Brompton school charter contract approved
The board unanimously approved the Brompton School charter contract. On December 20, 2011, the school board approved the relocation of the school to Vernon Elementary School. Now, the school requested and received an additional five-year charter renewal to continue as a KUSD charter school, and also requested and received approval to expand from a K-5 elementary school to a K-8 school.
Board member Bob Nuzzo wanted to know if Brompton had a waiting list, and Karen Davis, assistant superintendent of elementary school leadership replied that there was. Nuzzo then asked, “Can you expand so as not to have a waiting list?” The reply was that “Right now, the school is only able to offer one class for each grade level.” “Doesn’t that tell us something?” Nuzzo then asked. “Yes, it tells us that there is a need and opportunity for different choices for parents to make.” Jo Ann Taube raised the question of when enrollment begins, and the answer given was within the next month.
Two citizens spoke in favor of Brompton School at the beginning of the meeting during the views and comments by the public portion of the meeting. They were Jennifer Johnson who serves on the school’s Finance Committee and works in the school’s library. Her daughter is a first grader at the school, and she encouraged the board to approve the charter because she feels now that “the school’s future success will be ensured. This will give my daughter nine years of uninterrupted education at one school.”
Brian Lynch, president of the Brompton Community Partnership, also spoke in favor of the contract. “Since the school’s founding in 1997, we have received ongoing support from the KUSD. We have a high level of parent involvement. Every student in school is successful. Every child really does matter. Brompton was the first school in the KUSD to be called a blue-ribbon school. We’re looking forward to our move over the summer time, and the fact that we’ll be able to welcome in more families.”
Deborah Schuebel from Racine also spoke during this time. She stated that she felt that “a great disservice was done to the KUSD in that the full-time elementary computer lab assistants were pink-slipped last week. Their sparse salaries are not going to solve the district’s budget crisis.” Gerald Grogan thanked the board for acknowledging the girl wrestlers, and Don Hunt congratulated the new board. “This is a new year. We have new hopes, new dreams. Over $1.7 billion of hard-earned tax payer money has been spent over the past years, with a tax levy of 30%, yet the school district is near bankruptcy. And, all this spending has not resulted in improved outcomes. We are no better off than we were five years ago. We’re going to end up with undereducated and unemployable kids who won’t be able to meet the future’s challenges successfully. I know you are all up to the task,” he said, encouraging the new board.
School board president Mary Snyder stated that “it’s always a joy to meet the students and recognize the staff. We still have successes, with strong staff support.” Superintendent of schools Michele Hancock shared good news with the board regarding the Dimensions of Learning Academy’s receiving a green ribbon award, the final weekend of Indian Trail High School & Academy’s production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” Bradford’s receipt of gold ratings for wind, jazz, and percussion at the Heritage Festival in New Orleans, and twenty-eight of KUSD’s students receiving Kenosha Rotary Club vocational awards. She also reminded everyone about this upcoming weekend’s first Academic Showcase at Indian Trail from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Hancock also wanted to dispel a rumor that she said is false and untrue. She stated that she is “very supportive of technology. The three T’s are teachers, technology, and tomorrow.” She stated that there is a rumor out there that says that she wants to get rid of teachers and replace them with technology. “This is not true,” she stated. “Teachers are not replaceable. They are not widgets. I spent 25 years in the classroom. Technology addresses the needs of our students.”
The entire consent agenda was approved unanimously. This consisted of the following items:
- Recommendations concerning appointments, leaves of absence, retirements, and resignations;
- Minutes of the March 27, 2012, special meeting of electors, and the March 27, 2012, regular board meeting;
- Summary of receipts, wire transfers, and check registers;
- Policy/Rule 6456 – Graduation Requirements;
- Policy/Rule and Administrative Regulation 6620 – Library Resources;
- Policy/Rule 6460 – Testing Programs;
- Policy/Rule 6461 – Parental Consent for Testing, and Policy/Rule 6462 – Non-Discrimination Testing/Assessment;
- Policy/Rule 4310 – Instructional Staffing;
- The removal of Policy/Rule 4340 – Substitute Personnel Employment; and
- The removal of Policy/Rule 4350 – Instructional Staff Assignments and Transfers.
For more details on any of these policies/rules, please refer to the article published on April 3rd regarding the KUSD standing committee meeting reports: KUSD Meetings.
Snyder reminded everyone that the board is not getting rid of the rules and policies listed here, but that they are merely being removed and placed in handbooks. Nuzzo also reminded everyone that the consent items go through extensive work at the committee level. “We do work on these. We’ve spent a lot of time in committee meetings on them. I don’t want you to think that we just very quickly approve all of these consent agenda items without a lot of work.”
The board also unanimously approved the use of fiscal 2011-2012 budget funds to purchase the Tell Me More(R) and Rosetta Stone (R) software to be used in the World Language Program. Tina Schmitz, chief financial officer, explained that this will provide a blended personal approach to learning, guided learning. Five world languages will be taught using this method, and the district received a volume purchase deal for this software. The total cost for the software and headsets is $350,624, which will be purchased this year out of the budget funds. Ongoing costs will be $315,000 annually for software updates. Books will be bypassed in lieu of purchasing this software. Nuzzo commented that the cost per student will only be $20 (normally $85), and parents can also use the software to learn the language their child is learning.
In addition, the revised Policy/Rule 4320 – Individual Employment Contracts, was approved for its first reading. A second reading will be voted on at the May 22, 2012, meeting.
Also, at the beginning of the meeting, awards were presented to the Wisconsin Girls Badger State wrestling champions, the national wrestling finalist, the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) remotely operated vehicle regional competition winners, the Kenosha/regional science engineering fair winners, and the state science fair finalist.
Nuzzo made a few closing remarks at the end of the meeting. “I have spent one year on the board. I came on here with some pre-conceived notions. But, I’ve seen administration in action. They’re not perfect, but these are some devoted educators; they’re devoted to your kids. I’ve visited many schools, and I’m impressed with the quality of the KUSD teachers. Let’s work to make this the best school system in Wisconsin, then the United States.”