May 19, 2008

Board approves $47.13 million budget
The Hamilton School Board approved a $47.13 million budget that is up 4.36 percent over the current budget. The 2008-09 school year budget projects that the district’s student enrollment will increase by 26 students. The local levy – the portion of the budget funded through local property taxes – is expected to be $25.87 million. The mill rate is expected to be $8.53 per $1,000 of property value, which is 2 cents higher than the current rate. For each $100,000 of property value residents own, they will pay $853 in property taxes for school purposes.

The budget was built using conservative assumptions that there will be no additional state aid and the property growth rate will increase 5 percent. If state aid or property values within the district actually increase beyond those estimates, the mill rate will drop below $8.53.

Among the expenses are additional teaching positions for elementary classrooms, high school mathematics, Project Lead the Way, high school band, early childhood education, speech, guidance and Early Mathematics Empowerment. In addition, the School Board budgeted for contingency positions to cover potential needs.

The 2008-09 budget will be presented at the district’s Annual Hearing June 17 beginning at 6:15 p.m. in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center. Residents will have the opportunity to vote on the local levy at the Annual Meeting, which begins at the conclusion of the Annual Hearing.

Two high school projects OK’d
The School Board approved two additional high school projects as part of the district’s capital improvement plan. Acoustic band shells will be added to the Hamilton Fine Arts Center stage at a cost of $51,250. The Hamilton Education Foundation and other community groups have agreed to help fund the project. In addition, the women’s restroom near the high school library will be remodeled during the summer at a cost of $42,000.

Retirees recognized
Ten employees, with combined service of nearly 200 years to Hamilton School District students and community, will retiree at the end of the 2007-08 school year. Those attending the School Board’s retirement recognition were presented with a clock, citation from the state Legislature and a certificate from the Department of Public Instruction. Supervisors and colleagues provided comments that Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., read about the retirees’ outstanding contributions to the district and the field of education. This year’s retirees include:

  • Lannon: Jane Rintelman – library-media specialist;
  • Maple Avenue: Judy Heft – paraprofessional, and Trudy Sensat – library-media specialist;
  • Marcy: Donald Behrens, Ph.D. – principal, and Pamela Thompson – paraprofessional;
  • Woodside: Linda Jorgensen – principal, and Deb Van Driel – administrative assistant;
  • Templeton: Bart Fojtik – instrumental music teacher;
  • Hamilton High School: Jim Penn – communication arts teacher; and
  • District: Dean Schultz – educational services and human resources assistant superintendent.

Community member, students recognized
In addition to recognition of retirees, the School Board presented its annual Community Service Award to parent and community leader Penny Kundert. Cooke said that Kundert was deserving of the district’s highest award because she is a “truly extraordinary person” who has forever changed the vision of those around her.

The board also recognized student Amber Turriff for being student board representatives in 2007-08. The other student representative who was not able to attend the meeting was Danielle Barbian.

Personnel business
In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the retirement request of Marcy paraprofessional Pamela Thompson;
  • approved the resignations of Templeton teacher Robert Blessington and Hamilton paraprofessional Patricia Chapman;
  • appointed Kathryn Tollefson as a Hamilton instrumental music teacher, Leah Zelazny as a part-time Hamilton instrumental music teacher, Thomas Dorgan as a Hamilton social studies teacher and Steven Wunschel as a Hamilton mathematics teacher; and
  • modified the contracts of Willow Springs early childhood teacher Jamie Leton from half- to full-time, Marcy guidance counselor Lori Schlapman from 40 to 70 percent, Marcy EME teacher Charlotte Coe from 40 to 70 percent and Marcy and Hamilton speech-language specialist Jennifer Knapp from 60 to 70 percent.