The summer days keep rolling along as the Chequamegon School Board held its regular meeting July 23 to discuss ramping up for the new 2019-20 school year.

There was good news for the board which had been very concerned over finances, including an anticipated deficit. However with some of the finance director’s finesse and shrewd decisions, the news was that the deficit had been cut to a far more reasonable amount.

In May, the first introduction to the budget deficit was feared to run as high as $738,500 and the estimate is now much lower.

The budget update as presented by Lexi Witt at the July meeting was briefly reviewed and will not be final until October.

Highlighted as a part of the difference were budgets that included revenue from local sources up to $17,000 higher than anticipated; consortium grants were $9,000 higher than expected, state revenues are expected to be nearly $70,000 and there will be $107,000 additional revenues coming in from Federal Forest monies.

District Administrator Mark Weddig said that he has come to truly appreciate the work of Witt that he described as outstanding.

Weddig said that the district is extremely appreciative of the check for $60,000 received from the Forward Bank which will complete the fundraising efforts for bleachers at John McDonald Football Field and track.

“That is just amazing community and district effort,” he said. “Led by Mike Mader and supported by [football] coach Pearsall and 10 football players, the concrete slab necessary to allow the bleachers to be assembled was poured.” It is anticipated that stands will be ready in the first half of August.

Weddig said with the addition of some signage to the front of the bleachers promoting Chequamegon and Forward brands there will be a celebration at the Aug. 23 football game.

He reported to the board that there were 23 different summer school classes which totaled 34 million student minutes.

“That all goes to increase our revenue for state aid, he added. “We also are proud to say we had 100 music students.”

Tim Kief, high school principal and administrator for Class ACT Charter School said that the class of 2020 did very well on the ACT tests they'd taken. The class had a predicted score of between 18-20 and they achieved the state average of 19.6.

“The five-year trend across the state is in a significant decline of 0.3 while CSD is beating that trend with a significant 1.4 point increase.” Kief said.

Weddig said that he is optimistic that more community members will begin using the Chequamegon Fitness Centers.

“We have the facilities and we’d like to see them used more,” he said.

The fitness center in Glidden holds hours from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and also on the Park Falls campus with hours from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Both are open Monday through Thursday.

He emphasized that the first two visits are free. Six visits would only be $20 with a monthly pass costing $30. Chequamegon District students who are over 13-years old are free.

Weddig has been promoting a program to business leaders to encourage them to consider half-price corporate rates. Darren Patterson is the Fitness Center coordinator.

There will be pool hours offered November through May from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesday, and from 5:30 a.m to 7:30 am. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The centers offer a variety of equipment including treadmills, ellipticals, weights, fitness balls, and exercise bands.

The district will be postponing the replacement of the district’s boiler.

“There has been a great deal of uncertainty with our boilers and HVAC systems and we don’t want to find ourselves in the middle of that project and scrambling to provide heat for the children,” Weddig said.

So as in the past the schools will be using wood for one more year.

“We are taking steps to make that process much safer for the custodians who must go into those silos,” he said. “We will be requiring the use of harnesses inside the silos and no one should ever work alone. We are getting a safety plan in place.”

Weddig said when there is a better plan for replacing the systems they will move forward. The district has been using wood for supplemental heat for the past 45 years.

(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)

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