Palamaruk assumes spot on Royall School Board

By SARAH PARKER | County Line Reporter

Filling a vacant slot on the Royall School Board, Sara Palamaruk of Kendall will replace board member Lacy Gashi, who resigned last month in anticipation of her relocation to Pennsylvania.

In response to interview questions posed by the board, Palamaruk, the only applicant for the position, said her “vested interest in the school” prompted her to seek a board seat.

Palamaruk has two children attend the Royall School District, whose greatest asset is the strength of its teachers, she said.

Virtual learning opportunities and a stronger technology education program could bolster the Royall School District, she said. Skills such as welding benefit high school students, because “a lot aren’t going to go to a four-year college,” she added.

Because she lives in Kendall, she hears about some village residents’ dissatisfaction with the school district, she said.

Alluding to last year’s closure of Kendall Elementary School, she said some in the village thought that “Kendall is kind of left out because there is nothing there.”

The closure “still brings a lot of hard feelings that need to be addressed. How we can make them feel more involved?” she said.

Palamaruk’s term will end in April 2013.

Other business

• The board approved a $30,961 contract with Reedsburg, Wis.-based Friede & Associates, the contractor that will convert the former art room to a fitness room. HSR Associates of La Crosse will serve as the architect.

A ribbon cutting for the new fitness room is tentatively slated for April 1.

• Superintendent Mark Gruen noted that Karinne Overton, the renter of the former Kendall Elementary School building, had not opened her new daycare center in the facility because she was awaiting her state license.

• Though enrollment had been up by 25 earlier this year, it was now down by 12, Gruen noted, attributing the fluctuation to a transient population.

• Cole Flynn, a recent University of Wisconsin-Stout graduate, was hired as a long-term substitute for the industrial-technology education program. The position will be reposted in May.

• The board discussed creating a new employee handbook, which would supplant the union contract that now governs staff management.

As part of his budget repair bill, Gov. Scott Walker essentially eliminated collective bargaining for all public workers last spring.

Gruen suggested purchasing a $1,000 handbook template from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, as it would simplify the process, plus WASB would continue to provide updates that reflect new rules and legislation.

“There’s more for us to do without a union,” Gruen said.

Board president Doug Waterman, however, thought the price was steep and advocating sharing the cost with another school district.

Other board members were concerned that such a move would rankle the WASB (the template likely would be considered intellectual property).

In the end, Gruen said he and board member Ryan McKittrick at another time would review a different, free template and make a decision on the matter.

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