June 4, 2013

Board gives budget OK before Annual Meeting

The Hamilton School Board gave its approval to the 2013-14 budget that will be presented to voters at the July 15 Annual Meeting. The budget is $49.7 million, which is a 1.23 percent increase over the current budget. The tax rate is expected to be $10.42 per $1,000 of equalized property value. This is an increase of 2 cents per $1,000 of value. The district expects to receive $20,458,323 in state aid which is $5,817 less than last year, however the state has not determined that amount.

At a previous meeting, the School Board rescheduled the Annual Meeting from June 17 to July 15 because the state had not finalized its budget. The most current information available will be provided to the public before the Annual Meeting.

Board learns about move to parent e-newsletters

Public information coordinator Denise Dorn Lindberg described the district’s move to parent e-newsletters at each of the schools.

She explained the impetus for the change from paper-based newsletters came from results of a community survey in which 62 percent of parents indicated that e-mail was a preferred way to get information about school matters. All seven schools have launched their e-newsletter, with positive response from parents and staff.

Advantages of using e-newsletters include ability to track readership, quick dissemination of information and savings by reducing paper usage.

Psychologist, support positions added

Special Services will hire three school psychologists and two part-time program support staff using federal grants. The department has maintained the same level of staffing for 11 years despite increasing special education student enrollment from 324 to 534, according to a memo from Special Services Supervisor Mardi Freeman. The enrollment growth resulted in an increase of case management duties, evaluation, IEP reviews and parent-staff consultations. With two full-time school psychologists, Hamilton’s staff is significantly below similar-sized school districts that employ five or six psychologists, Freeman noted. Similarly, Hamilton employs one part-time program support teacher while similar-sized districts employ two or three full-time teachers.

Many recognized for excellence

Hamilton School Board members recognized many students and a staff member at the June 4 meeting including:

  • Seniors & Students Program volunteers Louis and Shirley Turner who assisted Hamilton teacher Deb Figueroa for nearly 15 year in the writing center;
  • Hamilton Strategic Plan team members who were honored for their contributions to the 2008-13 plan;
  • Templeton Middle School applied teachnology and Engineering teacher Shannon Flaherty for being receiving one of only 29 Program of Excellence awards from the International Technology & Engineering Educator Association;
  • Woodside Elementary School girls’ chess team members for taking first place at the All Girls State Championship. Soumaya and Sugaya Drover were able to attend the meeting and receive certificates from the School Board for their accomplishment; and
  • Hamilton Charger Robotics team which earned the FIRST regional Chairman’s Award for the third time.

Board approves array of documents

The School Board approved several documents including the Special Education Procedures Handbook, Emergency Nursing Services Policies and Procedures and Bloodborne Pathogens Procedures.

Other business

In other business, the School Board

  • authorized contracting with Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #1 totaling $210,623 to provide special education and educational support in 2013-14 ; and
  • gave Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., authorization to participate in CESA consortium grants in 2013-14

Personnel business

The School Board approved a 2.5 percent base compensation increase retroactive to the beginning of the 2012-13 school year for members of the AFSCME paraprofessionals local. In addition, the non-base supplemental compensation for paraprofessionals for 2012-13 will increase over 2011-12 supplementary salaries by $500 at levels 1, 2 and 3, $150 at level 4 and $100 at level 5.

The board approved providing a one-time supplemental salary adjustment of $5,000 for teachers who begin and complete a district-approved master’s degree program between June 1, 2013 and Aug. 31, 2016.

In other personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Templeton sixth grade teacher Steven Newcomer and Maple Avenue paraprofessional Kayla Vits, effective at the end of the 2012-13 school year;
  • appointed David LaPerriere as a district maintenance staff member, Lindsey Klein as a Hamilton German teacher, Jessica Coon as a part-time Public Information Office administrative assistant, and Ryan Witt as Hamilton mathematics teacher;
  • approved the retirement request of Maple Avenue assistant cook Kathleen Shimek Hahn, effective June 7.