May 20, 2002

School Board honors Sheriff’s Department, retiree, student representatives

The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department was recognized as the district’s Community Service Award recipient. Superintendent Kathleen Cooke thanked officer Mark Nihoris, Captain Terry Martorano and Deputy Inspector Dan Trawicki for the support the department has provided the district and its communities. Crisis management planning, prompt response, mock demonstrations and drills along with the school police liaison program help maintain a safe and secure environment for all students.

Woodside Elementary School kindergarten teacher Alice Fulop was honored for her 23 years in the district with a standing ovation. The School Board presented her with a clock, state proclamation and certificate from the Department of Public Instruction in honor of her retirement in June. Another veteran of the district, Hamilton High School social studies teacher Ken Newman, also will retire this spring. Newman, who taught in the district since 1969, was not able to attend the meeting.

Hamilton students Alison Furrer and Meredith Cochran were given an inscribed pen set for their service as 2001-02 representatives to the School Board. Members thanked them for their attendance and reports at each meeting throughout the school year.

Referendum decision put on hold

An expected decision on whether the district will hold a referendum next fall was put on hold until June. The community Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) recommended at the May 7 meeting that the Hamilton School Board consider a November referendum for a Marcy Elementary School addition and renovation project, Hamilton High School fine arts performance and classroom addition, and associated operational costs.

Providing options for the scope of the work to be done and detailed cost analysis is underway as administrators work with architects. School Board members are expected to act on the committee’s recommendation next month after they recieve more detailed information on options.

Staffing plan looked at

The recommendations in the 2002-03 staffing plan that has drawn the attention of many Maple Avenue and Marcy elementary school parents remains consistent with those given previously although principals are keeping an eye on five “hot spots” at three elementary schools. Parents have lobbied the School Board for more staff at particular grades because they are concerned about class sizes that exceed 25 students.

The budget has serious limitations of the district’s ability to fund new positions, according to Educational Services and Human Resources Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz. Full-time equivalency positions are expected to drop by one at the high school and by one-half at the middle school. Elementary staffing will be the same as in 2001-02, and two contigency positions have been put into the budget for unexpected enrollment increases districtwide. Because enrollments fluctuate, Schultz reported that principals will monitor enrollments and finetune staffing assignments later in the summer.

Employment Endorsement to continue — with changes

The Employment Endorsement Program should continue, but changes should be implemented starting in 2003. Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator Catherine Tillman presented an update on the program’s evaluation that included those findings. Two of the changes are adding new critieria and requiring participation from all work-based learning students — including academic and teacher assistants, and those in co-op, Youth Apprenticeships, work experience, Learning in Action and marketing programs. The program no longer will be used for students to earn a commons pass. Tillman said that while that change many bring the number of students participating down, those who get the endorsement will place a higher value on the program. She also said efforts will be made to communicate and market the program next year.

CESA contract approved

A $198,000 contract for 2002-03 with the Cooperative Educational Services Agency was approved. The contract is similar to the current one except that nursing services are no longer provided because the district is using another option to obtain those. The cooperative provides services such as occupational and physical therapy, alternative and charter at-risk schools and ombudsperson at lower costs than if the district purchased them independently.

Agreement reached with food service employees

A two-year agreement with food service employees was approved that gives assistant cooks and associate kitchen employees a 40-cent hourly raise and a $5 increase in uniform allowance in each of the next two school years. Those with certification will increase their premium pay from 30 cents per hour to 35 cents and then 40 cents per hour in 2002-03 and 2003-04, respectively.

Personnel matters approved

In personnel matters, the School Board appointed Robert Blessington as Woodside fifth grade teacher, and Jennifer Butscher as a Woodside first grade teacher, effective at the start of the 2002-03 school year.

May 7, 2002

Community Facilities Advisory Committee recommends referendum

The community Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) recommended that the Hamilton School Board consider a November referendum for a Marcy Elementary School addition and renovation project, Hamilton High School fine arts performance and classroom addition, and associated operational costs. The committee, represented by parent Bob Fourness, gave its final report to the School Board after presenting an interim report in January that asked the district to gather data about community support for specific projects.

The committee’s recommendations corresponded with results from a community survey in which residents expressed support for the Marcy project, high school auditorium and operational costs.

The committee recommended that two other projects that did not enjoy community support — construction of a new middle school and the addition of a high school field house — be studied in the future. It suggested reconvening FAC in the fall of 2003 to review the need for both projects.

“There were a number of issues that needed to be addressed and they were all good (projects),” Fourness said. “It was just a matter of deciding which were the priorities and which ones would the community support.”

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke said the matter of a new school to address increasing enrollments and a field house addition will be revisited.

Beginning in November, FAC members studied community growth data, analyzed school funding issues and toured each school before reaching its recommendations.

The School Board directed administrators to develop the scope of the work to be done and provide detailed cost analysis for the Marcy and high school projects by the May 20 meeting. A final decision on the fate of a referendum likely will be decided at the May 20 or June 4 School Board meeting.

Federal changes affect local testing

Changes at the federal level will mean that Wisconsin students will take a new test and results from previous years can not be compared with the new one. Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., reported that the the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) signed into law in January will have an impact on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations (WKCE) in grade 4, 8 and 10.

The law will bring changes regarding assessment and accountability throughout the nation. To comply with the new federal law, Wisconsin is making the following changes in its student assessment system.

  • The WKCE test will be moved from spring to fall. It is anticipated the test will be administered between November 4 and 22, 2002.
  • Test questions will be added to assess areas not previously tested, and the tests will be longer and take more time.
  • Assessing students four months earlier will require a different test to be administered.
  • School districts will not be able to compare results from previous years because the tests are different. The November, 2002 data will become new baseline data against which districts measure progress into the future.

School Board member Deborah Briggs, expressed frustration with the system that does not allow the district to keep data on student performance over time. “The public needs to know that (the tests) are going to be brand new again,” she said.

Templeton students recognized

A Templeton Middle School team that placed first March 12 at the Junior College Bowl at Carroll College was recognized. The team included Alison Crane, Elizabeth Doucette, Stephanie Lundquist and Astrid Stuth. Each was presented with a framed certificate for outstanding perforrmance.

Personnel matters approved

In personnel matters, the School Board

  • approved the resignations of Hamilton communication arts teacher William Serb and Willow Spring kindergarten teacher Aimee Lange;
  • appointed Kathryn Parkhurst-Schulz as a Willow Spring kindergarten teacher, Jodi Engstrom as a Woodside first grade teacher and Ann Gavigan as a Woodside emotional disabilities teacher effective at the start of the 2002-03 school year; and
  • increased Special Services Department administrative assistant Kaye Yahn from a 75 to 100 percent contract effective May 21.