KUSD Board approves amended budget, et al.
At tonight’s KUSD regular board meeting, the revised preliminary 2011-2012 budget was unanimously approved with one amendment proposed by Ms. Jo Ann Taube. Due to the inclusion of the $28,184,402, pursuant to the Moral Obligation Agreement dated September 1, 2006, the budget assumptions presented were not balanced and had a deficit of $28,184,402. Ms. Taube made a motion to delete this item from the budget because it deals with the district’s CDO and moral obligation, and it’s currently being litigated. All were in favor of this amendment.
Other voting this evening had to do with the Harborside Community Urban Garden (HCUG) Project. This grant request amounts to $71,997. With funding from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board grant, the focus of HCUG is to provide KUSD students and community-at-large residents access to locally grown fresh produce using sustainable agriculture practices at local markets to be hosted at the different elementary schools involved in the project. HCUG is a student-led urban gardening project started in the spring of 2010 as the focus of the eleventh grade Environmental/ecology science and health curriculum at Harborside Academy, Edward Bain School of Language and Art (EBSOLA), and the Kenosha School of Technology Enhanced Curriculum (KTEC)). This year’s grant provides funding for the expansion of the existing garden program to three additional KUSD elementary schools (Frank Elementary, Wilson Elementary, and Dimensions of Learning Elementary and Middle School).
The Head Start State Supplemental Grant Request for the 2011-12 school year was also unanimously approved by the board. The funding for this grant is $340,725. It is designed to supplement the operating costs of the KUSD Head Start Child Development Program and will service 59 high-risk children that will be three or four years of age on or before September 1, 2011. Funds will be utilized to serve the children and their families in all program component areas as required in the Head Start Act and through the Head Start Performance Standards.
The board also unanimously approved selling the Columbus School property. It is expected that the one-hundred-and-one-year-old property will not net more than $100,000 based on preliminary feedback received. Patrick Finnemore, director of facilities, stated that currently, there are up to five entities interested in the property. The Jefferson Annex will be held for one more year to explore options for the building in regards to either an alternative use or possible sale.
The policy regarding student fees was also approved by the Board, but not unanimously. Carl Bryan was the sole dissenting voter. Gilbert Ostman made some comments at the beginning of the meeting stating that he was in favor of what the Kenosha News proposed: not allowing the school principals to have the ability to waive student fees, but to bring the cases back to the committee. Bryan wanted to see more specifics on the criteria principals could use as guidance, but “instead we get less.” Bryan said, “$690,000 is $690,000. It’s nothing to sneeze at.” Mary Snyder understood his concern, but she stated that she had “more concern for the students.” Dr. Michele Hancock wants to put a protocol in place for the school principals to use. “People who can afford to pay should pay,” she stated. Pam Stevens pointed out that the parents felt more comfortable with their school principals being involved in these decisions. Rebecca Stevens felt that the board was moving in the right direction by having Hancock’s staff develop a protocol.
Dr. Hancock made several announcements, three of which were:
- The next Coffee and Conversation will be held at Carolyn’s Coffee Connection on Wednesday, August 17th, from 5 pm to 7:30 pm.
- National Night Out will be celebrated at four schools on Tuesday, August 2nd. The four elementary schools are Brass, Frank, McKinley, and Wilson. Families are invited to participate in activities and collect freebies.
- Frank and Wilson will be going to the expeditionary learning framework this year, and the first day of school at these two schools will be on Monday, August 8th. This year-round school project includes the students wearing uniforms and operating on a different schedule than the rest of the KUSD schools. School will be in session for nine weeks, with two weeks off. The first day of school for all other KUSD schools will be on Thursday, September 1st.