May 7, 2002

Community Facilities Advisory Committee recommends referendum

The community Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) recommended that the Hamilton School Board consider a November referendum for a Marcy Elementary School addition and renovation project, Hamilton High School fine arts performance and classroom addition, and associated operational costs. The committee, represented by parent Bob Fourness, gave its final report to the School Board after presenting an interim report in January that asked the district to gather data about community support for specific projects.

The committee’s recommendations corresponded with results from a community survey in which residents expressed support for the Marcy project, high school auditorium and operational costs.

The committee recommended that two other projects that did not enjoy community support — construction of a new middle school and the addition of a high school field house — be studied in the future. It suggested reconvening FAC in the fall of 2003 to review the need for both projects.

“There were a number of issues that needed to be addressed and they were all good (projects),” Fourness said. “It was just a matter of deciding which were the priorities and which ones would the community support.”

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke said the matter of a new school to address increasing enrollments and a field house addition will be revisited.

Beginning in November, FAC members studied community growth data, analyzed school funding issues and toured each school before reaching its recommendations.

The School Board directed administrators to develop the scope of the work to be done and provide detailed cost analysis for the Marcy and high school projects by the May 20 meeting. A final decision on the fate of a referendum likely will be decided at the May 20 or June 4 School Board meeting.

Federal changes affect local testing

Changes at the federal level will mean that Wisconsin students will take a new test and results from previous years can not be compared with the new one. Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., reported that the the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) signed into law in January will have an impact on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations (WKCE) in grade 4, 8 and 10.

The law will bring changes regarding assessment and accountability throughout the nation. To comply with the new federal law, Wisconsin is making the following changes in its student assessment system.

  • The WKCE test will be moved from spring to fall. It is anticipated the test will be administered between November 4 and 22, 2002.
  • Test questions will be added to assess areas not previously tested, and the tests will be longer and take more time.
  • Assessing students four months earlier will require a different test to be administered.
  • School districts will not be able to compare results from previous years because the tests are different. The November, 2002 data will become new baseline data against which districts measure progress into the future.

School Board member Deborah Briggs, expressed frustration with the system that does not allow the district to keep data on student performance over time. “The public needs to know that (the tests) are going to be brand new again,” she said.

Templeton students recognized

A Templeton Middle School team that placed first March 12 at the Junior College Bowl at Carroll College was recognized. The team included Alison Crane, Elizabeth Doucette, Stephanie Lundquist and Astrid Stuth. Each was presented with a framed certificate for outstanding perforrmance.

Personnel matters approved

In personnel matters, the School Board

  • approved the resignations of Hamilton communication arts teacher William Serb and Willow Spring kindergarten teacher Aimee Lange;
  • appointed Kathryn Parkhurst-Schulz as a Willow Spring kindergarten teacher, Jodi Engstrom as a Woodside first grade teacher and Ann Gavigan as a Woodside emotional disabilities teacher effective at the start of the 2002-03 school year; and
  • increased Special Services Department administrative assistant Kaye Yahn from a 75 to 100 percent contract effective May 21.