Large group will work on facilities

Columbus School District continues to take steps to examine facilities, introducing its Community Facilities Advisory Committee at the March 11 school board meeting.

The committee, part of the district’s Facilities Forward initiative, includes a lengthy list of community members, student parents, city officials and district staff. It also includes members of other committees involved in the Launching a Legacy program. Many of the facility committee members were present for Monday’s meeting at city hall.

Board President Cindy Damm said the committee will begin meetings April 1. In the next few months, the committee will work with Bray Architects to formalize a study on the district’s facility needs. The committee will present its findings in July and Damm said the board will consider their proposals.

Superintendent Annette Deuman said the district received many applications for a spot on its 23-member committee. Deuman said those who didn’t make the cut will still be involved in focus groups and additional meetings.

“There will be opportunity to be involved in the process,” Deuman said.

Damm said committee work will not be steered by the board; it’s owned by the community. Matt Wolfert, a representative from Bray, said it’s important for members to attend meetings consistently because work will flow into future meetings.

“We’ll come up with facility needs and solutions,” Wolfert said. “The community will lead this effort.”

Wolfert said MSA has worked with more than 50 Wisconsin school districts on similar projects in recent years. Deuman intends to keep the board updated on committee meetings and its progress.

Board vacancy

Damm reminded residents the board is looking to fill the seat vacated by Barb Hesselberg. The appointment would run through April 2021. Any eligible elector living in Columbus School District can apply. Those interested in the board seat can send email to Damm at cdamm@columbus.k12.wi.us.

Citing differences with board policy, Hesselberg resigned in February. She served for less than a year.

Change in food vendor

The district has agreed to a one-year, $250,000 contract with Reinhart for its prime food service vendor.

Director of Business Services Janel DeZarn-Vertz said the district received bids from Sysco and Reinhart and chose the latter. DeZarn-Vertz said Reinhart appeared to be the most accessible in listing child nutrition labels. Reinhart’s contract begins July 1.

DeZarn-Vertz said the bidding process featured several guidelines. She said Food Services Director Laura Austin is working on a bid for new milk and bread vendors for the 2019-20 school year. Food service, which tends to be expensive for districts, is still running a negative balance to Columbus’ budget but DeZarn-Vertz said the district is “working to get it into the black.”

Board Member Mary Arnold asked how the food will taste. DeZarn-Vertz said the district tried to look for a vendor that supplies nutritious food, but also options students will enjoy.

New employees

Also on Monday, the board approved employment of Katie Kahl, high school track assistant coach, Aileen Heller, CHS head varsity volleyball coach, Courtney Johnson, CHS building administrative assistant, and Mike Ziegler, CHS track coach.

Follow Kevin Damask on Twitter @kdamask or contact him at 608-963-7323.

Follow Kevin Damask on Twitter @kdamask or contact him at 608-963-7323.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

We welcome reader interaction. What are your questions about this article? Do you have an idea to share? Please stick to the topic and maintain a respectful attitude toward other participants. (You can help: Use the 'Report' link to let us know of off-topic or offensive posts.)