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September 4, 2007

Board approves 403(b) Plan Document
The Hamilton School Board took action that will give the district a leg up on new Internal Revenue Service requirements by approving its 403(b) Plan Document.

IRS rules changed to require the school district to have its own plan documents in place describing how tax-deferred employee savings plans will be implemented. In the private sector, these plans are known as 401(k) accounts. While employers of 401(k) plans were required to have their own plan documents, not so of the public sector’s 403(b) plans. The new IRS requirements will go into effect next year.

Employees are not likely to note a change due to the plan adoption unless vendors they use for 403(b) plans choose not to sign hold harmless agreements required in the district’s plan document. The agreements state that the investment companies will follow the new IRS rules for 403(b) account administration.

Business Services Director Bryan Ruud will hold voluntary meetings with school staff Sept. 11 at 2:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center to review the new IRS regulations and the district plan.

Board accepts renegotiated tower agreement
In other financial matters, the School Board agreed to renegotiated terms of a cellular tower lease that will shave $1,500 in annual revenue from the district. The tower, located at Willow Springs Learning Center, was originally erected by Cingular which recently merged with AT&T.

Halfway into the five-year, $12,000 Cingular contract, the district was asked to reduce the contract to $9,500 and accept 30-day termination rights. Ruud convinced AT&T to up the contract to $10,500 and remove termination rights.

School Board member Gerald Schmitz questioned why the district was accepting a lower rate than the original contract. Ruud explained that AT&T is claiming it has excess capacity since its merger and may need to rid itself of some towers. Ruud said he was looking to establish an arrangement that will continue to provide long-term revenue to the district.

Two students admitted into kindergarten early
Two students were admitted early into full-day kindergarten last year, according to a report presented by Special Services Supervisor Mardi Freeman. Initially, seven parents requested information, but only four children participated in screening. One student each at Marcy and Woodside elementary schools was granted early admission. A request for early admission into first grade was received, but the parents withdrew their child from the screening process.

District policy indicates children must be four, five or six years old by Sept. 1 to enter four-year-old kindergarten, regular kindergarten or first grade, respectively. While procedures exist for early admission to regular kindergarten and first grade, no early admission is granted for four-year-old kindergarten.

Staff members write e-mail disclaimer
Superintendent Kathleen Cooke thanked Educational Services Assistant Superintendent Dean Schultz and Instructional Technology Coordinator Katie Little for their work on the district’s new e-mail disclaimer. A message automatically appears at the end of each e-mail sent out of the district that indicates the message should not be considered confidential because it may be archived or subject to Wisconsin Open Records Law. It also states the e-mail represents the author’s, not the district’s, opinions and should not be distributed, copied or disclosed.

Personnel business
In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of paraprofessionals Rita Suelflow from Woodside, Matthew Pagel from Hamilton, and Kim Ebenhoch from Hamilton;
  • appointed Ann Myrold as a Marcy special services paraprofessional; and
  • modified Templeton speech and language specialist Jennifer Kryscio’s contract to 20 percent.