Superintendent Nick Ouellette clarified the enrollment information, as he has noticed some misinformation and misunderstanding. The data suggests that enrollment has been down about 2.2% since 2014. The private schools in the community also are experiencing lower enrollments. The home school numbers have only grown by 39 students. He doesn't believe that it has anything to do with the atmosphere of the district.
Ouellette addressed some comments he has heard about the facilities committee. All homes in the district were alerted to the open call for committee members. There were four calls made. Additionally two teachers from each building, a parent representative and a PTO representative were asked to join the committee. Anyone who asked to be on the committee was added to the committee, he said.
There were four COVID-19 cases across the district last week. That’s down from 250 cases the second week in January. There will not be any more COVID-19 operation updates from the superintendent, unless circumstances call for one.
The Hudson School Board hosted a public hearing at its March 7 meeting on the federal relief dollars equaling $4.4 million. The funds are intended to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools, addressing the impact of the pandemic on the nation’s students.
The third set of funds, part of the “Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund grant program, authorized under American Rescue Plan Act, provides additional money for local educational agencies to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19,” the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction states.
Funds may be used to support response to the pandemic and costs that may be incurred between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2024.
A required 20% of the funding must go towards evidence-based improvement or intervention strategies, but in Hudson, a majority of the funding will go towards this theme.
Attention to underrepresented groups will be a priority.
“We are focusing on student need, not supplies and that type of thing,”
Hudson needs were outlined as follows with an estimated dollar amount:
Summer school, professional development and additional school days: $1.1 million.
Technology to meet learning needs: $1.1 million
High quality assessment tools: $328,000.
Curricular materials to meet student needs in literacy, science, social studies, language, music, art and math: $1.8 million.
A Plan for Safe Return is a requirement for the funding, as well, which must be posted on the district website by March 11. The plan must come back every six months for review.
No public comments were made and the board approved moving forward with the plan.
Board President Jamie Johnson made a point to clarify the purpose and role of public comment during board meetings, outlined in policy 187.
“It’s multifaceted, it’s not just the public comment part,” Johnson said about the policy.
He made clear that board meetings are required to be held in the public. They are not a meeting of the public.
A script was developed by district staff to be read prior to public comment, addressing that it is not a time for questions, conversations and discussion. Board members will not respond to comments, but rather listen and note them.
“We are barred by law from having a dialogue with speakers,” Johnson said. “We want to hear from the public.”
If folks would like to have conversation with the board, that is an accessible option outside of board meetings. Emails and phone calls are welcomed.
Additionally, no action will be taken on items brought up in the public hearing. The board is required to alert the public of items that will be voted on a week prior to the meeting.