April 15, 2002

Residents approve land purchase at Special Annual Meeting

Hamilton residents voted 34-10 to allow the School Board to purchase land known as the Weinhandl farm. Voters at a Special Annual Meeting passed a resolution authorizing the district to purchase the land in the northwestern portion of the district on Plainview Road between Hillside Road and Highway 164.

Voters gave district officials the OK to purchase up to 40 acres at a cost of $19,800 per acre, not to exceed $792,000. The land will be used for future school needs. As development occurs in the community, the school district works proactively to ensure that land is available for future building needs. Business Director Bryan Ruud said that the district is also looking at a future land purchase in another area of the district.

The district has been setting aside money for land purchase for several years, and the purchase will not increase the tax rate. State law requires voter approval at a Special Annual Meeting.

Budget committee makes recommendations

After reviewing the state budget proposals and the work of the Community Facilities Advisory Committee, the six-member Community Budget Advisory Committee made several recommendations to the School Board. They included:

  • minimize student impact when making budget reductions;
  • maintain facilities because deferred maintenance will create greater future expense; and
  • go to referendum to restore lost funding so that recent district initiatives to reduce class size, enhance Advanced Placement courses and increase student achievement are not lost. Committee members also indicated support for the work of the Community Facilities Advisory Committee.

Internet filter approved

An Internet filtering package provided by Wiscnet was chosen to comply with new regulations for school technology. The Children’s Internet Protection Act requires schools to certify that they are enforcing a policy of Internet safety and have technology protection in place. Computer users must be protected again obscene visual depictions, child pornography and material harmful to minors. The school district must also be able to monitor online activities.

The district considered three packages and chose Wiscnet’s low bid of $8,750 for the first year and $7,750 thereafter for the purchase of the X-Stop package. The word filter program, already used in almost 200 school districts, blocks categories such as “chat” and “pornography.”

Preliminary staffing plan discussed

The number of full-time equivalency (FTE) teaching positions in 2002-03 will drop by 1.5 if student projections are accurate. Human Resources Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz reported that preliminary data show the high school will have one less position for a total of 76.78 FTEs, the middle school will be down one-half of a position at 68.59 FTEs, and the number of elementary school teachers will remain the same as the current year with 136.38 FTEs. Schultz recommended that the School Board include two contigency positions in the staffing plan for unanticipated enrollments. He told board members he will continue to meet regulary with principals to monitor enrollment so that a more detailed plan can be presented at the next meeting. At this point, specific staff assignments have not been made.

Summer curriculum work, professional development offerings approved

Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., presented information about the projects and activities that will keep many school district staff members busy throughout the summer. She reported that the summer program will focus on:

  • K-12 curriculum revision in art, technology education and world languages;
  • information & technology curriculum development;
  • high school honors and middle school enrichment course development; and
  • professional development opportunities.

Personnel matters approved

In personnel matters, the School Board approved the resignations of Lannon Elementary School teacher Angela Kattman at the end of the 2001-02 school year.