KUSD board approves closing of McKinley Middle School
- James Mason is the Wisconsin National Geographic Bee Semi-Finalist. He will be going to the finals competition on Friday in Madison.
- The National Scholastic Art Awards Regional Winners.
- Andrew McNair is the American Choral Director’s Association Winner. He was present with his teacher, Polly Amborn, from Tremper High School.
- National Honors for Tremper German Students. Twenty-five students won honors, and three were in the 90th percentile or higher. Several students wore “RIP German Program” t-shirts.
- The Tremper Battle of the Books Team.
- The Academic Showcase Logo Design Winner, and
- The Scholastic Writing Awards Regional Winners.
Board member Carl Bryan gave the legislative report. A bill that was passed by the State assembly last week had to do with making staff evaluations available to the public starting with the 2013-2014 school year. Fifty percent of the evaluations will be based on student performance, and fifty percent will be based on teacher performance. Currently, observations are used. Another bill had to do with a vocational education program that leads to a college diploma; however, Governor Walker’s staff is still evaluating this legislation.
Five people made public comments. Mary Caprellian offered several solutions to raise revenue for the state: raise the sales tax; institute a tourism tax; and designate buildings with not-for-profit status. Erika Wilkomm, Michael Wilkomm, and Anya Wilkomm all spoke on the German program. Erika Wilkomm relayed what she ran into when trying to enroll her eighth grader in a German class on eSchool. She stated that “she felt lied to” and that her son would be “in a class by himself” due to the fact that there was not a German choice. Michael Wilkomm wanted to know how much was being saved by giving up the German program. He stated that German has been taught in the KUSD for 95 years. He urged the board not to rubber stamp the budget, but to pull out the German program segment. “Don’t go down in history as being the school board that killed the German program, but the school board that saved the German program,” he said. And, Anya Wilkomm wanted to know if the school superintendent was indeed listening as she has stated in the past, because she has not heeded letters from a U.S. senator, two college professors, foreign visitors, parents, and students. She urged school superintendent Michele Hancock to “stop patronizing, and start listening.” Mark Hujik offered his congratulations on the CDO issue, but stated that it was not a factor in the budget process. He called for a “suspension of board pay until the financial mess is cleared up.”
Board president Mary Snyder gave the President’s report. She stated that the board is listening, “but the answers may not be what you want to hear.” She offered congratulations to Pam Stevens, who is attending her last school board meeting. Snyder stated that she’ll miss her humor, guidance, and thoughtful comments during her nine years of service on the board.
Hancock wanted to clarify things about the German program. She reiterated the commitment KUSD has made to world languages: Spanish, Italian, French, German, and Mandarin Chinese. She called Kris Keckler, the eSchool principal to the microphone, and he gave information on the process for enrollment. He stated that he has already received requests from Bradford students for German classes, and is awaiting Tremper’s enrollment figures. He asked to see Wilkomm’s form to see if he could straighten out the problem she was having.
Hancock also reminded everyone about the 1st annual Academic Showcase coming up on Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Indian Trail High School and Academy. School exhibits, student demonstrations, musical performances, exhibits by area businesses, and food and beverages would be offered. She urged people to come and learn about program and instructional strategies. (Click here for the flyer: 2012 Academic Showcase.) She also congratulated the Dimensions of Learning school for being one of three Wisconsin schools to receive the “Green Ribbon School Award” for saving energy, reducing costs, protecting health, and offering environmental education. She also gave information on the upcoming KUSD Night with the Bucks, which will benefit the KUSD athletic program. Ten dollars of every ticket will be donated to KUSD, giving KUSD the potential to earn $10,000. This will be held on Wednesday, April 4, 2012. (Click here for the flyer: KUSD Night with the Bucks.)
The entire consent agenda was approved:
- Recommendations concerning appointments, leaves of absence, retirements, and resignations;
- Minutes of prior meetings;
- A summary of receipts, wire transfers, and check registers;
- The Head Start Federal grant request for the 2012-2013 school year; and
- The request to submit the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CLC) Program grant application for the 2012-2013 school year.
All old business items were approved unanimously:
- The proposed middle school boundary changes, and the closing of McKinley Middle School. (Click here to see a map of the approved school boundaries: KUSD Middle School Boundaries.) JoAnn Taube questioned facilities director Patrick Finnemore about the busing situation. He assured her that every effort was going to be made to use existing city bus routes with minor changes to make them more efficient. He stated that transportation supervisor Jeff Marx was working with the city Transit Department to make changes to the city bus passes that students receive. There is a possibility that students will be assigned to city buses and not be allowed to ride whatever bus they choose. This will help them better equalize the number of students on the buses.
- The Kenosha County easement agreement on the widening of 60th Street;
- The Kenosha County wireless network easement. Last year, the county approached KUSD to install small antennas to support the emergency communications network. They were installed on several buildings last year, and another seven antennas will be installed this year, one of which will be atop McKinley Middle School. Apparently, the county didn’t care that the school was scheduled to close. They will remove it in the future, if needed. They preferred the height of the middle school building as opposed to the elementary school building.
- Policy/Rule 6456 – Graduation Requirements (First Reading). Carl Bryan made an unsuccessful attempt to make a friendly amendment to the original proposal, changing the word “participate” to “complete,” as it related to the on-line requirement. The board did approve the original wording of the requirement which separated the passing of the course content from the technical component.
- Service Animals in District Facilities (New) (First and Second Reading). Susan Valeri, director of special education and student support, explained that this had to do with the ADA law that was passed last March. They’ve defined a service animal as a dog and developed an application form.
- Policy/Rule and Administrative Regulation 6620 – Library Resources (First Reading). The policy/rule has been reviewed and updated by the Department of Library Media to reflect current information. Administrative Regulation 6620 is being removed, and the procedural information from both this administrative regulation and policy has been relocated to the Library Services page on My Big Campus.
- Policy/Rule 6460 – Testing Programs (First Reading). Valeri explained that this policy was updated to now include 6461 and 6462.
- Policy/Rule 6461 – Parental Consent for Testing, and Policy/Rule 6462 – Non-Discrimination Testing/Assessment (First Reading);
- The removal of Policy/Rule 4310 – Instructional Staffing. Teresa Osborne-Short, director of human resources, explained that information contained within this policy/rule that pertains to instructional staffing is no longer relevant and will be addressed under a separate policy called Zero-Based Budget Timelines. Snyder commented that they are merely changing where the policies/rules are located.
- The removal of Policy/Rule 4340 – Substitute Personnel Employment. The current automated system is outlined in detail for substitutes and administrators. Information regarding updates to the system is
disseminated through the office of Human Resources, as needed. Therefore, removal of the policy/rule is recommended.
- The removal of Policy/Rule 4350 – Instructional Staff Assignments and Transfers. Information contained within this policy/rule that pertains to instructional staff assignments and transfers is no longer relevant or is addressed in another policy or district plan.
The following new business items were discussed:
- Open Enrollment Changes – 2011 Wisconsin Act 114 (Senate Bill 2). Anderson Lattimore, assistant superintendent of educational accountability, informed the board that they must now affirm the space for open enrollment seats for both special education and regular education by grade level. According to his chart, there are 101 open enrollment spaces for regular education, and ten open enrollment spaces for special education for the 2012-2013 school year. Also, the open enrollment application window has been expanded from the usual three-week period of time in early February of each year to the current time frame beginning on the first Monday in February and ending on the last weekday in April. The application time frame has been effectively expanded from three weeks to approximately three months, which will make it more difficult to staff because of the later date.
- Workers’ compensation re-authorization of self-insurance. Osborn-Short explained that this re-authorization is required every three years.
- Donations to the district totalling almost $8,000 were gratefully accepted.