May 16, 2011

2011-12 district budget drops by more than $2 million

The Hamilton School Board approved the 2011-12 budget that is 4.03 percent lower than the current year. The budget includes a 9.92 percent loss of state aid which is offset by $1.5 million in employee contributions to retirement and $1.7 million in reductions throughout the district. The district developed its budget in alignment with state-imposed revenue caps which reduced spending by $590 per pupil.

Most of the reductions were accomplished through restructuring of positions, attrition of retiring employees, reallocation of staff due to enrollment fluctuations and greater efficiencies. The district was able to reduce the equivalent of 6.5 full-time employees at a total cost-savings of more than $635,000. In addition, nearly $1.1 million will be shaved from the budget by reducing expenses for:

  • payroll – $450,000;
  • healthcare, prescription drug, dental – $241,376;
  • repair-capital items – $200,000;
  • extra pay, substitutes, overtime – $90,000;
  • middle and high school building budgets – $50,000.
  • technology – $30,000; and
  • parent transportation contracts – $30,000.

School Board members approved the budget which will be presented Aug. 15 at the district’s Annual Meeting. Voters will be asked to approve a $30 million levy to support a $48.16 million budget. Last year’s levy was $30.36 million and the overall budget was $50.19 million. State aid is projected to fall from $18.97 million in 2010-11 to $17.09 million in 2011-12.

District residents can expect a $10.17 mill rate when their tax bills arrive next December compared to last year’s rate of $10.18. Property values in the district are projected to drop one percent. The budget includes expenses associated with educating an additional 25 students over last year’s enrollment.

The Annual Meeting typically is held in June, but the uncertainty at the state level prevented school officials from presenting solid budget projections sooner. Residents can learn more about the Hamilton School District budget Aug. 15 beginning at 6:15 p.m. with the Budget Hearing in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220 N6151 Town Line  Road, Sussex. The Annual Meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. Residents vote on the tax levy at the Annual Meeting.

More than 20 employees retire

More than 20 Hamilton School District employees whose combined service to Wisconsin public education equals 600-plus years will retire this year. Hamilton School Board members honored each with a commendation, comments  from supervisors and colleagues, and a retirement gift. 

Those attending the recognition were: Hamilton special education teacher Susan Blackford, Lannon fourth grade teacher Nancy Collopy, Hamilton fitness-health teacher Christine Dolphin, Hamilton guidance counselor Bill Drogemuller, elementary school head cook Sandy Dziubek, Hamilton Spanish teacher Ann Ferguson, Marcy fourth grade teacher Barb Gogan, Hamilton fitness-health teacher Thomas Konkol, Templeton seventh grade communication arts teacher Diane Krause, Hamilton technical education teacher James Lawinger, Hamilton guidance counselor Patricia Mitchell, Hamilton custodian Michael Oswald, Woodside fitness and district driver education teacher Jackie Rottler, Templeton special education teacher Alexa Smith and Woodside fourth grade teacher Kathy Theis.

 Those unable to attend were Woodside special education teacher Anne Gavigan, Templeton special education teacher James Lesperance, Marcy art teacher Suzan Markham, Lannon cleaner Janet Muehlbauer, Hamilton special education teacher Mary Ripple and Hamilton German teacher Robin Tessereau.                                                                              

Board recognizes officers who reorganized HEF

The district’s Community Service Award was presented to Hamilton Education Foundation officers Ann Ubert, Peggy Youngblood, George Semrad, Darlene Barbian and Tammy Ristow who provided leadership for the organization following the retirement of the former executive director.

Hamilton junior paid tribute as student rep

Hamilton junior Lydia Salus was recognized for her service to the School Board as the student representative during the 2010-11 school year.

Staff plan calls for four fewer FTEs

The district expects to reduce four full-time equivalency positions (FTE) next year despite projecting a 25-student enrollment increase. The reductions will come from:

  • elementary schools – one FTE due to an elementary section reduction from an enrollment shift and one-half of a FTE due to an elementary special schedule adjustment;
  • middle school – one FTE because of special services enrollment shift and one-half from reduction of transition counselor; and
  • high school – one-half FTE from reduction of transition counselor and one-half FTE because of enrollment shift including increases in science and communication arts and decreases in applied engineering, math, art and fitness education.

 School Board approves raising some fees

Families will see an increase in middle and high school fees to keep pace with costs of providing services. The maximum athletic fee will go from $60 to $80 at Templeton Middle School and from $90 to $120 at Hamilton High School. The Family Athletic-Activity pass will increase from $45 to $60. In addition, the cost to provide a school transcript for current students increased from $2.55 to $5

 School Board members noted that even with the increased prices on some items, district fees are below average compared to area school districts. Also, the fee increases affected activities that are considered discretionary, and basic school fees remained unchanged.

 Extended learning opportunities reviewed

Hamilton High School Associate Principal Pete Ferge presented an Extended Learning Opportunity program report that provided information about work-based learning opportunities. In addition to a detailed written report, Ferge highlighted three areas of greater district participation.

  • The Healthcare Career Academy provides an opportunity for up to eight students entering their junior or senior year to spend three weeks during the summer in 12 different departments.
  • The Manufacturing Career Expo is an opportunity for students in Applied Engineering and Technology classes to visit with local manufacturers to learn about the industry and job opportunities. It is sponsored by three area chambers of commerce.
  • Reality Check offered a financial planning simulation for Business Education students.

 Maple Avenue site plan updated

Despite dealing with a higher mobility rate among families, Maple Avenue Elementary School students are seeing success, especially at the higher grades.

 Principal Kristin Koeper-Hamblin noted that the school’s emphasis on providing interventions to students who come to Maple Avenue often with needs for academic support seems to be paying off. The school’s Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam scores were at the top of the county in several subject areas in fourth and fifth grades.

 “We have seen high scores at (higher grade levels) which show that interventions at the early levels are effective.” Koeper-Hamblin said.

Tactics of the Maple Avenue Site state:

  • Students will develop their communication skills to effectively and purposefully interact with others.
  • Students will be engaged in meaningful and active learning to support maximum achievement for each child.
  • Teachers will implement quality assessment practices and assist students in monitoring their own progress to ensure continuous learning.