Tax rate drop to lowest level in 30 years
Hamilton School Board members adopted a budget and certified a tax levy Oct. 21 that will drop the mill rate for school purposes by 7.45%. The tax levy for 2020-21 is $33,205,087 — $414,610 less than the 2019-20 levy. The mill rate at $8.45 — the lowest rate since the 1990s — equates to $845 in school taxes for each $100,000 of property value a resident owns. The owner of $100,000 of property last year paid $913 in taxes for school purposes.
School officials at the August Annual Meeting predicted the tax rate would actually increase 25 cents to $9.38. Instead, increased state aid and community growth brought down the mill rate. State aid increased more than 10% percent – from $27.8 million to $30.6 million – and property value increased 6.71% rather than the conservative 2.5% that had been projected at the Annual Meeting
The 2020-21 budget is $66.2 million, a 7.15% increase over last year’s budget.
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 enrollment grows by 35 students
District enrollment grew by 35 students from last year going from 4,886 to 4,921 students, according the official third Friday in September count. The high school, Templeton, Silver Spring and Marcy saw increases of 33, 30, 12 and 4, respectively. Schools whose enrollment dropped were Maple Avenue, Woodside, Willow Springs and Lannon with losses of 20, 19, 3 and 2, respectively.
Dual Enrollment Academy gives students jumpstart on future
For the seventh year, Hamilton High School seniors will continue 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 and firefighter, building trades construction and welding. Upon completion, students earn a WCTC diploma along with high school credits.
A total of 17 Hamilton students completed the program last May — six in building trades, four in IT, three in tool and die, two in welding and one each in robotics and firefighter. Another four 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) that will allow them to take classes next semester at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Waukesha. 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. Eight students requested admission to Youth Options last year.
ECCP is mandated by the state and allows students who have completed grade 10, 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 11 applicants
Another program, Start College Now, allows juniors and seniors with good academic standing and no disciplinary problems to take courses at Waukesha County Technical College. Eleven 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.
Administrators present reports
District and school administrators presented a variety of reports including:
- Strategic and tactical plan update by Human Resources & Organizational Development Director John Roubik;
- Educational Services priorities by Roubik, Instructional Services Supervisor Cathy Drago and Special Services Supervisor John Peterson;
- Building updates for grades 7-12 by Hamilton High School Principal Rebecca Newcomer and Templeton Middle School Principal Brad Hoffmann; and
- Summer facilities work completion by Buildings & Grounds Manager Jeffrey Grove.
School Board takes personnel action
In personnel business, the School Board:
- accepted the resignation of district Data and Assessment Specialist Kristi Feucht, effective Nov. 5, and Maple Avenue Special Education Teacher Heather Leffler, effective Nov. 6;
- appointed Brittany Ellis as Marcy associate kitchen employee, Lori Block as Silver Spring custodian and Brecken Ashenbrenner as Maple Avenue special education replacement teacher; and
- approved a new position for an Information Technology Services administrative assistant.