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April 9, 2002

Board chooses lower cost Marcy option

Hamilton School Board members opted for the more cost-efficient plan as they provided input to the Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) concerning Marcy Elementary School. Marcy’s oldest section is in need of improvements, and FAC members asked the School Board to indicate their preference for a demolition and reconstruction project or one that involved renovation.

Business Director Bryan Ruud compared the two options at the March 18 meeting that showed renovation of the old section into two classrooms and creating an additional classroom would cost $854,130 compared to $737,000 to raze the old section and replace it with a new addition. Another option included renovating the old section at a cost of $737,130 without building additional space, but that option did not have support because it would reduce the number of classrooms at Marcy, a school in need of more space for anticipated enrollment increases.

Board members indicated in their motion that they would like to see the old Marcy building commemorated in the new building project. FAC members will reconvene in April to discuss final recommendations for a referendum. The committee began meeting last fall to study projected enrollment growth and facilities needs throughout the district.

Community members speak out

Five Maple Avenue Elementary School parents and one student asked board members to consider adding another section to next year’s fifth grade class which is expected to have 86 students. They fear that with only three sections, class size will be too large to effectively teach students. Fourth-grader Dana Devine read a letter from fellow fourth-graders asking that another section be considered for the grade. Human Resources Director Dean Schultz will present a staffing plan for 2002-03 at the next School Board meeting.

K-8 science text adopted

New elementary and middle school science materials were adopted. In grades 2-6, the Houghton Mifflin Science Program: Discovery Works Program and Einstein project kits were adopted. The Prentice Hall Science Program: Science Explorer will be used in grades 7 and 8.

First draft of budget presented

Business Services Director Bryan Ruud presented the first draft of the $34.7 million budge that includes a 5 percent increase in expenses and 15.38 percent increase in the mil rate. The proposed mil rate is expected to go from $11.36 to $13.10 per $1,000 of property value. The budget was built using conservative assumptions that the district will increase enrollment by 25 students, property value will increase by 5 percent, and there will be no additional state aid.

Ruud cautioned that the mil rate increase was based on using conservative numbers and may not be as high. The budget included no new staff positions and no additional capital improvement spending over last year’s budget. The estimates for state aid are based on Governor Scott McCallum’s state budget proposal. If other state proposals actually are approved, the district could face making further cuts.

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

Personnel matters approved

In personnel matters, the School Board approved the resignations of Maple Avenue fifth grade teacher Linda Brandenburg effective March 19 and Hamilton business education teacher Timothy Brandt at the end of the 2001-02 school year. Woodside fifth grade teacher Kim Weber was granted a leave of absence for the 2002-03 school year.