November 20, 2000

The School Board approved $32,500 in staffing allocations for music and gifted & talented programming and clerical support. The allocations, which are effective in the second semester, will provide an additional high school band instructor for one block, one-quarter of a teaching position to begin providing an elementary ensemble, coordination of parent-paid lessons through a private company, extracurricular pay for a high school Academic Decathlon coach and gifted and talented clerical support and clerical support at Marcy.

The funds were available based on the district’s increased enrollment.

Board member Dawn Van Aacken said the approved positions were a long time in coming.

“This came to us three years ago as a recommendation,” Van Aacken said, referring to a district committee that studied and recommended offering an elementary music program. “The full board supported it and wanted to offer it when we could fit it in the budget.”

“I am glad we were able to do it,” she said.

In a report that showed enrollment projections for next year, Supt. Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., credited the district’s increased enrollment for allowing the district to fund the Academic Decathlon and additional band opportunities.

District enrollment was up in the past two years, thanks to the implementation of the optional half-day kindergarten program for 4-year-olds and optional full-day kindergarten for 5-year-olds. State revenue caps and state aid are based on district enrollment.

While enrollment increased more than six percent in 1999-2000 and four percent in 2000-2001, enrollment projections for next year are expected to be only .3 percent. Neighboring school districts with flat or declining enrollments have had to cut programs and services because the state revenue cap does not meet cost-of-living increases, according to Cooke.

In other financial business, the School Board approved a charge for the Community Budget Advisory Committee. In addition to reviewing and providing input into development of the upcoming budget, the committee will be asked to look at “walk vs. ride,” a school bus policy issue. Last year’s Community Budget Advisory Committee asked that the issue be studied by a future committee.

Templeton Middle School Principal Patricia Polczynski and Associate Principal Dale Kuntz provided an update on a committee’s analysis of the school’s time-structure. The School Board is expected to receive a recommendation from the committee in January.

Hamilton Education Foundation Chairman Mike Ziegler reported that the foundation would use proceeds to buy seven additional automatic external defibrillators for the schools. Two already exist in the high and middle schools. He said Hamilton would be the first district in the state to equip all of its schools with the lifesaving devices.

School Board President Gerald Schmitz listed dates from the 2000-2001 election schedule. Among them were the Dec. 22 deadline for incumbents to announce their non-candidacy, Jan. 2 deadline for candidacy declaration and nominations papers, April 3 spring election and April 23 School Board members take office. The positions of Gabe Kolesari, who represents the Village of Sussex, and Schmitz, who is an at-large representative, are up for election.

Hamilton Principal David Furrer and Track Coach and teacher Jerry Wetherall recognized Hamilton senior Jennifer Prochazka for winning the state title in the shotput and for her academic success.

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • approved the resignation of Templeton secretary Lynn Nielsen;
  • tabled action on Hamilton social studies teacher Kathy Lynch’s leave of absence; and
  • appointed Elaine Schimmel as a Marcy associate kitchen employee.

November 7, 2000

Recognizing the potential value of a community center for residents and students, Hamilton School Board members clarified the role the school district could legally take if asked to participate in the Village of Sussex’s plan to create a community center.

The Village of Sussex convened a task force to study building a community center. School Board Member Jennifer Klett, Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D. and Hamilton High School Principal David Furrer have participated in the task force’s initial discussions. The task force is looking for official partners to share in the development and operations of the center.

The board approved a resolution that stipulated the following:

  • The community center would be located on Hamilton School District property.
  • All residents from communities that comprise the district would need to have equal access and an equal fee structure for community center activities and participation.
  • The budget that supports district programs and services for students would not be reduced to take on new expenses to operate a community center.
  • Specific parameters of any legal community center partnership must be agreed upon by the parties involved.
  • The resolution does not address all possible issues and the board reserves the right to modify or address parameters as necessary.

Board members amended the first stipulation that originally identified the center should be located within the school district, but not specifically on school district property. Several School Board members initially opposed the amendment for fear that it would take the district out of consideration as a partner.

School Board Member Gabe Kolesari, who proposed the amendment, asked if the district could legally enter into a partnership to create a community center if it were not built on school district property.

Cooke said unless the space were rented, the answer is probably not.

“So if the center is not built on school property what kind of a partner can we be?” Kolesari asked. “I don’t want to put out any false pretenses about how we can be involved. It is better to state it up front.”

Kolesari’s amendment passed with Klett and Mike Hyland voting against it. The resolution with the amendment passed unanimously.

Teachers describe how GT needs are met

Resource teachers from Spectrum, the district’s gifted and talented program, provided an annual report about how the needs of high achieving, talented and gifted students were met. Deb Zaeske, who works with elementary students, Sherry Malmon, who is at the middle school, and Jill Matarrese, who coordinates high school services, described the program.

Most identified students are considered high achievers and about 40 percent are considered talented and intellectually gifted students. Programming ranges from extension and enrichment in the classroom to pull-togethers, curriculum compacting and cluster grouping.

When asked by School Board members what they could do to support the Spectrum Program, the teachers identified training of staff to teach Advanced Placement courses, clerical support for the paperwork, approval of a proposal to offer a high school honors program and additional Spectrum staff for the elementary level.

Board designates open seats for Chapter 220, Open Enrollment

The board approved maintaining 95 district slots for Chapter 220 requests and 20 Open Enrollment slots. The Open Enrollment slots break down to: Maple Avenue, one each in grades 1-5; Lannon, two each in grades 3-5; Marcy, two at grade 3; Woodside, two at grade 4; and Hamilton, five in grades undefined. No openings are available at Templeton Middle School or Willow Springs Learning Center.

Parents request additional band staffing

During the citizen comment portion of the meeting, parents Joseph Jones and Janet Paterson asked the board to consider additional funding for the high school band program. School Board members asked administrators to report on possible options for increased music staffing at a future meeting.

In personnel business, the board approved the appointment of Maple Avenue Elementary School teacher aide Pamela Jajtner for two hours per day.