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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Wendt Again Coleman School Board President

All incumbent officers of Coleman School Board were unanimously returned to office at the annual reorganization meeting on Monday, May 19. They are President Ryan Wendt, Vice President Jamie Graetz Clerk Joanne Nowak, and Treasurer Brad Korpi.

The name of Elementary Principal Kelly Casper was not on the list of district resignations and retirements, but Superintendent Brian Walters confirmed after the meeting that Casper had informed him unofficially that she has accepted a position as superintendent of Suring School District, effective July 1.

The Suring School Board at its meeting on Wednesday, May 14 announced that Casper will replace Superintendent Robert Ray, who is retiring at the end of the current school year. Prior to being named Elementary Principal, Casper had been Middle School/High School principal at Coleman.

Casper did not attend the board meeting. In a note to the board, she explained she had attended the dedication of the ball field in honor of her father-in-law, Ken Casper, earlier in the evening and then took her son to a conference track meet.

Walters proudly announced that the revamped summer school program last year doubled the number of students who participated, and this year enrollment has gone up 50 percent over last year. “We see a very positive effect on students,” Walters said. “Their learning continues. They don’t forget over summer what they learned during the school year.” And increased student enrollment adds to district income.

Barbara Krause-Klug, the newest board member, was selected to represent the district at the CESA-8 annual conference on Thursday, May 22, and Graetz was again chosen to represent the district on the CESA-8 Board of Control.

Wendt noted the board previously had discussed eliminating the committee system and handling all business through longer board meetings, but Walters felt that one board meeting a month then would not be enough. There were remarks that they already often have special board meetings. After some discussion, the board decided to cut the number of committees from seven to four. Activities will be handled by the board as a whole.

Committee assignments are:

Personnel: Scott Herzog, Graetz and Krause-Klug;

Finance and Auxiliary Services (finance, insurance, bus and food service, etc.): Krause-Klug, Jeremy Hoida and Nowak;

Buildings and Grounds: Hoida, Korpi and Graetz;

Policy and Curriculum: Wendt, Herzog and Korpi.

The board felt combining transportation with other ancillary services should be no problem. Herzog commented contractor Gary Kamps, “Has been very fair with us. He gives us the numbers, and they are real numbers...We either agree with the contract offer or buy our own busses.”

Near the start of the meeting Walters announced the health insurance premium went up only two percent, which he declared “extremely reasonable.” He said he has received only positive comments about the service provided, and no complaints. He recommended staying with the current carrier.

He presented preliminary budget numbers for the 2014-2015 school year, and said it will be a balanced budget, with the new sound system and other planned expenditures provided for.

This year, Walters said there had been a $60,000 budget deficit projected, but preliminary figures show it will be far less - probably $20,000, on a $7,525,000 budget.

A bit later, Wendt asked where the projected $60,000 deficit came from for this year. He understood they had adopted a balanced budget.

Walters said perhaps early in budget discussions they had thought it might be balanced but not after more of the actual numbers were known.

Walters said the projected increase in property tax revenue does not necessarily mean an increase in the tax rate, which depends on overall assessed values, including how much new construction took place. He felt a $20,000 deficit on a $7.5 million budget “is minimal,” a very very small percent.

“If I’m two percent short of having enough money to pay for my purchases at the supermarket, I don’t get to walk out with my groceries,” Nowak commented.

Wendt objected that the projected budget calls for a $26,000 increase in property taxes, on top of the $20,000 projected deficit this year, “and yet we’re being asked to approve a 30 cent per hour pay increase for support staff, which is above the consumer price index. “Where is the extra money coming from?” he asked.

Walters said they saved $70,000 by not replacing one elementary teacher, and eliminating another position will save $32,000.

“It’s nice to play Santa Claus, but can we afford it?” Wendt asked, in regard to the raise.

Walters said the difference between the CPI and the proposed 2.5 percent raise for support staff is about $7,000 total.

“If we keep going up, even in small amounts, it adds up,” Graetz remarked.

Krause-Klug commented that the administrative portion of the budget is almost as large as the entire elementary budget.

Walters explained the administrative budget includes about $400,000 for buildings and grounds, $400,000 for transportation and the money for technology, as well as administration expenses.

Krause-Klug asked for a more detailed breakdown of planned expenditures and Walters said he will do that.

To another question, Walters said any variance in state aid will not affect the district’s overall revenues. “But it does affect the tax rate,” Krause-Klug commented.

Herzog wondered what the total cost will be for the new teaching staff compensation model that is being developed, and Krause-Klug suggested they might wait to approve the support staff raise until closer to budget time.

Wendt commented the $7,262,000 budget was only presented that evening for discussion, “but it does have impact on the decisions we’re asked to make.”

Later in the meeting the board did approve the 30 cent per hour raise for support staff, which equates to 2.5 percent. There has been no pay increase recommended yet for teaching staff, and a report on the teacher’s compensation model that was on the evening’s agenda had been removed before the meeting began.

A bit later in the meeting the board did approve the support staff raise. Committee Chair Hoida explained the committee recommended that amount, which represents a total difference of $4,200 from a raise equal to the increase in the consumer price index.

A student request to take a 3-credit NWTC Nursing Assistant Class through the Student Options program was approved without dissent. Nowak inquired about the cost. Walters said he did not have it on hand but would get it for her.

The board approved the retirement of Irene Demmith, effective immediately, and the resignation of custodian Chad Mursau effective Wednesday, June 4.

At a special meeting on Monday, May 12, the board had agreed to issue a final notice of non-renewal of a teaching contract to Tammy Dantoin because of a staff reduction.

Hirings approved at the May 19 meeting included Courtnee Pultz, to teach elementary school special education at a salary of $33,740. She graduated from Niagara High School and has some prior teaching experience.

Jodi Graetz was approved as a part time para professional for the reading center at $12.65 per hour, to work about 5.5 hours per day, which generates no benefits. Jamie Graetz abstained from voting, and the remainder of the board voted aye.

The board also approved Walters’ recommendation to officially hire Spanish teacher Kirstina Lemke at a starting salary of $40,411. Lemke has been “doing a fantastic job” as a sub teacher this year at Coleman, and has now completed all her licensing requirements, Walters said. She replaced an experienced Spanish teacher from another district who was hired by Coleman at $57,000 for the year and resigned before the school year started last fall.

For the “District Spotlight” presentation at the start of the meeting, Walters complimented the work of new ag teacher Cindi Wautier. He said she has taken over the greenhouses in a very effective way, and is getting things taken care of at the Environmental Center. There would be an FFA plant and flower sale on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Walters said.

Casper’s elementary school report mentioned that students had participated in a dental sealant program through Marinette County’s “Seal-A-Smile” program.

Darla Brink was to be in the school on Wednesday, May 21 to meet with grade level teachers during their planning time to finish the reading audit.

High school chemistry and physics students are to do their annual Chem Show for elementary students on the morning of Friday, May 23.

She reported various elementary class field trip destinations include the Children’s Museum, Lake Lundgren, Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya, Heritage Hill and the Fire Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary at Peshtigo.

The final Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) incentive program is scheduled for outdoor activities on Friday, May 23.

Principal Doug Polomis reported a full slate of events for high school and middle school students.

He thanked Mrs. Stillings and the junior class for creating a memorable prom, with the theme of “Swinging Back to the 1920’s”, highlighted with a Model A parked in the high school lobby.

The Student Council’s community blood drive on April 30 was again successful, Polomis reported. For their efforts throughout the year the district was awarded $1,500 in scholarships to be distributed to deserving graduates.

Middle and High School band received a first from all three judges at the M&O Conference contest, and several band student receive first and second place awards at the state solo ensemble competition at UWGB on May 3.

Mr. Tate presented information about the Youth Apprenticeship Program to members of the Cougar Country Business Association on Monday, May 12. The school is making more of an effort to collaborate with the organization to provide opportunities for students.

The High School PBIS program is scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday, May 21, with the Fine Arts Night and spaghetti dinner to be held from 4 to 7 p.m. that evening.

All school recognition is slated for 2:20 p.m. Friday, May 23 in the high school gym, and there is to be a Memorial Day Celebration there at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, May 26.

Final exams will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 27 and 28.

Scholarship Night is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, with graduation at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 31.

Middle School students will go to Mount Olympus on Monday, June 2, and physics students on that day will be at Great America.

All students will be released for the year at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, June 4.


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