Written by Devon Boen
The Wolf Point School board met May 14 and made multiple changes to the board structure.
As a result of the board selecting current high school principal and co-superintendent Joe Paine as the 2013-14 full-time district superintendent, a principal vacancy arose. The board unanimously approved Kim Hanks as the junior/senior high school principal for next year. Hanks is currently the assistant junior/senior high school principal.
Board member Scott Nefzger’s seat was up for re-election this year and he chose not to run again. Nefzger chose to step down because he said he needed to dedicate more attention to his career in the next several years.
“It’s been a joy getting to know everybody and working with everyone. It started off a little rocky, but I’ve got to admit the last couple years have actually been kind of fun. I actually would have run again, but my current position at the hospital is going to be taking up a lot of my time in the next year or two, so I need to commit a little more to that,” Nefzger said.
Board chairman Martin DeWitt expressed his gratitude toward Nefzger.
“We’ve come a long way and I think both of us have grown quite a bit and I think I owe a lot of that growing for myself to him,” DeWitt said. “He’s done a lot of positive things. I really appreciate it. He’s served his time. Hopefully, one day he decides to come back and continue to help us out in trying to make our school better.”
After Nefzger stepped down from his seat, the board swore in newly elected Wolf Point board members Jaronn Boysun and Brent Nygard as well as Ed Bach who was elected to nominating district #3.
Boysun was appointed in January to replace board member Sonny Douglas and, during the election, he secured his seat for another three years.
After each election, the board is required to select a new chairman, vice-chairman and clerk. The board unanimously reappointed DeWitt as the board chairman and appointed Tracy Juve as the new vice-chairman in place of Nefzger. Cheri’ Nygard was selected as the new clerk. Erickson explained that her position as clerk will be assigned the new title of board secretary.
In the co-superintendent report, Karge and Paine discussed how federal funding would be limited next year and explained the serious budget issues it would cause the district.
Karge said the federal budget sequestration would force the school to make even deeper cuts.
Paine said if the district received 80 percent of Impact Aid funds next year, the elementary school would have about $1,000 less in its annual budget for next year. The high school budget would be $185,000 less than last year’s budget.
Paine and Karge also stressed that the district might not receive 80 percent of the Impact Aid funds, which would make the budgets even tighter.
“We, as a district, are still going to have to tighten our belt or increase revenue,” Paine said.
DeWitt brought up the possibility of running another mill levy election.
“Without community support, we don’t have a school. Without community support, we don’t have a budget — we don’t have anything,” DeWitt said. “There’s no way that we can continue to offer a fair and quality education and an opportunity for our students without community support.”
“I think we need to be very specific on the ballot about what we’re going to use the money for so the taxpayers know,” said Juve. “I think we also need to do a mail-in election.”
The board closed out the meeting with staffing hires, renewals and resignations.
Board members unanimously approved hiring Jocelyn Peters as a Southside second-grade teacher, Sharri Vandall as a Northside summer school teacher, Kati Hari as a Northside teacher, Jase Miller as a Northside teacher, Emily Hamilton, Lee Vandall and Karla McGill as junior/senior summer school teachers and Kim Hanks as the summer school coordinator.
The board approved renewing all current head coaches and renewed 44 classified staff members. It also approved renewing Northside principal Hannah Nieskens as an administrative staff member and Megan Helmer and Jeff McMorris as certified staff members for the 2013-14 school year.
The board unanimously accepted the resignations of Northside teachers Lisa Gowing, Jessica Molenda and Carla Swenson, along with junior high teacher Katrina Vaira Danelson.