January 21, 2013

5-year computer rotation purchases approved

School Board members approved replacement of 214 desktop computers, 60 monitors and network infrastructure upgrades for a total cost of $209,754. The district annually replaces a portion of its computers so that none is more than five years old.

A total of 64 computers will be replaced in the Templeton Middle School Project Lead The Way labs with the remaining 150 computers dispersed throughout the rest of the district. Information Technology Manager Ryan McMillan noted that this year’s purchase was somewhat less than a typical rotation purchase, but said he is likely to be back with a recommendation for additional technology requests to comply with future state testing initiatives that will require more student access to computers.

The approved purchases will allow for elementary schools’ network server replacement and wireless infrastructure and high school storage upgrades.

School Board members tour completed Woodside project

Members of the district’s Building & Grounds Committee toured Woodside Elementary School’s new additions. The project included a five-classroom addition that replaced a portable unit, a multi-purpose room to meet gym and band needs, and additional restrooms to meet building code.

Students and staff were able to use the multipurpose space already in November, but they took full occupancy of the classroom addition when classes resumed Jan. 2 after winter break. The classroom addition houses second-graders, with fifth-graders who were previously in the portable unit moving into the second-graders’ former home and one first grade classroom. The first grade class moved to join the rest of the first grade classrooms near the office.

The project was estimated to cost about $2 million, but came in under budget. The district did not go to referendum for projects, but instead used its operational budget over two years to cover costs with a portion coming from the district’s fund balance. The portion coming from the fund balance was less than anticipated.

School Board members will tour the completed Marcy addition in February.

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Private school transportation numbers given

Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bryan Ruud gave an update on private school transportation costs to the district. A total of 138 students are transported to St. Dominic’s Catholic School and St. John’s Lutheran School. In addition, more than 284 parent contracts are provided with payments going directly to parents who transport their children to private schools in a radius area outside the district. The cost to the district is about $250,000 to provide bus transportation and direct payments to parents.

Middle school course catalog uses new format

The School Board approved the middle school course catalog that had no changes to content, but provided a new format. Templeton Principal Patty Polczynski said the format change provided more specifics about the courses and emphasized disciplinary literacy and 21st century initiatives.

District has success in collecting unpaid school fees

The Hamilton School District continues to have success in collecting unpaid student fees. The total amount owed by the class of 2012 was $253.25 – significantly less than some years when total uncollected student fees reached as high as $1,891. Significantly, only one student from the class of 2012 had unpaid fees.

After implementing new strategies to collect outstanding student debt in 2005, students are less likely to have unpaid fees. Students are reminded about their unpaid debt twice each year and asked to pay it off. In addition, a policy went into effect in 2009-10 that requires clearance of all unpaid fees and fines before a parking permit is issued. Business Services Assistant Superintendent Bryan Ruud credited high school administration for doing a good job following up with students.

Summer Opportunities planning underway

Lannon Principal and Summer Opportunities Coordinator Dick Ladd reported on plans for the upcoming summer school. Enrichment courses are set for June 19 – July 17. Templeton Middle School promotional classes will begin June 17 and end July 26. Students will have off July 4 and 5 for the Independence Day holiday.

High school credit recovery classes will have the same structure as last year, with classroom teachers hired to provide face-to-face instruction in key content areas.

IT gets help with added part-time position

More requests for data from state and federal agencies along with the growing need to assist instructional staff has been putting a squeeze on the Information Technology Department. In an effort to alleviate the increasing demands for technology services, School Board members approved adding a half-time administrative assistant position. In a separate action, the School Board appointed Renee Mysliwski to fill that position.

The district is gearing up for Wisconsin Smarter Balanced Assessments which students will take online. In addition, the district will migrate to a new state Student Information System within the next year. Providing more administrative assistance hours will help the district meet these new requirements.

Personnel news

Hamilton School Board members accepted the retirement request of Marcy reading specialist Susan Haertel effective June 12.