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April 1, 2014

School Board gets first look at budget

Hamilton School Board members took their first official look at the 2014-15 budget at their regular meeting. The budget totals $54.59 million, which is a 3.02 percent increase over the current budget. The mill rate is projected to be $10.28, which is 8 cents above this year’s rate – less than a one percent increase. State aid is expected to increase by one-third of one percent, while the local tax levy will increase by 1.41 percent.

Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bryan Ruud said the budget assumes the district will have 15 fewer students next fall, two fewer teachers because of enrollment shifts and property value will increase by .61 percent.

He credited the district’s well-run healthcare plan with avoiding expenses that many other organizations face. The district has seen no increase in healthcare costs in the past two years, and plans for a one percent increase in the coming year. Because the district has been self-insured for many years, employees are aware that healthcare expenses have an impact on the entire district budget, according to Ruud.

The School Board set the Annual Meeting for June 16 when residents will be able to vote on the levy. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center. It is preceded by the Annual Public Hearing which begins at 6:15 p.m.

Enrollment shifts affects staffing plan

Shifts in enrollment will result in the reduction of the 3.57 full-time equivalency (FTE) positions for the 2014-15 school year if projections are accurate. Human Resources Director John Roubik reported that elementary schools are expected to be down by three classroom teachers and .57 FTE in areas of art, music and physical education. Special services staff will decrease by one FTE at the middle school and increase by one at the high school because of an enrollment shift. The normal high school enrollment shifts due to student course selections are expected to increase art, communication arts, music and social studies classes and result in decreases in family-consumer science and Freshman Seminar.

Tactical plan progress reported

Roubik reported on the development of the district’s strategic vision and tactical plan. He presented a progress report on each of the plan’s tactical areas that include personalized and differentiated instructional practices, Response to Intervention readiness, a new student information system, athletic classroom training and practice facility, effective two-way communication practices, professional development, Educator Effectiveness model and sustainable compensation to attract and retain high quality employees.

Seniors & Students continues success

Public Information and Volunteer Program Coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg presented an update on the Seniors & Students Program. A total of 243 senior volunteers serve throughout the district. Nearly 81,000 volunteer hours have been logged since 1998. New this year is establishment of Readers’ Café at Maple Avenue Elementary School. A School Board presentation on the new project is scheduled for June.

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • Accepted the resignation of Maple Avenue instructional paraprofessional Alicia Ide, effective March 20, Hamilton student supervisor Mike Strobl, effective March 28 and Lannon special services paraprofessional Khaimook Guidinger, effective April 9; and
  • Appointed Heidi Koenig Hamilton clerical and supervision paraprofessional, effective April 7.