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October 15, 2012

School Board makes budget adjustments

Unlike many school districts that are experiencing declining enrollments, the Hamilton School District continues to grow. This year, however, Hamilton’s enrollment went up by 21 instead of 45 students as school officials had projected. Because the district budget is built around estimated enrollment, the School Board members took action at its regular meeting Oct. 15 to adjust the budget to reflect actual student enrollment. In addition, the expense of another bus was added because of enrollments needs.

Lannon and Marcy Elementary Schools and Templeton Middle School saw increases in their budgets while Willow Springs Learning Center, Maple Avenue and Woodside Elementary Schools and Hamilton High School saw cuts. In addition, cuts were made to maintenance, information technology, school board, superintendent and business office budgets.

The state Department of Revenue determined that equalized property value in the district dropped 2.84 percent compared to last year. The district will see more state aid than initially projected. The School Board certified a tax rate of $10.40 per $1,000 of property which is one cent less than the district estimated at the Annual Meeting in June. The 2012-13 levy is $91,859 or 0.30 percent less than 2011-12.

Woodside, Marcy additions on track

Construction projects at Woodside and Marcy Elementary Schools are expected to be completed on time and under budget, the School Board learned. At Woodside, the multi-purpose facility is expected to be ready before Thanksgiving, and the classroom additions at both schools should be ready for occupancy by Jan. 1. The four-classroom relocatable unit at Woodside will be removed and the playground space will be reclaimed for student recess use.

The School Board approved building the additions last year to ease crowding at the two schools. Woodside’s project includes a five-classroom addition and multi-purpose gym space. Marcy’s project entails a six-classroom addition and expansion to create a multi-purpose area for teaching, individual and small-group services at Marcy. Both schools provide additional restrooms to meet municipal codes.

Each project was expected to cost about $2 million. Under the two-year plan, one portion of funding will come from the maintenance budget, which typically funds year-end capital improvements such as roofing and asphalt projects or HVAC equipment replacement. In addition, about $1 million will be taken from the district’s fund balance each year.

District keeps Chapter 220 at same level

The number of seats available for students to enroll in the district though the Chapter 220 will remain at 110, a number that has been consistent for the past 10 years. Chapter 220 is a voluntary integration program that brings Milwaukee Public Schools students to suburban districts

Youth Options requests approved

A total of 19 high school students requested admission to the Youth Options Program that will allow them to take classes next semester at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha and Milwaukee, Waukesha County Technical College and Carroll University. Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan noted, as in the past, many students will not be able to take the courses because of scheduling conflicts or full classes. A total of 14 students requested admission to Youth Options last year.

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.

Marcy and Willow Springs site plans approved

Principal Michele Trawicki reported on the fourth year of Marcy Elementary School’s Site Plan. The site plan includes three tactics:

  • Marcy staff will help students attain the highest levels of achievement by collaborative goal-setting, excellent instruction, progress monitoring and self-reflection;
  • The Marcy community will actively embrace the Marcy School vision through the implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS); and
  • Staff and students will receive the support they need through efficient communication, analysis of data and resources from all members of the Marcy community.

The goal of Willow Springs Learning Center is stated as: “Students will be enriched in a unique, well-defined and articulated four-year-old kindergarten program.”

Principal Margaret Tackes, Ed.D, described Willow Springs’ two tactics, which state that students completing the Willow Springs 4K experience will :

  • enter neighborhood 5K programs with developing social, pre-academic, fine motor and communication skills; and
  • demonstrate developing readiness attributes regarding the 21st century knowledge, skills and dispositions in the areas of communication, conflict resolution, creativity, collaboration, problem solving and technical skills.

Educational Services team reports on priorities

Three Educational Services administrators reported on accomplishments of the past year and priorities for the coming year. Human Resources and Organizational Development Director John Roubik, Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D., and Special Services Supervisor Mardi Freeman updated the School Board on work of the department. They covered numerous initiatives regarding strategic planning, curriculum development, professional development, special education assessment, Response to Intervention and aspects of the new state accountability system.

Personnel business

In personnel news, the School Board accepted the retirement request of Woodside head custodian Thomas Schneider effective Dec. 7.