Board gives budget OK before Annual Meeting
The Hamilton School Board gave its approval for the 2015-16 budget that will be presented to voters at the Annual Meeting, normally held in June, but postponed until Aug. 17 this year because of uncertainty of the state budget.
Including $3 million toward construction of a high school classroom addition, the district budget is $56.1 million, up by 1.98 percent over last year. The increase covers costs associated with an anticipated 25-student enrollment increase. Property value in the district is projected to increase by 2 percent, and the mil rate is expected to drop from $9.76 to $9.56 per $1,000 of property – a 2.12 percent decrease.
Students recognized for National Merit accomplishments
Four Hamilton seniors were recognized for their high achievement in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Hamilton High School seniors Brandon Fedie, Adam Klager and Sean Thompson were named finalists in the overall program placing them among the highest-scoring students in the country.
Remi Lassiter was one of 1,300 Black American high school seniors named finalist in the National Achievement Scholarship Program.
Board officers elected
School Board members kept Gabe Kolesari as their president, James Long as vice president, Dawn Van Aacken as clerk and Michael Hyland as treasurer
School career opportunities highlighted
Hamilton High School Associate Principal and Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator Pete Ferge presented two items to the School Board. 2015-16 participation in the Waukesha County School-to-Work consortium was approved. The School-to-Work Consortium provides grant funding that supports co-op, youth apprenticeship, work experience programs and K-12 career-related initiatives.
The district’s Extended Learning Opportunities annual report – highlighting the district’s co-op work experiences, school-to-work partnerships, transcripted credit agreements with Waukesha County Technical College and other opportunities that prepare student for the work world – was accepted. Ferge pointed to connections with local businesses that provide work experience for students and described the GPS Partners for Education as a successful alternative educational setting for students preparing for a manufacturing or machining career.
Summer workshops for teachers approved
Summer workshops for teachers were authorized. The action allows teachers to participate in curriculum and professional development workshops focused on district initiatives. Curriculum projects include elementary writing resources, personalized learning, middle school intervention delivery structure and advisement, information and technology literacy review, and implementation planning for advanced algebra, social studies, AP environmental science and world languages. Professional development activities include special and regulation education co-teaching, social studies resources, RtI, writing resources, critical literacy, new teacher orientation and closing the achievement gap.
RtI initiatives reviewed
Pupil Services Supervisor John Peterson and Instructional Services Supervisor Katherine Little, Ph.D., updated School Board members on the work of the committees addressing Response to Intervention (RtI) initiatives. One focuses on literacy and the other on numeracy and mathematics. RtI provides a process to integrate data-based decision making, evidence-based intervention, student progress monitoring and professional development. It has been operational in the district for two years.
In personnel business, the School Board:
- accepted the resignation of Marcy special services paraprofessional Kimberly Gray, effective June 10; and
- appointed Murrene Payton, Daniel Tackes and Steve Akin as assistant summer school coordinators, effective May 19, and Michelle Wolff as a Hamilton clerical and student supervision paraprofessional, effective April 28;
- approved the retirement request of district elementary band teacher Karen Moniza, effective at the end of the school year;
- modified the contract of Hamilton communication arts teacher Diana Paquette from 100 to 50 percent; and
- approved extending the employee assistance program contract with National Insurances Services, a benefit for employees provided free of charge by the district’s long-term disability carrier.
In other personnel business the board, approved sending final nonrenewal notices to 25 teachers for the 2015-16 school year. About half of the staff members were on the nonrenewal list as part of a normal process completed each year for limited-term replacement contracts or due to staffing needs based on student course selection. The others were affected because of the governor’s proposed budget cuts to K-12 education. While all the positions may not be cut, state statute requires that certified staff members be notified in April and again in May if they potentially will not be offered a contract for the next school year. Some Legislators have indicated they would like restore funding for K-12 schools, the district will not know that until the state budget is set in June.