Washausen named new Gardner pricipal

Jessica Washausen

The Waterloo School Board approved Jessica Washausen as the new principal for Gardner Elementary School during its April 15 meeting.

Washausen is the current assistant principal at Waterloo Junior High School. 

She is taking over for Dawn Ivers, who is resigning as Gardner principal at the end of the school year to open a new child care center in Waterloo called The Backyard Learning Center. 

“I am incredibly honored to have been chosen as Gardner Elementary’s principal and cannot wait to continue Gardner’s legacy of excellence,” Washausen said. “I greatly appreciate the opportunity and look forward to working with elementary families and staff.” 

Superintendent Brian Charron said Washausen will do a good job filling Ivers’ shoes. 

“The (search) committee feels like Jess was the best fit for this building at this time,” he said. “I’m excited to recommend her to you.” 

School board member Valerie Baxmeyer expressed her confidence in Washausen. 

“I think you’ll be perfect,” she told her. 

The board then unanimously approved Washausen’s contract, which runs July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2022. 

Shortly after, the board said goodbye to Baxmeyer. 

She is leaving the board after serving for the past eight years. While on the board, she served one term as president and two terms as secretary. 

She stepped down this year. Kim Ahne ran unopposed to replace her. 

Charron thanked Baxmeyer for her service.

“You appreciate someone who’s willing to speak up when things aren’t going right and to challenge things,” he said. “I’ll never be able to say how much I appreciate that and what you did that was right for the school district and the times you put your neck on the line in controversial situations many years ago. You always felt like you were representing what was best for everybody here and what was best for kids, and I’m extremely appreciative.”

Baxmeyer praised the board in her farewell statement. 

“You have the most awesome people to work with here,” she said. “This is a great board. I’ve enjoyed working with you guys.” 

Also at the meeting, the board approved an amended budget for the current school year. 

This is something the district does every year, as it provides a more up-to-date guess of how the district’s fiances are faring. 

It also allows the district to be more transparent and take one more look at its revenues and expenditures. 

“Compared to the original budget the board adopted in September, this budget is better by $187,000 in all,” Charron explained. “In the (education) fund alone, it is $43,000 worse than the original. And that represents just shy of two-tenths of 1 percent of what our expenditures are in the ed fund.”

Charron said things have changed both for the good and the bad in this year’s budget. 

“In the end, we’re roughly, when you consider the size of our budget, right on track,” he noted. 

Looking ahead to the 2019-20 school year budget, Charron said the district has healthy fund balances. 

He said that is an important consideration. 

“We still are not comfortable that we’re overspending, but we feel that due to the health of our fund balances we should continue the current commitment to the programs that we’re offering and our class sizes, which we always felt have been important,” Charron said. 

The district’s original budget for this school year called for it to overspend in the educational, operations and maintenance and debt service funds. It planned to overspend in those funds by $467,231, $633,563 and $112,700, respectively. 

At the start of the year, it had balances in those funds of $3,060,487, $2,669,744 and $137,428, respectively. 

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