April 19, 2004

2004-05 budget presented

Cautioning School Board members that future budgets will involve major district realignments and painful staffing decisions, Hamilton Business Services Director Bryan Ruud presented the 2004-05 budget that included a reduction of $450,000 in expenses to come in under state-mandated revenue caps. Ruud said the district has been reducing expenses every year for the past decade to meet revenue-cap legislation.

“There is no place where money is sitting to be had,” Ruud said. “This will make for painful decisions in the future.”

Ruud presented a $38.4 million budget which is up 4.38 percent over the existing budget. While the district expects an additional 56 students next year, it reduced Special Education staffing, cut district office budgets by 3 percent, reduced maintenance and realigned elementary specialists to bring in the budget under the allowed revenue limits. Schools were asked to come in with minimal increases. The budget maintained 3 contingency positions for high enrollment classes and one contingency Special Education teacher.

The budget was built assuming current law would remain in place allowing for per pupil increases in the state funding formula. A Legislative proposal known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights would require the district to cut an additional $450,000 to $480,000 if it were passed, Ruud said.

Despite the overall budget increasing by 4.38 percent, the local tax levy is expected to increase by 5.25 percent because a smaller percentage of revenues will come from state aid. Still, Ruud projected that the mill rate would increase only 2 cents for a total of $11.42 per $1,000 of equalized property value. This is because property value within the district continues to grow. The district conservatively estimated that property value will increase by 5 percent — topping $2 trillion next year.

The School Board will approve a final budget May 17 to present to citizens at the June 21 Annual Meeting.

Student, teacher recognized for Kohl awards

Hamilton High School senior Abbey Paton and Templeton Middle School social studies teacher Alan Schneider were recognized for winning statewide awards from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

Paton was chosen a recipient of the 2004 Kohl Excellence Scholarship Program, which recognizes student leadership, citizenship, school-community involvement and academic achievement. Hamilton Principal David Furrer noted that Paton was involved in dance, including teaching it to young children, and was president of the National Honor Society

Schneider was among 100 Wisconsin teachers chosen for the 2004 Kohl Teacher Fellowship Program, which recognizes educators who have a superior ability to motivate people, inspire a love of learning and provide leadership and service within and outside the classroom. Templeton Principal Patricia Polczynski said Schneider motivates students through his passion for history and teaching. School Board member Deborah Briggs agreed with the characterization and thanked Schneider for instilling a love of history and social studies in her own child.

Textbooks approved

School Board members approved four new math and science textbooks. The books align with course curriculum, have appropriate readability for the grade level, contain accurate and unbiased content, have accompanying instructional materials that meet various student needs and represent religious, ethnic and cultural groups in a fair manner.

Newly elected board members sworn in

Gabe Kolesari and Gerald Schmitz, who were re-elected in the April 6 School Board election, were certified as board members by School Board Clerk Dawn Van Aacken.

Personnel matter approved

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignation of Woodside Elementary School music teacher Beth Kauffeld, Maple Avenue first grade teacher Nicole Farrar and Templeton Middle School eighth grade science teacher Carey Celske; and
  • approved partial lay-offs for Hamilton High School art teacher Ellen Acuff who will go from 1.0 to .33 full-time equivalancy position (FTE), and Maple Avenue physical education teacher Jennifer Reuter who will go from .6 to .5 FTE. The lay-offs are the result of a schedule reconfiguration for elementary specialists who will have more student contact time. Two other specialists had been on the lay-off list, but one was offered a full-time classroom teaching position to fill an opening and the other resigned from the district.