KUSD standing committee meetings report
On Tuesday, Oct. 11, four KUSD standing committee meetings were held. (Please note that what is approved at these committee meetings is then sent on to the full Board of Education for their review. That meeting will be held on October 25th.) Below is a report of the highlights of each standing committee meeting:
Planning, Facilities, and Equipment Committee Meeting
- The offer to purchase Columbus Elementary School, located at 6410 – 25th Avenue, was approved. The market analysis was approximately $185,000, and the one valid offer received through the request for proposal process was from Amy 1, LLC, for $110,000. The planned use for the building is for a childcare center.
- The offer to purchase the property at 5512 Green Bay Road was also approved. The market analysis was approximately $70,000, and the offer received through the request for proposal process was from PL Ruffolo, LLC, for $50,000.
- Energy rebates from last year’s operational energy program will not be issued to the individual schools in light of the current budget challenges.
- Steve Mar-Pohl from Insite Consulting Architects gave a summary of the completed Reuther masonry project, which cost the district $8.2 million.
- The Indian Trail project cost summary was reviewed. The referendum approved budget was $53.3 million; the projected final project cost is $50.8 million, which is $2.5 million below budget.
- The annual schedule for maintenance projects for the 2011-2012 fiscal year was reviewed.
Audit/Budget/Finance Committee Meeting
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Kenosha County, Inc., and the Kenosha Public Library were approved for waivers of user fees in the amounts of $249 and $305, respectively. These were for the use of KUSD facilities, the Reuther High School Auditorium, and the Mahone Middle School Auditorium, respectively.
- Changes in the fiscal year 2010-11 adopted budget were approved. The majority of the changes are the result of notification of carry over funds determined to be available for various grants after the budget was formally adopted in October.
- Requested 2010-2011 budget carryovers to the 2011-2012 budget were approved in the amount of $1.5 million. These carryovers came from the charter schools, cash donations and mini-grants from outside organizations, and capital bank projects.
- The fiscal year 2011-2012 budget updates were reviewed. The September 16th, third Friday pupil count revealed a reduction of 89 students for purposes of calculating the three-year average member revenue. Therefore, the three-year average membership count is 22,594 students. The base membership revenue is $10,142.51 per student. The fiscal year 2011-2012 per pupil decrease of $557.84 resulted in a reduction in revenue of $12.7 million. The total estimated general aid of $139,545,181 represents a decrease of $7.69 million from the prior year. Thirty-three million dollars ($33 million) in reductions were made to balance the budget.
- Borrowing costs were reviewed. It cost KUSD $48,000 to borrow the $49 million Tax Revenue Anticipation Promissory Notes (TRAN), and $56,360 to borrow the $9.305 million Taxable General Obligation Refunding Bonds. One of the committee members stated that he thought these costs were reasonable. He compared these to another school district’s borrowing costs of $43,000 for a $2 million loan.
- Preliminary budget to actual comparison reports were reviewed for the period ending July 31, 2011; however, the figures did not include the final budget assumptions. Next month’s reports should reflect more accurate numbers.
- The total vacancy dollars estimated as of September 23, 2011, was $211,622. This represents savings due to open positions not yet filled.
Personnel/Policy Committee Meeting
- The proposed changes to the Classification, Compensation and Personnel Policy for Non-Represented, Non-Supervisory “Miscellaneous Employees” were approved. These entailed a 0% salary increase for July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, and a 0% salary increase for July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, a 12% health insurance premium contribution, and a 5.8% Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) retirement contribution for the 2011-2013 policy year.
- The official third Friday student count was 22,981. This is a reduction of 141 students from last year. There was a decrease of 65 students at the elementary schools, an increase of 146 students at the middle schools, and a decrease of 206 students at the high schools. The decrease at the high school level was primarily the result of lower numbers of students in grades 9 and 11. The average class size for students in Kindergarten through grade 5 increased by 4.7 students, from 19.8 to 24.5 students. Middle schools reported an average class size of 25.9 students, an increase of 1.4 when compared to last year’s average of 24.5. The average class size at the high schools increased from 23.3 to 24.9 students, an increase of 1.6. The number of bilingual students increased to 212 students compared to 199 students last year. The enrollment for students with disabilities is now 2,957 students, which makes up 12.8% of the student population. Overall, the percent of enrollment represented by Hispanic students continues to increase, while the percent represented by White students continues to decrease. The percentages are 23.3% and 56.3%, respectively.
- An employee complaint (grievance) procedure was approved; therefore, it will be forwarded to the full Board for a first and second reading at its October 25th meeting. Adoption of a grievance procedure was mandated by the State. For represented groups, this policy would also be implemented upon expiration of the collective bargaining agreement.
Joint Personnel/Policy and Curriculum/Program Committees Meeting
As you may recall, on April 26, 2011, the KUSD Board of Education changed the graduation requirements for students and limited the maximum number of courses students could take each year. (To read further about this change, click here: Unified School Board Lowers Credit Requirement and Proposal to Lower Graduation Credit Requirements Gets Extensive Discussion.) Therefore, all of the high schools implemented a seminar block for students as the key organizational tool that allowed the district to continue the current level of programs. A report was presented as an update on the seminar programming due to the high level of concern expressed by board members and parents. Tremper, Bradford, and Indian Trail high school principals each discussed their programs. The reports revealed an extremely wide variety of seminar titles, topics, and presenters (both from volunteers within the district and out in the community). Class enrollments and numbers of students being released were also reviewed. At the end of this hour-long meeting which raised many questions from the two committees, David Gallo asked Daniel Tenuta, assistant superintendent of secondary school leadership, how he felt the program was working. Tenuta’s reply was that it seemed to be working very well. Gallo’s last comment was, “So, basically, you told us that the program would work, and it is working.” Gallo thanked everyone for their efforts.
Curriculum/Program Committee Meeting
The committee approved the one-year proposal to expand the district’s Kenosha Even Start Family Literacy Program. This $65,000 proposal was submitted to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which will announce the awards in April, 2012. The goal is to further develop the district’s Family Engagement Training and Education Programs, as well as provide meaningful and engaging learning opportunities for non-English-speaking families. Patricia Demos, community school relations manager, and Juan Torres, who is in his eleventh year as director of the Even Start Program, were present to answer questions about the proposal.