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April 5, 2005

Early mathematics program on track

Providing timely intervention for elementary school students who struggle with mathematics has been the goal of the Early Mathematics Empowerment (EME) program that was implemented at Lannon Elementary School this year. Nancy Lorenz, a newly hired teacher who works 40 percent of the day, intervenes with 14 second- and third-graders. Modeled after the district’s successful Early Reading Empowerment (ERE) program to help struggling readers, EME provides students with an additional half hour of mathematics instruction four days a week. Lorenz also works with classroom teachers to provide group lessons and coordinates with teachers whose students are in the program.

School officials who like what they see plan to expand the EME program in 2005-06. Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz reported that additional mathematics assistance will be offered to 36 elementary students in summer school. Classroom teachers in grades 2-5 will use a checklist to identify potential students who Lorenz will test to determine mathematics need. With parental approval, these students will be placed in an intensive, small-group summer program, Schultz said.

Administrators plan to present a proposal to the School Board that will extend EME to all elementary schools in 2005-06. According to Schultz’s report, the program will include:

  • ongoing teacher training in the delivery of mathematics for struggling students;
  • classroom collaboration and support
  • well-defined selection process for students who need intervention
  • parent communication; and
  • ongoing program evaluation.

Money may come from federal funds, grants, reallocated district resources and funding available if there is increased enrollment.

2005-06 budget presented

School administrators presented a $39.6 million balanced budget for 2005-06 that increases spending by 2.92 percent. It is the first draft that School Board members have seen. Based on property values increasing a conservative 5.3 percent, Business Services Director Bryan Ruud said the tax rate will be $10.78 per $1,000 of equalized property value — unchanged from 2004-05. If property values increase at a higher rate, the tax rate will be less.

The proposed budget will have a net tax levy of $24 million which is 5.23 percent above the current levy. State aid is expected to be the same $16.6 million that it is this school year. Nearly 54 percent of the budget is for employee salaries and another 26 percent goes toward fringe benefits. Purchased services accounts for 14 percent. School Board members will vote in May on the final budget that will be presented at June’s Annual meeting.

Summer workshops approved

Summer curriculum projects and professional development initiatives got the OK from School Board members who agreed to spend about $26,500 to develop curriculum and assessments, and train staff members. This year’s budget increased $8,000 over last year’s due to district initiatives involving implementation of the new elementary mathematics program, middle school restructuring and use of a new student database.

Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., presented the lists of summer curriculum projects and professional development activities.

School Board appoints Business Office staff

The School Board appointed Business Services administrative assistant Kim Krimmer to be payroll supervisor when Virginia Olson retires effective July 1.