It is not often that a school will hear praise for students who are riding on a bus but that is what the Hancock School District heard from a driver of a Rustad charter bus. The bus was chartered to transport a group of Hancock students to Minneapolis for a basketball game. The driver was so impressed by the students, coaches and staff that he sent an email to Principal Tim Pahl who shared it with school board members at their December meeting.
“It was a pleasure to watch them interact with each other,” stated Perry Wieland, “also to enjoy the events that they shared with each other and to watch their practice and experience victory as they won on the basketball court. They treated each other with respect, their coaches with respect, the coaches treated the players with respect, and they even showed respect to me, their bus driver. It was one of those experiences that as a bus driver, I don’t get all the time. They made me a fan and I wish them the best and look forward to transporting them again.
Pahl was very proud of the team as he shared this in his report but had many others to thank and congratulate in his report. One other highlight was that the Senior High Knowledge Bowl team took first place out of 16 teams at a meet that week. They beat the second place team by 32 points.
Pahl also told the board members that the school brought back a competition from the past allowing classes to decorate their lockers for the holidays. Judges were brought in and the winning class received a pizza party and second place ice cream from Community Development Bank. The winning class was the sophomores with a Charlie Brown theme. Second place was tied with the juniors with a Polar Express theme and eighth grade with the 12 Days of Christmas. Third place went to the seniors with an ice fishing theme. The freshmen theme was Home Alone and seventh grade was Whoville.
Pahl noted that Community Development Bank also donated winter stocking caps for all of the elementary students.
In staffing, two new paraprofessionals have been hired. They are Jamie Dodds and Samantha Johnson. Corey Ascheman was hired as a custodian and Mike Kratz will become the lead custodian. Supt. Paul Carlson stated that Kratz will be working on some of the licenses he will be needing to operate the boilers. However, in the meantime ClimateMakers will be able to monitor the equipment. Carlson said that they will be trying this restructuring for the custodial positions and see how it works.
The Hancock Education Association Master Contract was presented for board approval and passed. Carlson thanked the board members and teachers union reps who worked together to get this accomplished. He stated that there are many districts in the state that are entering into mediation.
The annual Truth in Taxation hearing was held as part of the regular board meeting. The levy amount in the Hancock School District will decrease for taxes paid in 2024 mainly due to two factors – an increase in state aid and Ag2School credits. These factors are both dictated by the state. The tax levy presented for approval by the board members represented a 5% decrease from the pay 2023 levy.
The final levy was certified at $1,339,604.95. Carlson also reviewed the budget for the 2023 school year and stated that there could be some adjustments made during the year.
Carlson gave the school board members a report on the benefit of College in the Schools courses that students are able to take while in high school. Findings state that this helps students both financially and educationally.
The January board meeting was changed to be held on January 22 due to the Martin Luther King Holiday on the third Monday.