September 18, 2006

Committee recommends no new building
An advisory committee charged with studying community growth and enrollment projections recommended that the School Board hold off from holding a referendum for new buildings or additions.

School Board members accepted the final report from the 25-member Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) which had issued a preliminary report in February. In the initial report, the committee concluded that additional classroom space was not needed for the next four years, but identified a need for an athletic facility at the high school. At that time, the committee urged the School Board to conduct a telephone survey to seek community sentiment regarding the construction of a $14.8 million four-station gym with an indoor track and fitness center.

The School Board authorized the survey, which was conducted in June.

FAC member Eric Olsen presented the board with the final committee report which included results of the survey. Key findings regarding the proposed athletic center and its operational costs included:

  • 34 percent were likely to support it;
  • 46 percent were unlikely to support it; and
  • 20 percent were unsure of their support.

Olsen noted that even though community members did not favor building a new athletic center, 75 percent of those responding indicated that the quality of athletic programs and facilities are important to the community’s reputation.
The committee recommended that the School Board:

  • respect the sentiments of the community and not hold a referendum for athletic space at this time;
  • track enrollment trends and reconvene the FAC to address classroom space issues when appropriate;
  • monitor the status of the state budget and its impact on schools and community support for athletic space; and
  • ensure existing athletic space is maintained..

An advisory committee studied the possibility several years ago of an addition and renovation plan that would transform the current high school gymnasium into a new library. That idea was not acted on, and the district updated the library this summer. With a commitment to keep the high school gymnasium in use for athletic space, the committee encouraged the district to look at ways to update the gym using existing maintenance funds. Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D, said the district will develop plans to maintain and update the gymnasium.

Summer Opportunities has successful year
With the largest student enrollment on the books, the 2006 Summer Opportunities program was a hit for students, parents and staff, according to a report from Summer Opportunities Coordinator Dick Ladd.

Enrollment in the program hit 1,730, an increase of 95 students compared to 2005 numbers. A total of 249 sections were scheduled, up 19 sections from the previous year. A breakdown reveals that:

  • 1,543 were student in grades 4K through eight;
  • 187 were high school students;
  • 42 nonresident students;
  • 7 Chapter 220 students; and
  • 11 were Open Enrollment students..

Ladd said staff looked closely at impact the invitational program had on students who needed an extra boost during the summer. Even though the program lasts only 20 days, he said there were significant gains for students who participated in Early Reading Empowerment and Everyday Mathematics classes.

In all, 152 staff members worked in the program including 76 district teachers – both regular and substitute – 30 teachers from outside the district, 24 paraprofessionals, one secretary, 18 student teaching assistants, one coordinator and three assistant coordinators.

Ladd reported that 99 percent of respondents said their children had a good experience in the program and they would recommend it to other families.

State wants district land for roundabout
Residents will have an opportunity to vote Nov. 20 at a Special Annual Meeting on whether the district should sell land to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) for a proposed roundabout on Highway 74. The state wants to acquire two small strips of land around the curve in front of Willow Springs Learning Center, W220 N6660 Town Line Road, Menomonee Falls, for a total cost of $55,700.

Cooke explained to School Board members that regardless of the meeting’s outcome, DOT is able to acquire the land because it has the ability to condemn for road improvement. She said district voters will not decide whether a roundabout should be built. The only decisions the district can negotiate is purchase price and location of Willow Springs’ highway entrances.

“Even if the School Board voted no, the state could take the property through condemnation,” Cooke said.

The Special Annual Meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the high school. The parcels include a .335-acre strip at a proposed cost of $52,800 and a .065-acre strip at $2,900.

Long-time summer school staff recognized
Before the Summer Opportunities report, three long-time Summer Opportunities employees were recognized for their years of service and dedication to the program. Coordinator Dick Ladd and assistants Marlene Helinski and Phyllis Akins were presented with plaques for their personal attention to the needs of individual students and operation of a smooth-running program.

Personnel issues decided at regular meeting
In personnel business, the School Board:

  • appointed Nicole Winkelmann as a Maple Avenue Special Services paraprofessional, Amanda Rector as a Marcy Special Services paraprofessional, Kathleen Mesick as the district half-time Special Service program support, and Amy Helgeson as a Templeton Special Services paraprofessional; and
  • modified the contract for Lannon and Woodside art teacher Melania Bauer from 50 to 60 percent, and speech and language specialist Laura Kasper from 60 to 80 percent.