Try 3 months for $3

Two sets of two decade old bleachers at Reedsburg Area High School may receive an upgrade.

The school board unanimously approved to choose a low bid of $177,289 from Goodson Furniture and Equipment to remove and replace both sets of bleachers in the large and small gyms at the Jan. 21 board meeting. Carrol Seating was the other considered bid at $229,766.91.

Goodson Furniture and Equipment will provide bleachers to the new Prairie Ridge Intermediate School and also provided bleachers at Webb Middle School.

Both current sets of bleachers were constructed in 1998, when the high school was first built. Business Manager Pat Ruddy said the new bleachers will come equipped with railings and walkways. The number of seats would be smaller to provide an atmosphere that is “much safer and much more accessible,” he said.

The district is hoping to complete the project sometime this summer or fall depending on the gym’s and company schedule.

Special education open enrollment

With two special education programs projected to fill to capacity, the district is setting open enrollment limits for those programs for the 2019-20 school year.

Director of Special Education and Pupil Services Jeff Bindl recommended to the board to add no additional open enrollment spots for the districts early childhood and cross categorical special education programs for the 2019-20 school year. The board later approved it as a part of its consent agenda.

The numbers were set based on the Department of Public Instruction’s recommended caseload formula that determines if districts would have the space for additional students through open enrollment. The early childhood special education program serves ages 3-5 and does not include those receiving speech or language therapy services or 4K students. Cross-categorical special education serves grades 1-2 at Westside and Pineview Elementary Schools. Bindl said the district is still projecting to accept open enrollment positions for kindergarten students.

The final student count for the School District of Reedsburg in 2018 was recorded at 2,757 students, an increase of 33 students from the previous year. Bindle said there are 528 special education students in the district, 100 more than three years ago. Special education students make up 16 to 18 percent of students at the district, higher than the state average, he said.

“Our numbers are climbing very rapidly,” Bindl said. “So we are reaching a point now in certain grade levels and certain programs where we need to set some limits for open enrollment.”

Also in his reports, Bindl said the district completed its assessments from the Department of Public Instruction’s Performance Plan regarding special education. All 131 initial evaluations within the 60 day timeframe were completed for under the requirements of Indicator 11 Eligibility Determined in a Timely Manner that evaluates if a child has a learning disability.

Assessments were also conducted under Indicator 14 that evaluates further education and employment transition one year after those with disabilities graduate from high school. Bindl said 14 of the 22 students completed the survey with two reporting moving on to higher education and 10 in competitive employment. Bindl said $1,000 transition incentive grant is awarded for each student with a disability that moves on to post secondary education or employment.

ESL teacher

Also in the consent agenda, the board approved to hire Brian Domenget as an English as a Second Language Teacher at the high school. Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Linda Bruun said 140 English as Second Language students are enrolled in the district this year that represent 10 different languages with majority Spanish/English speakers. Last year, there were 83 students.

Other business

The board approved to grant a request from Special Education Teacher and Agency Manager of Reedsburg Special Olympics Dan Gasser and Reedsburg Area High School senior Travis Daniels to send them to Washington D.C. as a part of the Wisconsin delegation for the Special Olympics/Project UNIFY Day on the Hill February 11 and 12.

Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter @EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.