Student numbers are holding steady in the Iola-Scandinavia School District.
The third Friday of September count was 711, District Administrator David Dyb reported at the Oct. 13 school board meeting.
The third Friday count was 713 for the 2013-14 school year and 738 for 2012-13.
“We actually are holding pretty good,” Dyb said. “We are seeing growth in grades 1-12.”
Although the 5-year-old kindergarten numbers were down, the 4-year-old kindergarten enrollment was up from last year. Dyb said the district will see a drop in numbers next year because a large senior class will graduate in May 2015.
He noted the budget will be finalized after the state numbers are set in mid-October.
The I-S School Board scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, to finalize the budget and set 2014-15 tax levies.
In other business, the board agreed to host a luncheon for the staff to celebrate the district’s high rating on the School Report Card.
The board approved the purchase of a double hydrovection oven for $19,355.
The plan is to immediately install the double oven in the high school kitchen. Half of the oven will be moved to the elementary when there is more time to re-work and install it.
The board approved the installation of additional air handler controls in the I-S Community Fitness & Aquatic Center (ISCFAC) at a cost of about $9,300.
The new controls will save money when the FAC is not in use. Currently the system runs steady 24-hours per day.
The board also approved purchasing $1,000 in materials for construction of a bus shelter near Thunderbird Field in Scandinavia. The movable shelter will be built by the Iola Lions Club on an upcoming work night.
Dyb reported that the flashing beacon for a school zone will be removed on State Highway 49 near the I-S Elementary School.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, beacons can only be located by an official school crossing.
To compensate, the 35 mph speed zone will begin at the cemetery before traffic approaches the village of Iola.
Dyb said there could be a school crossing in the future, but it would require curb, gutter and sidewalks.
For now, he said the school district will save about $25 per month in energy costs by not having the blinking light.
Buildings and Grounds Committee Chair Jeff Oppor reported that work is set to begin for the new access road to the high school parking lot.
“We will get the road in first,” he said, “then we will meet to talk about further plans.”
Oppor said the contractor planned to begin the construction in October. It should be a 10-day job.
Some board members questioned if any of the future plans would be affected by the road construction.
Board President Charlie Wasrud said it would work best to get the road set before making other decisions. He said the road route may change depending on soil, trees, stumps and rocks.
“We want the road as far south as possible to have as much of the remaining property available for future consideration,” Wasrud said.
“Would there be any wisdom in waiting until spring to build (the road) just in case we run into any unforeseen financial problems?” board member Mike Koles asked.
The purpose is to have an emergency access road, Wasrud explained. He also noted the gravel road needs to settle before being paved, after which it will be open to the general public.
High School Principal Sara Anderson said a traffic control plan needs to be developed before the access road is opened to the public.
Receiving STAR Awards for their work with the Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) were Jessica Rogalla, Connie Isermann, Sharon Rustad and Hollee Netys.
“They have done a tremendous job of reinvigorating our PTO,” said District Administrator David Dyb.
“They are wonderful,” said Elementary Principal Tess Lecy-Wojcik. “I am so happy to have them.”
“They are working with the booster club and the fitness center and looking for ways to strengthen all three by working together,” Dyb said.
One of these initiatives is to hold a taste testing of healthy alternatives, which will be held at the ISCFAC.
As a reward for trying healthy foods, children will be allowed to swim, according to ISCFAC Director Tim Welch.
“This event combines nutrition and wellness,” Welch said. “It is an excellent idea.”
Other developments at the ISCFAC include working with local businesses to promote wellness.
Welch said the facility is also reaching out to neighboring communities, including having the Manawa Rural Fire Department hand out free passes during trick-or-treating hours in Manawa.