Four KUSD committees met tonight
- There was an emergency project for Bradford High School’s water main replacement in the amount of $15,213, the week prior to the start of school, which was funded by the available variance in the major maintenance budget.
- Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) for the sale of Columbus School and the property at 5512 Green Bay Road went out and are due back on Tuesday, Sept. 20. There are five parties interested in the school, and there have been requests for information on the house. The new playground equipment from Columbus School will not go with the sale of the school; they are asking other schools if they’re interested in the equipment.
- The Indian Trail Project is mostly completed now, except for the 56th Street construction. The project’s total budget was $53.3 million, and the amount spent thus far was $50.8 million, which is $2.5 million under the project’s budget.
- The maintenance projects for the 2011-2012 fiscal year will be covered in detail at next month’s meeting.
- An update was presented on the Utility Budget and Energy Savings Program. There has been a 25.5% savings from last year to this year. Tremper, Bullen and Prairie Lane schools had no incentives on the report card because of failed inspections.
- Future agenda items include the major maintenance update, the end of the Reuther Project presentation, the five-year capital plan, the impact on traffic of the 39th Avenue extension north of Bullen, and alternate ways of cooling buildings.
- The Kenosha eSchool charter three-year renewal contract was modified due to the recently approved changes to the KUSD graduation requirements. The school is also now able to offer expanded middle school curriculum as well as high school classes. Also, a minimum time frame of fifteen days was established for earning credit in an online course. Pam Stevens had questions about the use of the term “Governance Board” in two places in the contract, but was told that this term was required. The committee approved that the contract be forwarded to the full Board.
- A list of 31 recommendations of appointments, leaves of absence, retirements, and resignations was reviewed.
- A future agenda item will be a report on the seminar classes.
- Tina Schmitz, director of finance, gave a report on the 2011-2012 short-term borrowing. A projection of a deficit of $49 million in cash flow in the month of December was made due to the timing of the State aid and the levy. This amount was compared to the $45 million deficit of last year. Thus, short-term borrowing was approved by the committee for forwarding to the full Board.
- A review of the district’s costs to support the Head Start Program was made. Acceptance of the grant funding requires that the district provide in-kind support valued at 25% or more of the total federal grant award each year. Several examples were given, such as special education staff, mail delivery to the Chavez Learning Station, and administrative costs for processing purchase orders, budgeting, oversight of the program, computer services, etc.
- Schmitz also gave a bond refinancing report. Because of a favorable interest rate, $402,000 can be saved in interest over the life of the bond if the district refinances a bond from 2002 that was issued at the time to help finance the unfunded retirement liability. Robert Nuzzo had some comments to make about this. “This is not the way you conduct business. This is bad business.” Dr. Michele Hancock, KUSD superintendent, warned Nuzzo to be prepared. “This might not be the last major financial issue you’ll see,” Hancock said. Nuzzo stated that Schmitz is doing a wonderful job. Hancock said that she made a commitment to the district and to the community to “dig deep.” “You will hear future information you don’t like. But, we will rock-n-roll and handle our business,” said Hancock.
- A response was given to a question raised by Nuzzo at the August 9th meeting. Nuzzo wanted to know if State aid would be reduced if we levied a lesser amount. The answer was that we could levy a lesser amount and not be penalized next year by the State. Schmitz wanted to make it perfectly clear, though, that there was no consideration given to going below the tax levy.
- A summary of grants for the 2011-2012 school year was presented. Phil Kent, a committee member, requested a comparison from last year for the next meeting.
- Monthly financial statements were reviewed, although it was made known that they are not totally complete. A complete analysis will be given at the November meeting.
Curriculum/Program Committee Meeting
- The committee reviewed the Reading Instructional Materials adoption paper for K-5. After a pilot with over 60 teachers, Journeys, a product of Houghton Mifflin Publishers, was selected. Committee member Elizabeth Daghfal questioned Vickie Brown-Gurley and Susan Mirsky extensively about the pilot. The district saved $900,000 because the superintendent approved a purchase of the program books before the end of December, 2010.
- Ann Fredriksson, coordiator of library media and instructional technology, reported on the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment system. She explained this as a tool to guide instructors and to measure student progress. Hancock said, “The purpose is to help the students identify learning needs with the help of teachers. It is not to label or target children.” It will be given to students three times a year, depending on the school.
- The Office of Teaching and Learning Instructional Framework defined core principals of instruction. This framework was created to reinforce and maintain the focus on the district’s vision to “maximize the brilliance of each child” and provide a shared understanding of what quality teaching and learning look like.
- Future agenda items included a request for what high school classes are currently offered vs. last year, along with numbers of students in each class, a syllabus for the seminar class, a combined Personnel/Policy and Curriculum/Program status report from each school, and a request for how many students availed themselves of the opportunity to take an eighth class by auditing a class, thereby not having to take a seminar class.
The annual meeting is scheduled for September 19.