Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm back at it!

Sorry that I have been to busy with family and work to update this blog for what seems like a long time.  I'll try not to let it happen until spring next year I promise!

While I have been very busy I still could not help but notice that Mr. Pfankuch has been active in the newspaper this past summer (while I was away from this blog) voicing his opinion on the local school boards, county board and their doings. Good to know some things don't change!

I've also read some interesting things in the Eagle Herald Newspaper this past summer about school's and their issues.

School Board Makes Administration Changes

Finally one small local school district seems to be catching on! 

In the 8/15/2012 addition of the Peshtigo Times on the front page it says that the Wausaukee School District board has "tentatively agreed to expand the role of Elementary Principal Jared Deschane to that of K-12 Principal as part of an overall administrative downsizing that eliminates one principal's position."

WOW!  Wonder where they got that idea?  Maybe they can read the newspaper or this blog perhaps? We know that very few new ideas come out of any school board members heads . . . . . .

Keeping teachers is a good idea.  Having to many bosses and not enough workers is a bad idea!

Peshtigo School Board getting smarter?

After the failed attempt by the Menomonee School District to get $26 Million additional tax dollars from the local folks maybe one school district is getting smarter? 

The school district has already bought land so does anyone not think they are going to try and build a new school soon?

Seems in the article below that the Administrator now feels the need to "plan".  Huh?  What a concept!

Although some of the things likely to be included are "big ticket maintenance items that cannot wait, like a roof on the current facility.".   Since when is roof replacement not somewhat an anticipated and normally a budgeted expense? 

At least the Peshtigo School District seems to be doing a good job of educating their kids which is why parents move their kids to that school district it seems after looking at their enrollment figures.

 From the 8/15/2012 Peshtigo Times:

Peshtigo School District Delays Referendum Vote

By a unanimous 9-0 vote at their Wednesday, Aug. 8 meeting, the Peshtigo School Board decided to not hold a referendum on a possible forthcoming proposal from the Ad Hoc Committee studying the Middle/High School facilities. Based upon timelines and a statutory 70 day requirement, the board viewed the November date as unrealistic.

According to Administrator Kim Eparvier, this decision did not come easily. The board was worried about losing momentum and interest, but also understood the need to plan.

Instead of the November date, the board voted to set the April 2013 Spring election as the target date for a possible referendum. This would give Hoffman Corporation time to put together a schedule and give the board time to fully contemplate a possible recommendation from the Ad Hoc Committee. By setting the target date, the district would also address another concern, that being the pushing off of the big ticket maintenance items that cannot wait, like the roof on the current facility.

In other matters before the board, Michelle Winkler was hired as a Middle/High School secretary. Keith Nault was hired as the Assistant Cross Country Coach, and Daniela Sutherland was hired as the Color Guard Coach. There were no retirements or resignations to report this month.

Eparvier reported that there will probably be bus transportations changes in effect for the first couple weeks of school because of the bridge construction. More students from the east side of the river will probably need bus transportation. Because the DPI rules on a 2 mile range will not apply with the bride being out, Eparvier added that he is consulting the bus company, Kobussen, about temporary arrangements. Primarily this will affect bus routes 2 and 3. Information on pick-up/drop-off times will be sent to affected parents earlier than normal. Once the bridge is reopened for traffic, everything will return to normal.

The Building and Grounds Committee reported on their recent outside inspection of summer projects. Everything planned is progressing nicely. All interior projects will be completed by August 29.

The Finance, Personnel and Negotiations Committee reported that they will hold another meeting very soon with the Support Staff of the district.

The Policies Committee reported that catching up to recent legislative changes is an uphill battle for the policies of the district. A large number of revisions are under consideration. Eparvier encouraged all the board members to review the proposed changes and record their thoughts and comments prior to the next meeting.

The board then went into closed session to discuss two items: a dually certified teaching candidate, and a discussion of ownership and contingencies relating to the offer to purchase property previously approved by the electorate per the Special Meeting held on July 30, 2012.

No action was reported upon reconvening to open session.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Can it happen in any school district?

Former Peshtigo Bookkeeper Gets Two Years In Prison

 How can this happen is the obvious question along with why isn't this caught much quicker? 

"She repeated stealing over many years."

I'm thinking that the folks on many School Boards don't have a clue about finances and bill paying at the tax payer business they have been elected to over see. One of the male board members in Crivitz would call it "micro management".  I wonder how he runs the family business? Maybe when Diane gets out of prison she could be his book keeper?

 Doesn't this make you wonder if the administrator was stealing from the tax payers would anyone know? 

This story was on the front page of the Peshtigo Times Wednesday March 28, 2012

Former Peshtigo School District Bookkeeper Diane R. Shearer, 52, of N6565 S. 6th St., Crivitz, was sentenced to two years in prison and three years of extended supervision on reduced charge of felony theft of $5,000 to $10,000 in a business setting. Shearer pleaded “no contest” to the sole charge.

Shearer appeared in person before Judge David Miron in Marinette County Circuit Court, Branch 1, for sentencing at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 22, accompanied by her attorney, Richard Boren.

Investigation reports showed between Oct. 7, 2005 and Sept. 10, 2010 Shearer issued herself unearned payroll checks, pay for overtime not worked and flex spending reimbursements which were not owed to her in the amount $43,982.83. She resigned her position on Sept. 10, 2010 after being interviewed by Peshtigo School Superintendent Kim Eparvier. She had been employed by the school district since the mid 1990s.

 Link to entire article:  http://www.peshtigotimes.net/?id=18898

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

CESA-8 and things to come?

I see in the Peshtigo Times last week that Wausaukee fired their Special Eduction Teachers.  Front page in the lower left corner. The School Administrator telling the public and the teachers over and over again that they'd be working for CESA-8 next year and that CESA-8 would be providing the same services to the students that the school district did using their own teachers. 

Does any one believe this to be true other than the School Board and Administrator?  Perhaps they don't even believe it since they hid in closed session to decide and vote?  Must be following the Crivtz School Boards lead on these types of actions where they are ashamed to let the parents and tax payers know what they think and how they vote. 

A service provider like CESA-8 has overhead (buildings and management) so I'd bet the students are getting the short end of the deal as well as the former Wausaukee teachers not to mention the tax payers.  I smell a lawsuit by the teachers.

 Funny how real numbers or actual dollar amounts of savings are never given just the old "it will save the school district money" along with "students will never know the difference", etc.

The teachers are being forced to change employers.  What if the teachers are not hired or don't want to work for CESA-8?  The parents will have been lied to again. I smell a lawsuit by the parents of Special Ed students.

Perhaps the School Board and Administrator can be fooled but not anyone with common sense and half a brain!  Someone should challenge if it was legal to go into closed session for this landmark decision or sue the district for obvious discrimination.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Peshtigo School Board makes a mistake?

Usually the Peshtigo School District is one to follow but I think they missed the mark this time.  The school nurse is retiring and the school board has voted 6 to 3 to go with a couple part time nurses to replace the full time retiring nurse.  Below is an article from the front page of the Peshtigo Times March 21, 2012 issue. So like Crivitz there won't be coverage at the schools for the entire day.  I hope the kids can schedule when they get sick or need the services of a trained professional.  The savings in benefits for a full time employee vs two part time employees should easily exceed a possible loss of life! 

Peshtigo Principal Motkowski To Retire

Peshtigo Middle/High School Principal Stephen Motkowski submitted a letter to the Wednesday, March 14 meeting of the Peshtigo Board of Education stating his intent to retire at the end of the current school year.

Motkowski wrote, “I will never forget the kindness, support and trust you extended to me during the past seven years. In my tenure as High School Principal, I have observed and been a part of tremendous change and progress in education. I believe that the Peshtigo School District is one of the finest school districts in the state and consider it an honor to have been a member of that distinguished group of outstanding and devoted educators.”

The letter went on to say, “While I look forward to the opportunity retirement will bring me, I will miss the many personal and professional relationships that I have developed while here. I will always be grateful and reflect fondly on my time spent here in Peshtigo.”

The board unanimously approved Motkowski’s retirement. Also submitting their notices of retirement from the district were 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher Terri Gaedke and School Nurse Vicki Mylener.

Mylener’s impending retirement gave pause to the board as they considered how to replace her, and in what format. Administrator Kim Eparvier stated that the administrative team recommends posting for two part-time positions, with an elementary part-time nurse being on duty from 9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The middle/high school part-time nurse would be on duty from 12:15 to 3:30 p.m.

Justifying this recommendation, administration felt the proposal would provide a structured, consistent and equitable schedule for the buildings; would provide coverage for both buildings during the busy noon hour periods, would keep competition for the nurse’s time between the schools to a minimum, and neither position would be a full-time position requiring full-time benefits.

In response to the administration’s proposal, Mylener wrote, “School health is a complex entity of nursing which many people do not understand. The students and families of the District deserve health services that are managed consistently by a professional educated in school health. A full-time employee who knows the students and families district-wide can provide the consistency our students deserve.”

Her letter continued, “Although the legislature recently changed the requirements of school nurses, they are minimal requirements which have not yet been developed. A nurse holding a bachelors degree already has the requirements necessary to work in a school setting.”

She concluded, “If the Board wants a nurse who is well educated, dedicated and committed to the District, I feel that person deserves to be equally treated as other professionals in the District. I would like to recommend that you fill the positions with a full-time employee.”

Board member Julie Muenster questioned why the recommended elementary position would be slated to begin at 9:00 a.m. and not 8:00 a.m., when school begins. Elementary Principal Tammy Kielbasa answered that the times from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p. m. were critical at the elementary because of students who need to take their morning medications. The administration recommendation also noted that since Mylener this past year was teaching a First Hour CNA (Nursing Assistant) course, she wasn’t available during the 8 to 9 a.m. slot anyway.

About this latter point, Mylener responded that she did not like not being there during those times, and that this current school year was the only year during her tenure she was not on duty during that time slot.

Board member Kelly Jones questioned if posting for two part-time positions, instead of one full-time, would create enough interest to attract available and qualified applicants.

Eparvier responded, “We won’t know until we try.” He went on to further add that staying with a full-time position would mean reductions elsewhere next school year.

The administration recommendation to post two part-time school nurse positions passed on a 6-3 vote, with Coble, Fifarek, Hammer, Larsen, Rhode and Thomas voting in favor, and Hess, Jones and Muenster voting negative.

Full article:

http://www.peshtigotimes.net/index.php?id=18854

Internet, Media Safety Expert to address Students at Crivitz

On Wednesday, April 25th internet and safety expert Eric Szatowski is going to do some presentations for the students during the day and one for parents at 6:30 PM in the Auditeria.

You may want to put it on your calendar.  You and I know few if any of the School Board Members will attend as they no longer have students in school!  

Friday, March 16, 2012

Scott Walker's Update: Putting Politics Before People is Wrong


E-update From the Desk of Governor Scott Walker

One of the most important duties I have serving as your Governor is to provide you directly with updates related to the operation of our state government.  I also frequently provide updates on Facebook (Governor Scott Walker) and Twitter (@govwalker). Please feel free to share this update with your family, friends, and others who may be interested in state government operations.   


Putting Politics Before People is Wrong
Earlier this year the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators surveyed 353 school districts (which account for 83% of Wisconsin school districts) and revealed that three school districts (Milwaukee, Kenosha and Janesville) accounted for 68% of teacher layoffs for the entire state, but contained only 12.8% of Wisconsin students.  To date, these three school districts have not utilized any of the fiscal tools available to help manage their budgets.  If they did, they could save tens of millions of dollars.
Last week, after looking at the facts, the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system and the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA) had a change of heart and asked the Legislature for the ability to explore implementing some of the budget reforms I signed into law last year.  Specifically MTEA asked the legislature to pass legislation that would enable them to renegotiate their contract and ask their members to contribute a little bit more toward their pensions and healthcare in order to save jobs. Allowing the MTEA to open up their contract would enable the District to capture the savings that districts and local governments across the state were able to realize after the passage of Act 10.
I stand with MPS and MTEA in their efforts to avoid teacher layoffs and improve education, which is exactly why I will sign this legislation into law.  
Unfortunately, union bosses from Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, and Racine wrote MTEA president Bob Peterson a letter and said, “Allowing Governor Walker to make such a claim (a victory of his policy) just before the election will prove detrimental to recalling him.”
The union bosses’ use of Wisconsin school children as political pawns is shameful and has caused me to reaffirm my commitment to stand behind the decisions like the one made by MTEA President Bob Peterson.  In this instance he is putting school children before politics and he should receive credit for standing up for what is right. 
In support of Milwaukee school children, I penned a letter to the union bosses, which you can read here.  
The union bosses’ letter came on the heels of the mining vote, where 17 state Senators put politics before people and before jobs. Through mining reform legislation, the state had the opportunity to see thousands of jobs created along with a $1.5 billion private investment. Private sector unions strongly supported the legislation and the creation of family supporting jobs. In an effort to find compromise, more than 20 changes were made to the legislation to try and bring at least one job-supporting Democrat on board. Despite the support of private sector unions and repeated attempts at compromise, Democrats put politics before people and voted against reasonable reform and against jobs.
Not too long ago, I spent 18 months interviewing for the job of Governor and pledged to put the power back in the hands of the people again, instead of where it had been previously—in government.  When these union bosses are ready to put the best interests of our students and of our hard-working taxpayers ahead of politics, I will be there with them.  I will be there, just as I was with Milwaukee.

Historic 2011-12 Legislative Session
The Legislature should be commended for its work during the historic 2011-2012 session.  Over the course of a year and a half plus two special sessions, major pieces of legislation to encourage job creation were signed into law. Government operations were reformed, taxpayers were protected, substantial education reforms advanced, and healthcare was improved.  Most importantly, over the course of the session, we eliminated a $3.6 billion deficit and paid off hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid bills leftover from the previous administration.
I want to thank members of the Legislature for their work during the past year and three months. 
The historic effort began back in January 2011 when I called a special session to Open Wisconsin for Business.  The special session included legislation to transform the Department of Commerce into the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, eliminate the state tax on Health Savings Accounts, enact nationally recognized frivolous lawsuit reform, expand opportunities for small business growth, and reform the state’s cumbersome regulatory system.
The Legislature also passed one of the most significant pieces of government reform legislation in the nation.  It is estimated that Act 10 has saved the state, local governments and school districts nearly $1 billion.  These savings allowed property tax payers to save millions of dollars while services and public sector jobs were saved.  The legislation also allowed government to make personnel decisions based on merit, not just seniority, and it opened the door for ideas like performance-based pay schedules that will improve our schools and local governments.  It also gave government the flexibility to shop around for the best health insurance deals.  Act 10 also helped put an end to overtime abuses that cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
The legislature also passed bills requiring photo ID at the polls and restoring the intent behind truth-in-sentencing legislation.
During the 2011-12 Session, the Legislature delivered a budget bill to my desk that balanced a $3.6 billion deficit, eliminated the structural deficit, passed a budget that was rated by Moody’s as “credit positive," and paid off over $800 million in debt left over by the last administration. By working with the Legislature we were able to invest $1.2 billion in new state taxpayer spending into Medicaid related programs.  The budget also included additional funding to prevent children from becoming victims of internet crimes.

The Legislature passed the bills I called for in the Back to Work Wisconsin special session call and delivered on my Wisconsin Working package. 
The legislative session also included the passage of major education reform bills, which include provisions to implement the recommendations of the Read to Lead Task Force and the Educator Effectiveness Design Team.  
The Legislature addressed major problems that were facing our state, made difficult decisions, and ultimately laid the foundation for a bright Wisconsin future. Because of their hard work our children and grandchildren will not be saddled with debt from our generation.  

Just Ask the Governor: Part IX

Each e-update I will answer a question submitted by a recipient of the previous e-update or from someone who contacts my office directly.

Question: My mother is on a fixed income with limited financial resources. She receives assistance from the BadgerCare program. What changes if any do you foresee for this program?

Answer:  One of my top priorities is to continue state taxpayer support for BadgerCare and programs like it, so our state can continue to provide medical assistance to those truly in need.  The budget I signed into law last year invested $1.2 billion more in state taxpayer money for medical assistance related programs than the previous budget, which includes programs like BadgerCare.  Even after putting nearly every new state tax dollar into the program we still fell short and the budget wasn’t balanced. 

In order to ensure that this vital program remains fiscally sustainable long into the future, a few potential changes I am exploring to the program include: making sure BadgerCare Plus recipients are Wisconsin residents,   not enrolling people in a taxpayer funded program if they have access to affordable health care coverage through their employer, and not allowing someone to stay on the program for a month after they become ineligible. We are also asking some adults to contribute modest premiums, which are more in line with what our neighbors with private insurance coverage pay. 

We had challenges facing BadgerCare and other programs like it, but we made difficult decisions that prioritized providing coverage to as many people as possible over making drastic cuts to benefits or cutting people from the program entirely. We are simply asking those who are financially able, to contribute a little bit toward their healthcare premiums, so we can continue to provide assistance to those who have no other options for healthcare. 

One of my top priorities is to continue state taxpayer support for BadgerCare and programs like it, so we can continue to provide medical assistance to those truly in need.  


It has been a pleasure communicating with you.  It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.

Sincerely,
Governor Scott Walker

Monday, March 12, 2012

New High School Scheduling & Class Length.

The brilliant staff has spent years figuring out how to set it up so every student has study hall for their last class of the day. As I understand this, their reasoning is so when there is a ball game, other activity or a snow day where the kids have to leave early this won't be a problem.  

Does this make any sense?  Do you think anyone is going to be in school until the end of the school day?   Not to mention that with the shorter classes which is what they did to accomplish this are the kids going to learn as much or have time to ask the teacher for help?  Or will some teachers will just teach less perhaps? 

Now it seems that there are not enough electives or even general eduction classes offered in Crivitz high school so this is going to make for some new problems. For instance a student that is not in band will likely run out of classes to take as a junior or senior.  With the new scheduling system a kid cannot take study hall early in the day so band and jazz band may have juniors and seniors taking it as it is the only available class that they have not taken. Kids cannot take classes twice even if they want to except for band of course. Remember though that all high school kids will have study hall as their last class. 

I'm guessing that the school board members many of whom don't have kids in school are not aware of what is going on or care.  So the school board is taking good care of the buildings but once again not the curriculum or actual eduction of our kids.  No surprises here!

Coleman hires new experienced Superintendent.

In a front page article of the March 7, 2012 Peshtigo Times, the Coleman School District announced that their 2 year (not 2 beers) search for a new school superintendent was over. Although the fellow hired is young he has a decent amount of experience and excellent references for the position he will start on July 1st.

No link to the article was available so I had a friend scan the article so I could attach it.  Thanks Nick!



Security not working?

A friend of mine told me that one of the kids was sick enough the other day that the kid had to be picked up from the grade school during the school day.  So the name badge wearing parent signed in at the grade school office.  The grade school office was empty.  Picked up the child from the nurse's office where no one even acknowledged the pickup of the child.  Sorry but I forgot to ask if the nurse was there.  I assume she was since the kid was in the nurses' office.  Maybe the nurse was on the phone or internet?   The parent and sick child signed out in the still empty grade school office.

Do you think that the new security system is working well?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bullying a problem in schools?

 I know that bullying is a problem in Crivitz of and by members and former members on the school board.  I also know a couple people that have had their kids bullied in school so I found this story interesting.

Almost half of Wisconsin students think bullying is a problem in schools

More than 44 percent of Wisconsin students say bullying and harassment are problems at their schools, according to results from the Department of Public Instruction's Youth Behavior Risk Survey. The survey found 17 percent of students say they have been electronically bullied through email, instant messaging, social media or texting.   Results from the Youth Behavior Risk Survey, which the DPI administers every two years, were released Thursday. More than 3,000 ninth- through 12th-graders took the 2011 survey.
Other survey findings:
Marijuana use has increased to 22 percent, but the percentage of students using alcohol or tobacco fell to 39 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
Fourteen percent of students say they have considered suicide.
More students reported having sex within the past few months; 64 percent said they used a condom and birth control was used 26 percent of the time.
There were slight increases in the number of students who were overweight (15 percent) or obese (10 percent).
Ninety-seven percent of students reported feeling safe in schools. More than 90 percent of students say they are using seatbelts.



Filed by The Post-Crescent of Appleton

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20120220/GPG0101/302210017&located=rss 



Friday, February 17, 2012

Form Citizens Advisory Committee on School Needs?

According to the Peshtigo Times Wednesday Feb. 15, 2012 newspaper article (page A-16) the Peshtigo School District is forming the group to study what action to take to handle their growing school enrollment. We know that Crivitz and many other area school districts have a declining enrollment.

It is great that the School Administrator in Peshtigo has the common sense to do this.  Perhaps other school districts should follow his lead?

Why is the Peshtigo School District steadily growing while others are shrinking?  I bet school choice has something to do with it.  What do you think?

Things like this fail if School Boards and Administrators have a history of not listening.  No one comes because no one listens or follows any suggestion. The current administrator here thinks he knows all the answers and questions!  Time to send him packing perhaps?

Teachers Agree To Reduce Compensation to Save Jobs!

While I have never suggested that teachers are over paid or that their pay should be cut it seems that in some area school districts the teachers have decided to save jobs.

The following was part of a longer article in the Peshtigo Times Newspaper Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Oconto Falls Teachers Agree To Reduce Compensation to Save Jobs

The Oconto Falls School Board approved a proposal from the Oconto Falls Teachers Association to reopen the 2012-2013 master contract and reduce compensation for teachers as means to save jobs at a time of declining financial support for education. 

Wisconsin Act 65 which became effective Nov. 24, 2011 allowed school boards and bargaining units to reopen contracts in order to reduce compensation while maintaining other provisions of the negotiated contract. Act 65 provided a 90 day window of opportunity to make adjustments in previously negotiated contracts. The previous agreement with the teachers called for a cost of living increase for the 2012-2013 school year, an estimated 3.16% hike in compensation.

The teachers met and initiated a reduction to a 1.75% compensation increase which would ultimately save the school district $116,000. This was a positive sign of a joint effort to deal with the budget shortfalls for the coming school year.

Complete article is at:

http://www.peshtigotimes.net/?id=18613

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kids, teachers and tax payers on the losing end again!

So the School Board has given the three stooges new contracts.  The end result will be fewer teachers, bigger classes and fewer class offerings for the children because the school board needs two principals and one administrator for 700+ students.  There are many schools in the state and nation that have more students in one class than all the students in the entire Crivitz School District!  Why with budgets being tight (we lost 8 teachers this past school year alone) would anyone give new contracts to three inexperienced people in the middle of the budget year? 

A smart school board would get by with fewer bosses and more workers (teachers)!  That is what private employers are doing. We don't even have full time nurse coverage at both schools but we have two high paid hall monitors in both school buildings.  I guess that checking for parents ID's at the door in the mornings and afternoons is reason enough to have two principals right?   By the way they never have checked for my ID.
 
Maybe the reason that the school district needs to have three of them is because it takes three incompetent people to do the job of one or two experienced competent professionals?

It's no wonder that the school board does not put their agenda in the newspaper before the meetings.  Other school districts manage to do it ahead of time and it is free.  Maybe the school board and administrators are afraid that tax payers and parents will know what is going on and show up for their dog and pony shows (meetings)?  Of course with "Public Input" only at the start of the meetings and them not listening to any one anyways does it really matter what is best for the children and tax payers?   Nope not in Crivitz!  It is no wonder that parents wanted school choice.  I'm starting to understand why more parents are Home Schooling.

ps  I'm also told that the administrator still does not have the proper permanent license for the position he is being paid for.  Not to mention how many classes he has taken at Tax Payer expense.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Great Job Cheerleaders!

The cheerleaders once again made Crivitz proud!  The Junior High Team took 1st place in their division and the Crivitz Blue Team took 2nd place in the elementary division.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sportsmanship?

This column by Bill Gosse from the Sunday Press Gazette is a good one. Maybe the Crivitz School District should take this advice?

Have you ever been at a sporting event where you began to feel uncomfortable? Maybe the game was progressing, but an uneasy sensation came over you. It might have been a situation where the players were becoming unruly and disrespectful — where unsportsmanlike calls had to be made before the contest really got going.

As parents, we need to teach our children the difference between right and wrong so they can properly discern as they pass through life. Regarding sportsmanship, I try to do the same thing for readers. I understand this column isn't going to fix poor sportsmanship by itself. However, I take it somewhat personally when I continue to witness poor behavior.

My hope is it will make a difference if I explicitly point out what poor sportsmanship looks like in basketball — statistically shown by a TeamScore Inc., study to have the most incidents of bad behavior.  Please understand this is not an exhaustive list, nor is it in any order of importance, but hopefully it will help all participants to make the right decision going forward.

Fans swearing at officials' calls is never a good thing.

Coaches mouthing off to referees, childishly pouting when they don't get their way and apathetically quitting late in a game by not even getting up and addressing their team during a timeout is unacceptable — and to me, grounds for dismissal. Almost unequivocally, officials do not determine the outcome of a game. One or two plays may seem to dictate a result, but there is always something a team could have done better at other times to improve their chances of winning.

Reading a sportsmanship statement prior to a contest, but then refusing to exact consequences when the very violations that purportedly wouldn't be tolerated occur anyway, is hypocritical, enabling and defeating.

Administrators chasing officials at halftime — anytime — and berating and accusing them of throwing the game is rude and preposterous.

A student section turning their backs to the opponents' starting lineup is disrespectful. Allowing that same student section to yell "sucks" after each introduced player is pathetic.

When a player tries to showboat with an outlandish dunk — and misses — it's just as sad seeing fans laugh and jeer at him for trying. It takes a bigger person to resist the temptation of getting even.

I always will insist that fans yelling and waving during free throws or repeatedly yelling "airball" every time the victim thereafter touches the ball is unsportsmanlike, and not part of the game. Unfortunately, some hall-of-fame college coaches permit this continuous behavior at their institutions and the poor example gets passed down to high schools.

When pretentious comments pervade in the post-game handshake line, a cry for proper mentorship rings out.

Any time the police have to be called because of deteriorating conduct, we can safely, and sadly conclude there is still job security when it comes to poor sportsmanship.

Bill Gosse is headmaster at Providence Academy, a father of five, a former WIAA official, a former walk-on for the Marquette University basketball team and president of TeamScore Inc., a Greenleaf-based nonprofit organization promoting good sportsmanship in youth athletics.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Does the school nurse need help?

A parent tells me she had to take off of work because the school nurse was at the other building when her child had an immediate need.   That is sad and dangerous.

If I where her I'd be all over the school board and administration because they have a real problem and potential huge liability problem here.  What if the kid died due to lack of suitable response?   With a one less management person like a principal to pay perhaps we'd have two nurses? 

Does any one listen or think at the school? 

Does someone have to die?  911 or the Rescue Squad is not a realistic alternative if it is why bother with having a nurse?

Losing students and school aid?

I wonder why parents are pulling their children out of the Crivitz School District in the middle of the school year? 

I know it to be a fact and that the parents and kids did not leave the district.  Keep in mind that the school district is given money from the State of Wisconsin.  It is hard earned tax payer money.  The amount is around $7,650 per student according to the states web site. So 10 kids = $76,500.00 which is a lot of money to lose.

http://dpi.wi.gov/sfs/tier.html

What is the problem?  Conflicts with teachers?  Problems with principals?  A poor administration?  Lousy school board?  Bullying?  Poor curriculum?  All of these?  Some of these?

Wouldn't you think a school district with the following "Mission Statement" would be concerned a little bit?  

Mission Statement

The School District of Crivitz is committed to providing all the skills and opportunities necessary for every student in our district to receive the best education possible. This will be accomplished through the responsible and effective use of the resources entrusted us in a manner reflecting the moral and ethical standards of our community, demonstrating integrity in all our actions, respecting the opinions and input of others. This to ensure that all our students are prepared as successful citizens in our local and global society.

If you attend any of their meetings, observe their actions and the results it is obvious that they don't follow the mission statement where it says " respecting the opinions and input of others". I guess that they don't care about the "children" either.  A person might think that if for no other reason they would care about the money!

Hard to pay all the administration, teachers, support staff and expenses without enough students which = money!
 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Letter to the editor in both papers?

WOW looks like the Peshtigo Times and Eagle Herald agree on the opinion below as the following letter to the editor appeared in the Peshtigo Times 1/25/12 and Eagle Herald 1/26/12. I guess Mr. Pfankuch hit one out of the park!

From our readers

Letter to the Editor:

It is sad to see that many School Districts in Michigan and Wisconsin appear to be more concerned with the school buildings than with the education of our kids. Seldom if ever do School Boards, Administrators and Principals ask taxpayers for money to improve or increase educational offerings instead they ask for money to do what used to be considered routine maintenance on buildings, major repair to buildings, equipment updates, building replacement, etc.

When they want more taxpayer money they suddenly want everyone to know what is going on, never mind what they have been doing for the past 10+ years which is keeping every one in the dark. All you need to do is look at the gibberish printed in the newspaper and handed out at annual meetings that they call a budget. I don’t think most of the school board members understand the budget. What the taxpayers really might like to know are the following annual costs:

1. teachers salaries

2. support staff salaries

3. administrators salaries

4. teachers benefits

5. support staff benefits

6. administrators benefits

7. utilities

8. building maintenance

9. building improvements

10. student transportation

11. school vehicles other than busses

12. sports

13. Interest being paid and what the notes are for, balance remaining, etc.

14. large capital improvements

I’m sure there are additional items that could or should be added to the above list and perhaps some of the items could be subdivided in the interest of transparency of the true cost of education and where the money goes for the kids.

Pete Pfankuch,
Crivitz

Contract Extensions for over paid inexperienced employees?

Unless you have something to hide or fear a change in the power structure that a spring election may very well bring why would anyone in there right mind given the economy, budget restructuring and other concerns decide to give contract extension at this time of the budget year (middle)?  Oh wait since we are talking about an organization known for being very free with hard earned tax payers funds I guess it makes sense, right? They did balance the budget this year by not filling 8 full time openings already.

I guess that if you take a look at a school board which is made up of a machinist, owner of a plumbing business given to him by his dad that his grandpa started, owner of a dangerous sawmill which was another hand me down, self employed building inspector, health care worker, replacement for the kicked off CESA 8 employee that never seems speaks other than to say "present" and the grocery store worker it might make sense?

The grocery store employee is in charge of the school board.  Isn't that scary enough alone?  Now there is nothing wrong with working in a grocery store as a first job, to make some extra money or while you are in school unless you are the owner or immediate family of the owners of course.  But if that is your career don't you wonder a little about what kind of person would do that?

I'm guessing that all the above school board members are in awe of the teachers and administration as these people have gone to school for four years or more. There are many folks in the area that have as much or more eduction than the teachers, administration and school board members.  How come we cannot get a doctor, lawyer, accountant, bank president, big manufacturing business management type on our school board?  I know it is a lot to expect or dream for maybe?   In most cases people are not on a school board for the money although given the jobs that several school board members have they may be doing it for the money and not the "children".

At least we need some people who are not trying to be best friends or suck up to the coaches, teachers, staff and administrators don't you think?

We also don't need long term contracts with the current principals and administrator as no one is going to steal them away.  Too many experienced unemployed teachers, principals and administrator in the country already!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

School Spirit?

Have you ever been to a Crivitz boys high school basketball game?  When the home team takes to the court there is no cheering or clapping, nothing!  Local funerals are louder until the opposition runs onto the court. 

Why is this?  Everybody to busy texting?

New people to the area won't be sending their kids to Crivitz after attending a home basketball game I'd guess.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Seems drugs are a problem in some school districts . . . . .

With the news on the internet, TV and radio of several staff members (5 so far) in the Antigo School District being suspended (with pay) as a result of a drug investigation it may make you wonder why our schools don't do random drug testing of the staff?  If you are a school bus driver you are subject to testing. So why not regular drug testing if you are an administrator, principal, teacher or support staff?  I wonder if they even do background or credit checks?  Most employers do background and credit checks even the small ones. Many do drug testing also.

It also mentioned in the online story that the school district has already found staff to replace the duties of the four employees. So there must be plenty of people looking for jobs with the school district even with Governor Walker's changes.

Makes you think and wonder doesn't it?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Governor Walkers Education Reforms

Part of an email from Governor Walker this week

Supporting Additional Education Reforms
 
This week I announced my support for a package of education reforms that will be based on the work of three separate bipartisan taskforces. Every child deserves access to a great education. This reform package will improve accountability in our school system, improve teacher training, and lay the foundation for our children to succeed. 
 
Read to Lead—The work done by this group will improve Wisconsin’s long-stagnant reading achievement scores. The taskforce was comprised of reading teachers, researchers, advocates, Legislators from both parties, and others. 
Educator Effectiveness—This taskforce is aimed at creating a fair and rigorous system for evaluating teachers and principals. It was comprised of representation from Superintendent Tony Evers, my office, teacher unions, school boards, school administrators, and others. 
School Accountability—This taskforce was convened last summer to design an alternative to No Child Left Behind that focuses on setting high standards, requiring transparency, and measuring what matters to ensure all students are ready for college or career. 
 
Improving our schools, measuring student achievement growth, and increasing accountability and transparency in education will help ensure Wisconsin students can succeed. While members of the working groups deserve credit for their recommendations, our work is not yet done. I encourage parents, teachers, school board members, and all community leaders to help implement reforms to give students access to an even better education. 
 
More information about the legislation can be found at:
 
 http://165.189.60.210/Images/News/Spring%20Education%20Bill%20Packet%20v2.pdf

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Just Ask the Governor: Part 1

This was contained in an email that Governor Walker sent out recently.

Just Ask the Governor: Part I
 
Each e-update I will answer a question submitted by a recipient of the previous e-update or from somebody who contacts my office directly. 
 
Question: You need to find a way to make sure that Wisconsin keeps its good teachers in the classroom. How do you plan on making sure that excellent teachers are paid well for their good work?
 
Answer: As a result of the reforms enacted earlier this year, school districts are now able to pay based on performance, give merit bonuses for teachers and have more overall control of their budgets. Some school districts across the state, such as the Baldwin-Woodville School District gave staff bonuses to retain them, while other districts such as Cedarburg and Hartland-Lakeside have instituted merit pay programs. 
 
In the past, school districts could not make decisions about the best way to retain the best and brightest teachers because of collective bargaining. Now that our reforms are enacted, districts have retained teachers and have the ability to give bonuses to excellent teachers.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Wisconsin Teachers Salaries?

Want to know what any Wisconsin Teacher is paid?

http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/99999999/APC0110/80221166

Now if we could get something similar to simplify the school budgets.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Governor Walkers Read for the Future

I got this email from Governor Walker.  Seems that even the Governor continues to be concerned about the reading skills of our kids along with 
State Representative Steve Kestell.

Read for the Future
 
Making sure Wisconsin students know how to read by the fourth grade is critical to their education and success in the future.  We need to make sure we are not failing them.
 
There is no skill more important than reading.  Yet, over the past two decades, students in other states have been improving their reading achievement on national measures faster than students in Wisconsin.  The results from the 2011 NAEP reading assessment for 4th grade students show that while Wisconsin once ranked among the very top states in the nation, we now rank somewhere in the middle of the pack.  The literacy skills a child acquires in the early years of life provide the foundation for all later learning, and research has demonstrated that a child who is reading on grade level by the end of third grade is far more likely to graduate from high school than a student who is not.
 
In an effort to dramatically improve reading outcomes in Wisconsin, I convened the Read to Lead Task Force in the Spring of 2011.  We reviewed the state of reading in Wisconsin and developed a plan for improvement.  The impressive team of teachers, legislators from both political parties, researchers, and advocates worked together to reach a consensus on ways to ensure all of Wisconsin’s children learn to read before they reach fourth grade.  Specifically I was happy to partner with State Superintendent Dr. Tony Evers, State Senator Luther Olsen, and Representative Steve Kestell.
 
The recommendations of the Read to Lead Task Force focus on improvements and changes in teacher preparation and professional development; screening, assessment and intervention; early childhood; accountability; and family involvement.  They include:
  • Implementing early literacy screening for all kindergarteners in Wisconsin to identify and intervene with struggling students as soon as they enter school;
  • Implementing improvements to teacher preparation programs around early reading, including a new, more rigorous exam for reading educators;
  • Requiring that the professional development plans for all new elementary educators explicitly focus on literacy, and require focused professional development educators whose students continually struggle to improve their performance;
  • Providing new, aggressive professional development opportunities to enhance the skills of current reading educators, including a new online professional development portal at http://www.readwisconsin.net and an annual reading conference for elementary principals and district reading specialists; and
  • Creating a new public/private partnership to engage Wisconsin philanthropic groups and businesses around the goal of ensuring every child can read by the end of third grade.  
 
The Task Force’s recommendations also focus on how the state will hold our institutions accountable for improving reading results.  Specifically:
  • Wisconsin’s new educator effectiveness system, released in November 2011, will require a portion of every educator’s evaluation to be based on growth in statewide reading scores;
  • Wisconsin’s new school and district accountability system, still under development, will place additional weight on third grade reading performance to underscore the importance of reading on grade level at that critical year; and
  • Schools and districts underperforming in reading will be required to implement targeted improvements, including a science-based reading program.
I am proud of the work of this non-partisan Task Force.  Working together I believe we have developed an important plan to improve reading in Wisconsin, laying the foundation for our students to excel.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reading Scores dropping?

State Representative Steve Kestell sent out the information below in his latest news letter.

The School Board and Administration like to compare themselves to other schools but they don't ever mention that the schools in the state of Wisconsin on a whole have slid compared to the rest of the country.  I wonder why?

It is interesting reading backed by facts and not some folks trying to convince us that they are doing a good job.

IMPLEMENTING WISCONSIN READ TO LEAD TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS

In Wisconsin we take pride in the education we provide for our children and historically we have been innovators in early-childhood education. Kindergarten started here and we were one of the first states to have 4 year old kindergarten. No skill is more important for young learners to achieve than the ability to read. It is essential to student learning and quality of life.

It was distressing to learn how our state’s reading scores, which were once amongst the highest in the nation, have stagnated over the past 15 years. The results from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 4th grade reading assessment show that while Wisconsin was once ranked among the very top states in the nation, we now rank somewhere in the middle of the pack. We are also dealing with a significant racial achievement gap. In 1992, our African-American 4th graders scored 26th in the nation on the NAEP and by 2009 they were 50th.

In response to these troubling trends, Governor Walker earlier this year convened a task force to investigate the reasons for our recent performance and make recommendations on how to improve it. This was a diverse, bipartisan group including reading teachers, policy-makers, researchers, and early literacy advocates. The task force has produced a full report of recommendations to improve early literacy in Wisconsin.

The recommendations of the task force include:

Strengthen the rigor and relevance of the entrance exam for new teachers. The current test assesses whether potential teachers can read, but does not assess whether they understand how to teach students how to read. The Department of Public Instruction has agreed to change this exam to the more rigorous exam used in Massachusetts (MTEL). This will ensure we get teachers well-versed in reading instruction out of college.

Require that literacy be one of the focus goals on the professional development plan of new elementary school teachers. We want all teachers to continue to develop into stronger reading teachers. Even with a new test to assess the reading instruction knowledge of potential teachers coming out of college, more skill must be acquired on the job.

Implement a universal statewide literacy screener in kindergarten. The screener should be given to all students to ensure struggling readers can be identified as soon as possible.

Work with the Department of Children & Families to strengthen YoungStar, the state’s child care provider rating system, to include more specific early literacy criteria.

Create a public-private partnership raise funds to help replicate best practices and develop new initiatives around reading.

I am committed to working to see these recommendations faithfully implemented in Wisconsin and urge the public to be involved in this conversation. I feel strongly that many teachers and schools in our state do a fantastic job teaching reading, but there is certainly room for improvement. This is too important for us to rest on our laurels and risk leaving even more kids behind.

A copy of the Read to Lead report can be found at http://walker.wi.gov/readtoleadtaskforcereport.pdf.
 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Holiday?

Kind of strange to see the Crivitz kids going to school when the banks, post office and many businesses nationwide are closed for the Legal Holiday.  I know that the kids and school workers had Friday the 23rd off requiring many parents to scramble for baby sitters and the like. Just reminds us again that the people in charge are in not in touch with the real world.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

DPI Praise for a local Middle School

According to an article in the Peshtigo Times December 21st edition Page A-13 Marinette Public Schools Middle School is open before and after school for students in grade 5 - 8. Computers are available and two teachers are on hand to help with homework for an hour after school Monday - Thursday evenings. There is open gym, UW-Marinette student mentors are on hand to help, and in addition to other activities, YMCA provides morning aerobics for about 30 kids four days a week. According to Stephanie Hines the program that she operates has about 40 kids participating and numerous working parents told her that they find the program extremely helpful.

Seems like yet another local school district doing more than many others including Crivitz.