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October 21, 2019

JP Cullen, Milwaukee Tool recognized for support of AET

Hamilton High School teacher Alan Mamerow thanked JP Cullen Construction Company and Milwaukee Tool for their support of the district’s applied engineering and technology classes. Mamerow thanked Bryan Sanchez, from Milwaukee Tool, for donation of thousands of dollars of tools and equipment last year. JP Cullen’s Shannon Metoxen and Nick Tibbott were recognized for providing a large palette of job boxes for students to use during Skills USA competitions.

Bryan-Sanchez-With-Gabe-Kolesari-Paul-Mielke Shannon-Metoxen-Allan-Mamerow-Nick-Tibbott

Tax rate increase far below referendum projection

School Board members approved a $61.75 million budget that includes a mil rate of $9.13 per $1,000 of property. For each $100,000 of property citizens own, they will pay $913 in property taxes to support the school district. The mil rate is 21 cents more than the rate from last year.

The total budget increased 7.52% — due largely to the costs of referendum projects approved by citizens in February, 2018 which included construction of a new intermediate school, high school renovations and additions and their associated operational costs. Before the referendum, school officials estimated that, if approved, the mil rate would increase $1.37 from the 2017-18 rate of $8.55 to $9.92 beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. The actual mil rate increase since 2017-18 is 58 cents – 79 cents or 58% less than projected.

The district’s equalized valuation growth of more than 4.3% in the last years contributed to the lower-than-expected tax rate. Historically, property value in the district increased about 2 to 2.5%. The district’s equalized valuation increased by 4.37% in the past year. State aid increased 4.3%.

The gross tax levy — the portion of the budget paid by local taxpayers — increased to $33.7 million from $31.5 million in 2018-19.

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.

District sees 55 additional students

The official third Friday of September enrollment was 4,886 — up 55 students from last year’s count. Silver Spring Intermediate School opened with 725 grade 5 and 6 students who had previously been at elementary and middle schools which saw a drop of 654 fewer students. In addition, Willow Springs Learning Center and Hamilton High School had a combined drop of 16 students.

New administrators present school reports

New building-level administrators presented their site plan updates for the first time since taking their new leadership positions.

Silver Spring Intermediate School Principal Deanna Wellens and Associate Principal Katie Ritchie described the opening of a new school and priorities for the coming year.

Wellens said prior to having a mission or vision statement, “May This Be a House of Joy” poem was a meaningful statement that grounded staff in the kind of environment they wanted to create at Silver Spring.

Priorities will be to:

  • create a strong community that ensures a sense of belonging; and
  • focus on academic writing across the building and throughout content areas.

Rebecca Newcomer presented her first site plan report as principal of Hamilton High School. She provided data about accomplishments and progress. Two areas of focus will be to:

  • improve achievement levels for students with disabilities, minority and economically disadvantaged students; and
  • maximize resources, instructional time and best teaching and learning practices to ensure social and emotional wellness development for all students.

Newcomer noted that areas for growth will be:

  • differentiation in classroom to address each student’s need;
  • formal data-based decision-making at the classroom level;
  • institutional use of protocols;
  • increased participation in AP;
  • closing achievement gaps between regular education and special education; and
  • staffing to reduce part-time hires.

Dual Enrollment Academy gives students jumpstart on future

For the sixth year, Hamilton High School seniors will continue to be able to enroll in the Dual Enrollment Academy that allows them to get a jumpstart on high-demand fields while earning college credit at Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC). Hamilton Principal Becky Newcomer gave the School Board a status report and requested approval to continue participation in the program.

Participating seniors spend most of their school day at WCTC participating in the Dual Enrollment Academy which offers programs in robotics, hospitality, information technology, tool and die, protective services, building construction and welding. Upon completion, students earn a WCTC diploma along with high school credits.

A total of 14 Hamilton students completed the program last May — three each in hospitality, welding, and tool and die, two each in building trades and protective services and one in robotics. Another 17 students are participating this year.

8 students apply for Early College Credit Program

Eight high school students requested admission to the Early College Credit Program (ECCP), formerly known as the Youth Options Program, that will allow them to take classes next semester at University of Wisconsin – Waukesha, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Wisconsin Lutheran and UW – Online. Hamilton Principal Becky Newcomer 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 10 students requested admission to Youth Options last year.

ECCP is mandated by the state and 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.

The program is funded 75 percent from Hamilton High School and 25 percent from the state. If the student fails, withdraws or drops a class, the family pays 100 percent of the cost.

Start College Now has 9 applicants

Another program, Start College Now, had its start as Youth Options. Start College Now allows juniors and seniors with good academic standing and no disciplinary problems to take courses at Waukesha County Technical College. Nine Hamilton students requested admission. The program is funded by the high school, but like ECCP, if a student fails, withdraws or drops the course, the family is responsible for the cost.

Great Start Conferences get good reviews from parents, staff

Human Resources and Organizational Development Director John Roubik and Instructional Services Supervisor Katie Little reported on the district’s first Great Start Conferences for families of students from 4K to grade 6. The conferences allowed students, parents and teachers to meet face-to-face before students’ first day of school to establish relationships and set the stage for a successful year.

In an online survey, more than 85% of parents and 98% of staff supported continuing the conferences. While overwhelmingly positive response, suggestions for improvements were given that will be reviewed for future conferences.

Board takes personnel action

In personnel matters the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Hamilton High School Custodian Justin Derksen, effective Sept. 23, district Information Technology Manager Benjamin Hawley, effective Nov. 1, and Maple Avenue special services Paraprofessional Meghan Griswold, effective Oct. 19; and
  • appointed Andrew Redding as Hamilton custodian I, effective Oct. 28, Teri Zeller as Hamilton custodian, effective Nov. 4, Elisabeth Thomsen as Woodside special services paraprofessional, effective Oct. 22, Matthew Clark as district assistant comptroller, effective Dec. 2, and Katherine Hibbard as Marcy custodian, effective Oct. 30.

Maintenance staff address summer projects

During the summer of 2019, the maintenance and custodial staff completed the annual task of preparing our school facilities for the upcoming school year. This work included maintenance on mechanical systems, the cleaning of classrooms, restrooms, locker and shower areas, stripping and refinishing of floors, refinishing wood gymnasium floors, carpet cleaning and the maintenance of the grounds and athletic fields throughout the district. In addition to these annually scheduled tasks, below you will find a brief summary of this summer’s special projects.

1) Added a roundabout to improve TMS/HHS traffic patterns
2) Annual aerial lift and exhaust hood inspections at all schools
3) Annual fire alarm inspection and calibration at all schools
4) All fire extinguishers inspected and/or recharged

Hamilton High School:
1) Cleaned chiller coils
2) Multiple classrooms were fitted with new ceiling tile
3) Asphalt patching
4) Landscaping upgrades
5) Asphalt striping
6) Added walking path from Town Line Road to school
7) Resurfaced and painted tennis courts
8) Replaced science wing roof
9) Provided emergency power to all IT closets
10) Extended walking path between high school and intermediate school
11) Added to and upgraded electronic access system

Templeton Middle School:
1) Repainted classrooms
2) Mulched landscaping
3) Miscellaneous asphalt patching
4) Asphalt striping
5) Replaced main gym north exterior doors
6) Upgraded lighting controllers
7) Added six security cameras outside school
8) Replaced exterior message board
9) Installed viewing window between woodshop and project lab

Silver Spring Intermediate School:
1) Hiring of new staff, move in, final cleaning, supplying new building to ready it for grand opening event and beginning of school year

Lannon Elementary School:
1) Cleaned chiller coils
2) Added woodchips to all playground equipment
3) Mulched landscaping
4) Painted classrooms
5) Miscellaneous asphalt patching
6) Asphalt striping
7) Replaced roof section 5 (IMC area)
8) Replaced 2 cafeteria table modules
9) Installed municipal water to school and abandoned existing well

Maple Avenue Elementary School:
1) Added woodchips to playground
2) Cleaned chiller condenser coils
3) Repainted classrooms and hallways
4) Mulched landscaping
5) Asphalt striping
6) Replaced office air handling rooftop unit
7) Completely replaced HVAC control system

Marcy Elementary School:
1) Added woodchips to all playground equipment
2) Clean chiller coils
3) Painted hallways and classrooms
4) Mulched landscaping
5) Asphalt striping
6) Painted classrooms

Woodside Elementary School:
1) Mulched landscaping
2) Repaired landscaping and replaced bushes
3) Clean chiller coils
4) Painted hallways and classrooms
5) Asphalt striping

Willow Springs Learning Center:
1) Added woodchips to playground equipment
2) Mulched landscaping
3) Asphalt striping
4) Painted classrooms

Staff, including full-time personnel, substitutes and summer help performed efficiently. Despite a summer full of construction and projects, coupled with ever increasing facility use throughout the school year and a growing summer school program, all schools (1,061,544 square feet) were cleaned and ready for the upcoming school year in advance, affording the time to do additional painting and maintenance work.