KUSD standing committees report

On Tuesday night, the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD)’s standing committees met.  Below is a synopsis of what transpired at each meeting:

Joint Personnel/Policy & Curriculum/Program Committees

These two committees’ members were invited to attend a training session for an on-line learning collaborative environment computer system wherein educators and students can share resources and participate in on-line discussions.  It’s called My Big Campus, and it’s available at http://www.mybigcampus.com.  Members were given sign-on information and passwords and were given a demonstration of the basic features of this system.  It was developed to be very similar to FaceBook because that system is comfortable for many users.  The committee members who will be part of the four-day school week exploration committee are being asked to read a book together and use this system to participate in on-line discussions.

This system is being used right now by KUSD administrators, teachers and students; there are currently 13,000 users in it.  Schools currently involved are Washington and Lincoln Middle Schools, Tremper and Bradford High Schools, and Indian Trail Academy.  It is planned for a full district roll out, even down to first graders.  Teachers can use this system to give assignments, and students can submit their assignments on-line.  Teachers from all over the world can collaborate with each other on ways to use technology, etc.

Personnel/Policy Committee

The 2012-2013 school year preliminary enrollment projections were reviewed.  The projections indicate that student enrollment at the elementary level will be 9,973 students, a decrease of 25 when compared to last year.  The projected middle school enrollment is 4,656 students, a decrease of 78 when compared to last school year.  At the high school level, the projected enrollment of 6,237 students is 72 students lower than last year.  None of the schools are projected to be over Facilities Department designated capacity limits.  The total enrollment counts for Special Schools are expected to increase by 115 students in school year 2012-2013.  Total enrollment is projected to be at 22,918 for next year.  The report was reviewed and accepted.

Future agenda items include procedures for the handbook, and a review of the policy concerning communicating with the media.

Curriculum/Program Committee

The Brompton School charter contract was reviewed in conjunction with the discussion in the next committee meeting regarding the relocation of that school from the Baptist Tabernacle Church to the north wing of the Jane Vernon Elementary School.  The school currently serves students in Kindergarten through grade five with the addition of grades six and seven in the Fall of 2012, and grade eight in the Fall of 2013.  The charter contract was not voted on tonight due to the fact that all charter school contracts are due for review in the next couple of months.  However, the committee did vote to forward to the Board the recommendation to proceed with the move to Jane Vernon and the addition of the higher grades, as proposed.

The 2012 Summer School Report was reviewed as an informational item.  There was a total of 2,899 students enrolled in 2011 summer school programs as compared to 4,155 the prior summer.  Total costs for the 2011 summer school programs were $1,302,714 as compared to $1,559,396 the prior summer.  The philosophy of the summer school program is moving from remediation to enrichment for all.  Reviews of students, parents, administrators, and teachers all showed improvements.

Planning/Facilities/Equipment Committee

The proposed relocations for three of KUSD’s charter schools was discussed.  To read a more in-depth article about this issue, click here:  Three KUSD Schools to Relocate.  Two committee members were opposed to the Harborside and Paideia relocation; however, the Brompton school relocation was approved unanimously.

Because this topic of discussion was so lengthy, the remaining informational items on the agenda (Building Cooling Summary, Indian Trail Project Job Cost Summary, Major Maintenance Project Status Report, and Utility Budget and Energy Savings Program Update) were deferred to next month’s meeting.

Audit/Budget/Finance Committee

A waiver of Policy 1330 – Use of District Facilities, was approved for the Kenosha Achievement Center’s use of the Jane Vernon pool facilities on August 17th, August 24th, August 31st, and September 7th, 2011.  Their Day Service Program provides adults with severe disabilities recreation and leisure opportunities that include community integration outings.  The amount of fees waived totaled $166.

Informational items reviewed were the 2010-2011 Financial Audit Report, Grant Summary, and Monthly Financial Statements.  The committee requested that the district’s auditor from Schenck Solutions return to next month’s meeting so as to provide time for the committee members to digest the report presented and to ask questions.

The total Federal grant budget for 2010-2011 was $35,368,714 as opposed to the total grant budget for 2011-2012 of $17,553,985 (cut almost in half).  School-based grants for 2010-2011 totaled $35,667,624 as opposed to $17,744,666 (again almost cut in half).

Tina Schmitz, director of finance, stated that she had no concerns with the 2011-2012 district summary budget (budget to actual) comparison reports; they are tracking to the budget.

Committee member Bob Nuzzo had requested information regarding the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) liability budget for upcoming years.  He was told that, at the end of 2011, there will be $55 million against a $150 million liability.  In 2007, it was 85% funded, in 2008, 29%, in 2009, 21%, in 2010, 19-20%.   Nuzzo’s question was, “How long can this continue?”  It was agreed that changes needed to be made.

Committee member Phil Kent had requested information regarding the cash balance and interest for capital projects.  Once a capital project is closed, the residual is moved to the general fund.

The regular KUSD School Board meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 20th, at 7 pm, in the Educational Support Center, located at 3600 – 52nd Street.

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