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October 18, 2021

Hamilton School Board certifies 2021-22 tax levy

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Hamilton School Board members adopted a budget and certified a tax levy Oct. 18 that resulted in the lowest mill rate in the district’s history. The budget totalled $68.70 million which was supported with a $34.07 million tax levy — the portion of revenue generated through local property taxes. Overall, the budget increased 3.83% over last year.

The mill rate will drop 52 cents, from $8.45 to $7.93 per $1,000 of property value. For context, the district experienced mill rates as high as $25.69 in the early 1970s, and for most of its history had double-digit mill rates. Factors that contributed to the district’s low mill rate were a 9.38% increase in property value throughout the district and a 9.96% increase in state aid, from $27.84 million to $30.61 million.

The School Board took action to pay down district debt through a process known as defeasance. The district will pay off $2.4 million of debt from a previous referendum resulting in a more steady mill rate and approximately $850,000 of interest savings over the course of the bonds.

Projects that were funded beyond expenditures include $2.65 million for heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades at Templeton Middle School and Woodside Elementary School, and an outdoor concession stand and restrooms at Hamilton High School.

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.

Superintendent gives update

In his report, Superintendent Paul Mielke, Ph.D., updated the School Board on student accomplishments, enrollment growth and community development. 

  • District Advanced Placement scores remain strong, and the Charger Marching Band and seven athletic teams had outstanding competitive seasons this fall.
  • District enrollment is up 56 students from last year. Enrollment changes by school are Hamilton – +43, Templeton – -48, Silver Spring – -9, Woodside – +11, Marcy – +22, Maple Avenue – +15, Lannon – +22 and Willow Springs – 0.
  • Initial numbers provided by municipalities show at least 1,411 new household units will be built in the district within the next five years.

Dual Enrollment Academy gives students jumpstart on future

For the eighth 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 Rebecca 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.

Four Hamilton students completed the program last May in early childhood education, building trades, information technology and welding-metal fab. Last year 16 students completed the program, and 10 students are participating this year.

18 students apply for Early College Credit Program

Some 18 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 Rebecca 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 the program 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 8 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. Eight Hamilton students requested admission for Nursing Assistant, EMT or Digital Literacy Healthcare courses. 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.

Templeton, Hamilton site plan reports given

Templeton Middle School Principal Brad Hoffmann and Associate Principal Cody Leland and Hamilton High School Principal Rebecca Newcomer presented site plans on their schools.

Board sets goals for 2021-22 

Following interviews with each School Board member, Superintendent Mielke established goals and success indicators for the 2021-22 school year. The following were approved:

Develop resources and implement strategies and initiatives to enhance student achievement.

Indicators:

  • Develop, implement and monitor strategies for student assessment to facilitate achievement.
  • Develop, implement and monitor strategies for social-emotional needs to facilitate achievement.
  • Implement and monitor strategies to close the achievement gap.
  • Implement and monitor strategies to analyze and apply achievement data.
  • Implement professional development to support achievement.

Implement strategic vision/tactical planning model.

Indicators:

  • Monitor stakeholder expectations.
  • Monitor and analyze student achievement data including strategic plan success indicators and utilize data to enhance planning and evaluation.
  • Conduct site plan updates.
  • Implement action plans.
  • Conduct site visits with administrators on a regular basis.
  • Review duty assignments and workflow to optimize staffing to support students and staff.
  • Provide updates regarding strategic vision/tactical planning to Board, staff and stakeholders.

Ensure a safe and inclusive environment and academic experience for ALL students where we promote belonging and respect.

Indicators:

  • Analyze multiple perspectives and data points to determine current strengths and target areas for improvement.
  • Strengthen and actively involve/include all families through partnerships at both the district and school level to foster a healthy school climate.
  • Review the curriculum to ensure that it is relevant, offers multiple perspectives and is inclusive.
  • Evaluate tier 1, 2, and 3 social-emotional services and develop a continuous improvement plan.
  • Promote respect, responsibility, and gratitude in all schools.

Monitor current and future district building and grounds needs.

Indicators:

  • Reconvene Facilities Advisory Committee to develop recommendations for the Board to address current and future needs.
  • Analyze and evaluate planned subdivision growth within the district.
  • Evaluate current and future space needs at all buildings.
  • Analyze and evaluate current and future district enrollment trends.
  • Review elementary school boundaries.

Implement communications to promote understanding of district initiatives and accomplishments.

Indicators:

  • Implement communication strategies so parents, business community and community at large understands and supports district initiatives.
  • Reassess communication strategies to maximize parent knowledge of district initiatives, processes and procedures.
  • Implement strategies to increase visibility of district strategic plan and current initiatives.
  • Confer with the Waukesha County Health Department regarding COVID-19.
  • Confer with legislators regarding K-12 educational policy issues.

Implement processes and strategies to maximize effectiveness of staff.

Indicators:

  • Develop, implement and monitor strategies to support the social-emotional well-being of staff.
  • Create opportunities for diverse wellness events for staff.
  • Review current staffing structure and make recommendations for changes to maximize effectiveness and efficiencies.
  • Develop, implement and monitor strategies related to Human Resources to support staff.
  • Develop, implement and monitor strategies to create high functioning teacher learning teams (Professional Learning Communities) at all schools.

Update Board policies and position descriptions.

Indicators:

  • Review and update Board policies.
  • Review and update position descriptions.

Personnel matters acted on

In personnel matters, the School Board:

  • approved hiring of two part-time instructional paraprofessionals at Willow Spring Learning Center;
  • accepted the resignations of Templeton supervision Paraprofessional Jennifer Bartelme, Marcy Custodian Katherine Hibbard and Maple Avenue instructional and supervision Paraprofessional Kimberley Seher and Hamilton Associate Kitchen Employee Leah Smith;
  • granted retirement request of Woodside Custodian William Hahn and
  • appointed Leah Smith as a Hamilton clerical and student supervisor and Monica Knaack and Tammy Stewart as Hamilton associate kitchen employees.