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November 4, 2003

Classrooms at premium in district

Hamilton School District classrooms are at a premium with one elementary school exceeding available space. Educational Services and Human Resources Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz presented a chart at the School Board meeting that showed the available classrooms in each school and the number of classrooms needed this year.

The number of classrooms needed at Woodside exceeded what was available, so several areas not intended for classrooms were reconfigured. The music room is used for a kindergarten class, a classroom for cognitively disabled students was moved into the computer lab, and two special education classrooms are used for regular full classes.

Woodside, a school that was opened in 1999, serves an attendance area in the northwest portion of the district where subdivision development has taken off. School officials will study next year’s projected enrollments to determine if some classes will be housed in other locations. One option is to have kindergartners at Willow Spring Learning Center, which houses the optional half-day kindergarten program for 4-year-olds and has room for four unused classrooms.

Other elementary schools are faring better. Maple Avenue has one unused classroom, Lannon has two and Marcy will have several more when its new addition is completed in the fall of 2004.

Templeton Middle School is using all of its classrooms. During first semester, nine Hamilton High School classrooms are used less than half the school day, 28 are used three out of four class periods, and 27 are used each class period.

Money reallocated for English language learners and special education students

School Board members voted to reallocate funds so that more instructional assistants could be hired for the remainder of the 2003-04 school year. The severity of English language learners and special education needs among students prompted the addition of instructional assistants at each elementary school and Templeton. The cost for special education aides for one hour at Woodside, two hours at Marcy and four hours at Maple each day will total $14,875. The money will come from building budgets including textbooks an extra duty pay.

Two additional hours for an aide to help Templeton students with Limited English Proficiency and one additional hour at Lannon will total $5,250 and will be funded with federal Title III grants.

Gosz gives overview of co-curricular activities

Athletic-Activities Director Mike Gosz described accomplishments in co-curricular areas. Among his recommendations to the School Board were:

  • resurface rather than filling cracks on the tennis courts;
  • recognize the high demand for facilities use by school and community groups;
  • replace outfield baseball four-foot fence with one that is six feet;
  • explore coach-advisor salary structure related to WIAA tournament advancement;
  • reline and maintain athletic stadium track; and
  • emphasize the value of hiring teachers who can coach to avoid further high school coaching shortage

Extended Learning Opportunities Program focuses on work-based experiences

New Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator Candis Mongan reported on work-based learning initiatives that include Co-op, Youth Apprenticeship and Work Experience programs.

She described components of the Extended Learning Opportunities Program that includes:

  • learning portfolios;
  • career development activities; and
  • work-based learning programs.

The program is supported with more than $23,500 in grants through Youth Apprenticeship, Tech Prep and Carl Perkins funding. The funding for the program has dropped in recent years, which caused some district programs to be cut and fewer students to be served. In 2003-04, 13 percent of Hamilton junior and seniors participated in the program compared to 18 percent in 2001-02. Another factor for the lower participation rate is that more students are taking advantage of expanded Advanced Placement and Honors Program offerings, according to Superintendent Kathleen Cooke.

Initiatives foster respect, understanding

Chapter 220 Coordinator and Human Relations Specialist Erica Bova-Brown provided an extensive report of the district’s multicultural activities and Chapter 220 Program that help the district fulfill its nondiscrimination policy.

The Chapter 220 Program promotes cross-cultural communication between district residents and Milwaukee-resident students and their families. It is the nation’s only voluntary two-way city-suburban integration program. Minority students from Milwaukee Public Schools are able to enroll in suburban schools, and openings in MPS are available to resident students.

Transportation is provided for Chapter 220 students. The School Board voted to keep the number of allocated seats to 105 in 2004-05.

Bova-Brown described numerous multicultural initiatives in 2002-03 designed to foster respect and eliminate racism through education and expose to people of multiple ethnic heritages. Among the activities were a number of highly successful staff in-services.
Summer Opportunities Program successes presented

The 2003 Summer Opportunities Program saw a six percent increase in enrollment with participation from 1,379 students, reported Summer Opportunities Coordinator and Lannon Principal Dick Ladd.

Ladd and Summer Opportunities staff Marlene Helinski and John Vitale provided data about the summer’s success including a:

  • scheduling of 158 sections;
  • promotion of 57 middle school students who would have been retained without the extra summer help;
  • participation of 171 elementary students in academic support invitational programs;
  • financial balance of $94,308 after expenses were covered; and
  • 100 percent agreement from parents who said in surveys that their child had a good experience.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke complimented Ladd, Helinski and Vitale for their fine work.

District keeps Open Enrollment seats the same

Citing a concern about crowding at all schools, the School Board voted to make no new Open Enrollment seats available in 2004-05. The district educates 57 students who come in from other districts; 65 resident students attend schools elsewhere under the Open Enrollment Law. The Open Enrollment Program allows students to transfer to any district in the state, but parents are responsible for transportation.

The requests of 10 Hamilton High School students to participate in the Youth Options Program next semester were approved at a cost of approximately $5,000. The program allows students in good academic and disciplinary

Election schedule given

The 2003-2004 election schedule was presented. Among the dates are the Dec. 26 deadline for incumbents to announce their non-candidacy, Jan. 6 deadline for candidacy declaration and nominations papers, Feb. 17 primary election if needed, April 6 spring election and April 26 School Board members take office. The positions of Gabe Kolesari, who represents the Village of Sussex, and Gerald Schmitz, who is an at-large representative, are up for election

Personnel matters approved

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • approved a 4.5 aggregate increase for confidential support staff and a 3.8 percent aggregate increase for administrators in salary and benefit compensation including insurance concessions for 2003-04;
  • accepted the retirement request of Hamilton administrative assistant Diane Schroeder, effective June 30, 2004;
  • appointed Denise McKennon as a Templeton teacher aide, effective Nov. 3; and
  • revised the position of the “manager of budgeting and accounting” to “comptroller” to reflect the responsibilities the person is handling.