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October 19, 2009

Hamilton School Board certifies tax levy
Hamilton School Board members adopted a budget and certified a tax levy Oct. 19 that lessened some of the blow of losing $528,310 in state aid.

The tax levy – revenue generated through local property taxes – increased 5.99 percent, but the mill rate increased by only 2.7 percent because area property values increased 3.19 percent and the School Board used $400,000 from its fund balance to keep the tax rate down. The mill rate will go from $9.29 to $9.54 per $1,000 of property value.

Despite gaining an additional 82 students in 2009-10, Hamilton’s state aid dropped from $19.47 million to $18.94 million. The overall budget increased 3.27 percent to $48.71 million.

Each October, the School Board must adopt the budget, certify the tax levy and establish the tax rate after the Department of Revenue determines property values in the district. Tax bills are sent to property owners in December.

Budget timeline approved
The same evening board members finalized the 2009-10 budget, they approved a timeline that set in motion the process for 2010-11. Among the significant dates of the budget timeline are:

  • Open Faculty and Staff Forum – Dec. 9 at 3:45 p.m. in the high school library;
  • Opportunity for community input to the budget – March 15, April 19 and May 4 at 7:15 p.m. prior to School Board meeting;
  • School Board approval of final budget draft – May 17 at 7:30 p.m. at School Board meeting; and
  • Annual Meeting – June 21 at approximately 7:30 p.m. – immediately following Annual Public Hearing.

Consultant to investigate fiber optic cable lines
A consultant will be hired to analyze costs and logistics associated with replacing the district’s T1 lines with fiber optic cable between the high school and elementary schools. According to a report from Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bryan Ruud, limited band width capacity has degraded the performance of the network to school sites as demand for internet access and software applications grow.

The School Board authorized spending up to $4,880 for a consultant to help the district investigate the pros and cons of leasing fiber optic cable versus district installation. Costs are expected to range from more than $500,000 to $1.1 million over a five-year span. A report on the findings will be reported to the board in November or early December.

District holds Chapter 220, Open Enrollment numbers
The number of seats available for students to enroll in the district though the Chapter 220 and Open Enrollment programs will be the same in 2010-11 as current levels.

Chapter 220 is a voluntary integration program that brings Milwaukee Public Schools students to suburban districts. The Open Enrollment Program allows students to attend school in other districts if space allows. The School Board voted to maintain 110 seats for Chapter 220 and 80 seats for Open Enrollment. The number of incoming seats has been limited in the past several years because of space availability.

Parents will be invited to apply to a waiting list that will be reviewed in early spring.

Youth Options requests approved
A total of 14 high school students requested admission to the Youth Options Program that will allow them to take classes next semester at Waukesha County Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha. Often, students who have been approved for Youth Options are not able to take the courses because of scheduling conflicts or full classes.

Youth Options is a program mandated by the state that allows students who have completed 10th grade, are in good academic standing and have no disciplinary problems to attend a technical college or university if they have exhausted their high school curriculum.

Personnel actions
In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Woodside cleaner Randall Stumpf and Lannon music teacher Sara Ford; and
  • appointed Lisa Totsky as a Templeton administrative assistant; and Amanda Hunter as Marcy special education paraprofessional.