The board agreed to split the stipend evenly between the two.

• The board agreed to provide the MS/HS principal a $25 stipend for cellular phone needs.

• The board approved a co-curricular coaching contract for school year 2012-13 for the Knowledge Bowl for both Becky Breeser and David Riley at $1,574 apiece.

“The seasons don’t match up, and there are enough students to make up at least one team for each program,” said Barton in regard to the need for two coaches.

Board member Kelley McGraw remained concerned – as he was at the July board meeting – about the dollar amount allocated for Knowledge Bowl based on participation numbers. He said, moving forward, “I think we should warn teachers that if there are low numbers you may have to reallocate those funds to something more pressing.”

The item passed 4 to 2 with Scott Longhorn and Kelley McGraw voting nay. John Klug arrived late and missed the vote.



• The board adopted a resolution addressing student attendance policies.

In a related matter, the board entertained a “first reading” of the following policies, which will be considered for adoption at the Sept. 17 meeting:

• Bullying prohibition

• Internet acceptable use and safety

• Harassment and violence

• Mandated reporting of child neglect or physical or sexual abuse

• Use of peace officers and crisis teams to remove students with Individual Education Plans from school grounds/restrictive procedures for students with disability

These policies are available for review by the public on the district’s website at Click on district; school board; then online school board agendas.



The board entertained a request from the district’s FFA advisor, Brad Harguth, to allow him to take 11 students to the National FFA Convention in late October by charter bus.

Seven Caledonia students are set to go as delegates, and four are preparing for the National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation Career Development Event.

The students attending will cover their individual cost to attend, about $175. The Caledonia FFA chapter will cover the convention registration fee, Harguth said in his application.

Ms/hs Principal Paul DeMorett  said this year’s trip is a little more exciting because local students have qualified for the dairy competition.



• In his monthly report DeMorett indicated he is working on four key projects, including research on how the high school can help students fulfill an entire associate’s degree while still in high school; research on the new teacher evaluation legislation; welcoming teachers to the new school year; and work with the bullying committee.

• In his monthly report Barton also reported working on the new teacher evaluation standards, among other items, and consideration of a non-voting student member for the school board.

• In light of the Nov. 6 vote on a $495,000, one-day bond, the board has configured a referendum committee consisting of Melissa Marschall, Jean Meyer and Michelle Werner to look at ways of publicizing the ballot item.

• The next regular meeting of the board of education is set for Monday, Sept. 17.


Contact Emily Bialkowski at [email protected]