February 17, 2003

District property insurance jumps dramatically

A 266-percent increase in the district’s building and property insurance premium prompted the Hamilton School Board to find a new way to finance its exposure to risk. The school district purchases its property insurance through the Wisconsin’s Local Governmental Property Insurance Fund, available for tax-supported property such as government buildings, school and libraries.

The 2003 premium is projected to be $85,547 — an increase of $53,351 over last year. Increasing its deductible to $25,000 with a maximum of two incidents would lower the premium cost to $43,629. The School Board approved budgetting $93,629 for the premium and setting aside the full out-of-pocket expenses for two incidents. The district will have the opportunity to recoup as much as $50,000 if no incidents occur.

School Board Member and chairman of the Buildings & Grounds and Finance committees, Jim Long, said the steep premium increase is a result of insurance companies having greater risk exposure and a loss in financial investments.

School Board Member Gabe Kolesari noted that many insurers took a hit because of Sept. 11 and its impact is being felt.

Business Services Director Bryan Ruud noted that he researched other insurance carriers and was not able to reduce the district premium with another firm. He said the government insurance pool has been beneficial for school districts and other tax-supported entities.

eSchool status presented

Instructional Technology and Assement Coordinator Katherine Little presented a written status report on eSchool, the district’s student database management system. Little’s report included:

  • A network slowdown when multiple users tried to print elementary report cards proved frustrating for teachers in November, but was resolved in January when administrative assistants printed the cards from their local drives;
  • State reports have been set up and will be generated directly from eSchool;
  • Students’ Academic Progress Profiles reside in eSchool allowing staff to view student historical data over time; and
  • Demographic and academic data will be exported to help identify students in need of specific support programs.

Woodside site plan approved

Woodside Elementary School’s site plan was accepted. Principal Linda Jorgensen reported on the progress of the plan’s three tactics that were developed in 1999 and recommended that they be phased out because they are considered operational. She presented three new tactics that met with School Board approval and compliments. The new tactics identify that Woodside will:

  • emphasize ownership and shared responsiblity among students and staff to enhance respect within the school community;

    Potential action plan ideas, according to Jorgensen, could include adult role modeling, enhancing playground and classroom expectations, accepting those who are new and different, training in responsive classroom topics, emphasizing collaboration and shifting from extrinsic to instrinsic motivation.

  • increase the problem-solving abilities of students to strengthen critical thinking skills across the curriculum;

    Ideas include seeking appropriate staff development, targetting math and math journaling, and focusing on writing skills for constructed response.

  • help students communicate effectively with an emphasis on writing skills and strategies applied to a variety of situations.

    Action planning includes emphasizing vocabulary, using common terms to teach writing, adopting the Six Traits writing program and establishing expectations from grade to grade,
    Jorgensen reported the school will form action teams this spring and will develop specific plans that should take three to five years to fully implement.

Students approved for early graduation

Six juniors will be able to graduate after the first semester of their senior year in accordance with district policy. The students who were approved for early graduation are Clanci Bonkoski, Jessica Coon, Stacey Johnson, Nalee Lor, April Mantanona and Melissa Torweihe.

Long appointed TIF representative

School Board President Gerald Schmitz appointed Long as the district’s representative on the Sussex Tax Incremental District #4 Joint Review Board.

Personnel changes approved
In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Lannon second grade teacher Amy McQuin and Templeton music teacher Michael Sturino effective at the end of the school year; and
  • appointed Patricia Gmeinder as Lannon special services teacher aide.