Schrader updates BOE on building project

By: 
JENNA GILBERT
Staff Writer

By JENNA GILBERT
Staff Writer
NEW BREMEN — On Wednesday evening, the New Bremen Board of Education held a special meeting to go over a few last minute items, including an update on where the school is at with the construction of the new K-8 attachment to the current high school.
Superintendent Jason Schrader walked the board members through several slides of a presentation talking about what will be funded locally for the project, some design considerations, areas where they have made some cuts for savings, challenges they have run into as well as a generous donation that was made specifically for the new building project.
Dianne Komminsk made a $1 million donation to the school to be used to create the Komminsk Center for Innovative Thinking. The money will be kept in a separate fund to be used only for the creation of the center.
“She’s really excited about the opportunity to provide our future to us,” he said. “This is kind of a preparation to that.”
Schrader then went over the areas where they made some cuts and reductions to save money. He did note that cuts were made to fit the changes that have happened in the schools.
“It’s not that were cutting programs it’s that we’re trying to get back into line with our student population because at one time we had nearly 1,000 students and now we’re back down to about 750,” he said. “So we have to make some reductions to get in line with our teacher pupil ratios and also are there things that we can do more efficiently.”
Some of the changes he listed were realigning the principals — have one for K-6 and another for 7-12 — some staff reductions after some teachers retired, made reductions in custodians among a few others.
The reductions made for fiscal years 2017 to 2019 (current) has led to $320,952.43 in savings per year. Starting with fiscal year 2019 going to 2021, the cuts and reductions will lead to $452,849.11 in savings per year. In total, that is $773,849.54 in savings per year, and that will continue every year going past fiscal year 2021.
According to Treasurer Jill Ahlers, most of these cuts were included in the current five-year forecast — she estimates about two items from the entire list presented were not included in the forecast.
With looking at the construction of the new building, the school has looked at other schools facilities to see if there is anything other schools are doing that would also work for New Bremen. One thing they were looking into was whether or not to build a second kitchen to serve the incoming grades, but after further analysis they realized the current kitchen in the high school is more than capable of serving the influx of students, as they only serve 25 percent of the high school population.
They decided on having two serving lines, one for the main meal and one for a la carte options which would include a salad bar.
“The one thing when you go and talk to other cafeterias is they say, ‘if you want to increase participation, increase your choices,’” Schrader explained. “And if you look at the products on a salad bar, they are fresh cut products. That means they buy it whole, they cut it up, they put it in [the salad bar] and they let kids choose. So we are looking right now at how we can do that.”
He added that the school has a salad bar on order that should be arriving in January. They are hoping to implement that as soon as it arrives.
Schrader also addressed some challenges they have run into as they plan for the construction of the new building. One of those challenges is creating a safe campus for students on different aspects.

Pick up Thursday's paper to read the rest of the story!

Category: