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September 20, 2004

Board members want salaries adjusted
It’s not uncommon to hear people arguing for adjustments in their pay, but usually they aren’t hoping for a pay decrease. Some Hamilton School Board members — uncomfortable with a generous increase that voters approved at the Annual Meeting in June — decided on Monday to give residents another shot at establishing their salaries.

Each year voters decide on School Board member salaries along with other financial matters at the Annual Meeting. Salaries went from $3,670 for the 2003-04 school year to $4,670 for 2004-05. At a meeting in July, School Board members expressed their surprise and discomfort with the 27 percent increase they were given.

They asked administrators to seek legal counsel on their options and learned that they could reopen the matter at a Special Annual Meeting. The first chance for such a meeting will be Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. when the district asks voters to approve two land issues.

School Board members Michael Hyland and Jennifer Rude Klett objected to revisiting the issue citing concern about overturning a decision that voters made.

“I think the electorate made the decision and we would be setting a precedent of reopening the issue,” Hyland said.

Referring to the age of the district, Hyland said: “This (reopening a matter decided at an Annual Meeting) is not something that has ever been done in more than 40 years.”

Klett said she did not want to second-guess the electorate’s vote.

Other School Board members said voters may not have intended to give such a generous salary increase.

“There was a miscommunication along the line and I don’t think anyone expected what happened,” Gerald Schmitz said.

School Member Deborah Briggs noted that issue was determined based on a voice vote. Depending where a person sat in the audience, the results sounded different, she said.

School Board Member James Long said he felt the increase was too big and he favored letting voters revisit the issue.

“This is a chance to make it right,” he said.

Special Annual Meeting also addresses land issues

Along with School Board salaries, voters will be able to decide whether the district will grant the Town of Lisbon a 17-foot easement along Plainview Road and allow the installation of two gravel driveway spurs. In addition, they will decide whether to allow Tomich Investments to purchase one-fifth of an acre from the district for road access and improvements for Spencer’s Pass Subdivision. Tomich Investments has offered to pay $9,500 for the property along Silver Spring Road.

Early mathematics support position approved

School Board members approved a pilot program to provide additional support for mathematics at the early elementary level. Title One federal funds will be used for a 40-percent position at Lannon Elementary School for a cost of $21,000. District training expenses will add another $3,000 to the total.

A teacher will be hired in October to provide math assistance to second- through fourth-graders who are struggling and provide staff training. The pilot will be evaluated at the end of the school year.

Resolution opposes WIAA realignment

School Board members will use several methods to let the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) know that a proposal to place Hamilton into a difference athletic conference is not a good idea.

The School Board approved a resolution outlining the negative impact that the change will have on Hamilton. School Board President Gabe Kolesari, Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., and Athletics-Activiities Director Michael Gosz are scheduled to meet Oct. 6 with WIAA officials and they have requested another meeting with the Board of Control.

The WIAA plan calls for Hamilton to be moved from the Greater Metro to the Wisconsin Little Ten conference. The Greater Metro is a 9-member conference that also includes Brookfield Central and East, Divine Savior, Marquette, Menomonee Falls, Wauwatosa East and West Allis Central and Hale. Little Ten schools include Hartford Union, Beaver Dam, Oconomowoc, Watertown, West Bend East and West, and Wisconsin Lutheran.

Because Little Ten school have smaller enrollments, the advantage of being in that conference would being more evenly matched competition.

The School Board’s resolution to the WIAA, however, points out more disadvantages. They include increased travel times and costs, negative impact on students’ instructional time due to earlier dismissals and later home arrivals and interference with cooperative swim and hockey teams within the Greater Metro Conference.

Summer school has success

Hamilton Summer Opportunities Coordinator presented information pointing to the success of the 2004 program. While overall enrollment went from 1,379 in 2003 to 1,369 in 2004, more students enrolled in enrichment classes. A drop in number of high school students signing up for weight lifting was seen.

Some 45 of the 47 middle school students enrolled in the promotional program were promoted to the next grade level, a nd high school students in the PASS Program earned a total of 14 credits as a result of summer work. One high school student was able to graduate because of credits earned in summer school.

Ladd noted that course fees for the 2005 program may drop from $10 to $8 per course.

Templeton teachers honored

School Board members recognized Templeton art teacher Jay Bergemann and social studies teacher Bill Steiner for their work on an integrated art and social studies unit. The teachers have worked with a new group of eighth-graders each year for the past eight years.

Board and superintendent goals approved

School Board members approved 2004-05 goals for the superintendent and themselves that include:

  • developing resources and implementing strategies to enhance student achievement;
  • implementing the district Strategic Plan;
  • promoting a positive school image;
  • promoting and expanding community relationships;
  • monitoring district enrollments and community growth and communicating about district long-range planning to address facility nees; and
  • updating School Board policies.

Personnel matter approved

In personnel matters, the School Board appointed three paraprofessionals including Tanya Selestow and April Showalter, who will work in Special Services at Marcy Elementary School, and Cynthia Rossman, who will do bookkeeping at Templeton Middle School.