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May 21, 2007

District applies to DPI for waiver
Hamilton School District students have more days and minutes of instruction than is required by the state. And, parents are happy that the district offers parent-teacher conferences in the evenings when they are most convenient for them. Still, the School Board was required to hold a public hearing and seek a waiver from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to approve the district’s school calendar.

DPI recently notified the district that it would not count its parent-teacher conferences toward its school calendar because they were held late afternoons and evenings on days when students had been in school. The district was informed that conferences scheduled on non-student contact days would contribute to the school calendar. The district could move its parent-teacher conferences to the daytime hours of a non-student contact day or apply for a waiver.

When parents learned about the option through letters and at meetings, they unanimously voiced support for keeping the late afternoon and evening conferences. Two parents spoke at the meeting encouraging the School Board to keep the evening conferences and apply for the waiver.

Following the public hearing, the School Board approved a resolution at its regular meeting that requests a waiver from the state.

WRS prepayment nets savings
The School Board’s previous decision to prepay taxable bonds for the Wisconsin Retirement System Pension Liability has saved the district about $1.9 million in interest over two years and freed up about $300,000 under the district’s revenue cap. The district prepayed $1 million in bonds in 2006, which saved $826,975 in interest charges. The remaining balance of $2.62 million was prepaid this year, resulting in $1.06 million in interest savings.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., credited Business Services Director Bryan Ruud for the insight to identify the savings for the district.

Board approves $44.8 million budget
Community members will have an opportunity to vote on the district levy June 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Hamilton High School. The School Board approved a $44.8 million budget that is up 5.07 percent over the current budget. The local levy is expected to be $9.37 per $1,000 of property value. The budget was built using conservative assumptions that there will be no additional state aid and the property growth rate will increase 5.0 percent.

Retirees recognized
Eighteen employees, with combined service of more than 450 years to Hamilton School District students and community, will retiree at the end of the 2006-07 school year. Their outstanding contributions to the district and the field of education were highlighted and they were presented with a clock, citation from the state Legislature and a certificate from the Department of Public Instruction. Those who were recognized were:
Lannon: Wayne E. Niederdorfer – custodian;
Maple Avenue: Mary Beth Ahmed-Yahia – physical education teacher, Terry L. Fojtik – music teacher;
Marcy: Nancy Boeck – library-media specialist;
Woodside: Thomas Noonan – third grade teacher; Jo-Ann E. Zeisloft – second grade teacher;
Templeton: Jeanne Johns – physical education teacher; Maxine Kay – sixth grade science and communication arts teacher; Carolyn Mrozinski – paraprofessional; Nancy Sommer – custodian; Cynthia Worzella – fitness education teacher;
Hamilton High School: William G. Bodette – social studies teacher; Mary R. Label – Spanish teacher; Jill Matarrese – alternative programs coordinator; Joanne M. Nolde – communication arts teacher; Byron C. Olson – technology education teacher; Steven Younk – social studies teacher; and
District: Mary Spaeth – Special Services administrative assistant.

Students and staff recognized
In addition to recognition of retirees, the School Board presented its annual Community Service Award to parent and volunteer Sue Posh. Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said that Posh was deserving of the district’s highest award because of many ways in which she supports the district.

The board also recognized students Stephanie Smith and Zachary Dumke for being student board representatives in 2006-07.

School lunch prices going up
School Board members approved school lunch price hikes for 2007-08. Prices will be up 25 cents for students to $2 at the elementary level and $2.25 at middle and high school. Adult prices will increase 35 cents to $3. Milk will remain at 30 per carton.

Cutbacks in commodity food and increased costs for labor, equipment and food required the price adjustments.

Personnel business
In personnel business, the School Board:

  • Accepted the retirement request of Special Services administrative assistant Mary Spaeth;
  • Approved the resignation of Public Information Office administrative assistant Tracey Webster;
  • Appointed Katie Smith as a Marcy third grade teacher, Kaila Feudner as a Hamilton part-time Spanish teacher, Andrew Fox as a Templeton physical education and health teacher, and Amanda Petroff as a Maple Avenue physical education and health teacher;
  • Modified the contract of Hamilton communication arts teacher Misty Draeger from one-third to one-half of a position; and
  • Approved a leave of absence for Woodside emotional behavioral disabilities teacher Anne Gavigan for the 2007-08 school year.