KUSD enrollment down
Personnel/Policy Committee Meeting
The official third Friday enrollment report was released, which showed that the district’s numbers are down 339 from last year (equal to 260 full-time equivalent students). The report had breakdowns by schools, classes, and class sizes.
Board member Jo Ann Taube wanted to know why students left the district. Kristopher Keckler, executive director of information systems, data management and evaluation, said that they have not reviewed housing patterns, demographics, etc., but they will review the data for trends. There was an increase of three students during the open enrollment period. There was also an increase in the number of KUSD public school students who are now attending KUSD private schools. Keckler said that the district can accommodate more students. Taube thought that the district should do some advertising to draw more students to the district.
Sheronda Glass, executive director of business services, said that, “If we shared the data for the last five to seven years, you would see a decrease in the community due to several factors: the closing of Chrysler, families leaving Kenosha, the high unemployment rate, etc. We can’t get students if there are no jobs. We need to try to help the community from an economic standpoint.”
The district did expect a decrease; in fact, they estimated that there would be a difference of approximately 100 students less at the last meeting. When the number came out considerably higher, it was of concern to a couple of committee members. Greg Retzloff wanted to know the budget effects. It means a difference of $2.4 million less over three years, $800,000 a year less. But, the district is receiving a one-time revenue aid adjustment from the state to help with the declining enrollment, that almost covers the difference. The district will be feeling the effects over the next three years due to the three-year averaging that is included in the formula. “Based on the way the numbers fall, basically one student per grade level per house at each school, we can’t save a teacher,” said Keckler.
The committee also reviewed the 2012-2013 marks reporting, paperless vs. printing initiative, which will save $50,000 on printing/mailing progress reports. Keckler explained that, two months from now, middle schools and high schools will start printing their own progress reports. Retzloff wanted to know if it was going to create additional work for teachers. If it did, it hardly seemed worth the savings. He also wanted to know why this wasn’t thought of ten years ago. Keckler said that they didn’t have the student information system then that they do now. School superintendent Michele Hancock assured him that, “As we look at processes, we form committees and change operations, more and more comes to light. Changing technology is at the forefront. These changes are predicated by the Transformation Plan. There are fifteen action items and cost savings items. These can be viewed on our website. We will continue to keep looking.” With more and more parents making use of Zangle, the need for report cards is decreasing.
Several committee members expressed their concern that they didn’t know about the change beforehand. Hancock said, “There will always be a few people who miss the boat.” Keckler also spoke briefly about a new state-wide student information system which will be rolled out within the next two years. Taube wanted to know how many hits were made on Zangle; Keckler said that he’ll try and get a figure.
There were no concerns expressed on the recommendations concerning appointments, leaves of absence, retirements and resignations.
Audit/Budget/Finance Committee Meeting
Tina Schmitz, chief financial officer, explained that the changes in the fiscal year 2011-2012 adopted budget had to do predominantly with grant changes being moved from one fund to another. There was no change to the bottom line.
Carryovers from the 2011-2012 budget to the 2012-2013 budget were no longer going to be done. “This just skews the whole budget,” she said. “Instead, we will retain any unspent dollars in reserve, like retained earnings. If the school goes over budget this year, then they can draw out the funds out of reserve.
Two months of monthly financial statements were reviewed through August 31, 2012. The 2013 preliminary proposed budget is likely to change as they approach the November 1st deadline for adoption of the 2012-2013 budget.
Regarding the fiscal year 2012-2013 budget, the change is 244 less full-time equivalents in school and 58 less full-time equivalents in summer school equals $877,000 less money from the state. She also spoke of the one-time declining enrollment aid adjustment now that the numbers are greater than 31. “This is to help us start preparing for a decrease in revenue. The aid totals $769,000, which is 88% of the decrease in funding,” she said. “The impact to this budget is minimal.”
The final equalization aid and final revenue limits will be released on October 15th. At that time, the mix between state aid and the levy will be known. Schmitz said that the budget would be adjusted accordingly. Board member Carl Bryan wanted to know if this adjustment might be available in future years. Schmitz did say that her counterpart in Racine did say that they have received the adjustment for the last several years.
Added staff included two teachers to address larger class sizes: one at Bose Elementary, and one at the Edward Bain School of Language and Art (EBSOLA). Open positions not yet filled would be included in the board presentation whic will take place on Tuesday, October 23rd.
Future agenda items requested were an OPEB actuary study and Act 10 impacts to the budget.
Joint Audit/Budget/Finance and Curriculum/Progam Committee Meeting
The only agenda item was the request to submit the Race to the Top district grant application. The deadline is the end of the month, and the district is requesting the maximum of $30 million. This will help the district speed up the development of programs and initiatives which have already been started with the district’s Transformation Plan.
The snappy title they chose was “Maximizing Brilliance.” The three goals are to improve student achievement, expand collaborative partnerships with families, the community, and industry, and secure resources to support learning.
Julie Housaman, coordinator of Title I and grants, said that the philosophy the district is adopting is “Go Narrow, Go Deep.” Housaman said, “Not only are we having the children learning to read, but they are reading to learn.” The grant money, if awarded, will be used for professional development for teachers.
When asked what the district’s chances were, the information given by Keckler was that 900 districts have completed the preliminary form, and eight to twenty-five grants will be awarded. “There are not many in our size and category, and the work we’re focusing on aligns well with our Transformation Plan.”
Bryan wanted to make sure that there would be no residual costs to the district or to the taxpayers after the grant ended. Hancock said that, even if the district didn’t get awarded the grant, work would still continue on building teaching capacity throughout the district. “A blended, hybrid classroom, on-line instruction for students, is the best way to learn,” she said. “I have seen it.”
Board member Rebecca Stevens stated that she wants to see a drastic improvement in the district. “I’m passionate. This is not a personal attack, it’s just me and my passion,” she said. Hancock echoed her. “It’s me and my passion, too,” she said. Taube is hopeful that, after the election, that the support will be behind the public schools. “We need to know we’ll be supported as educators,” she said.
Curriculum/Program Committee Meeting
Keckler gave an update on the new DPI school report cards. Due to the many errors that have been found in the report cards, they are being re-run. Score values have changed for all schools. The public release date is now October 22nd. Additional information will be presented at the November meeting. Keckler said that Renee Blise has been a phenomenal asset to the district with her work in ensuring accuracy of the report cards.
Keckler also gave an update on the establishment of student e-mail accounts. This issue started being communicated to parents last spring, yet there are many parents who again were not aware of this. Students in grades 3 through 12 now have e-mail accounts. Google and Microsoft applications in education were also discussed. “These are all tools being provided for students,” he said. “These are basically g-mail accounts which have been created, being filtered and authenticated through the KUSD side. This is a district-wide launch.”
Keckler said that each building has control of the roll-outs. Committee member Elizabeth Daghfahl said that she had not heard of it before, and wanted to know how parents could opt out of it. Stevens also said that the first time she had heard of it was during the annual budget meeting. “Parents have different ways of parenting,” she said. “I respect that. There has been change upon change upon change. But, the communication piece needs to improve.” Taube encouraged parents to let their children use it educationally before they decide to opt out.
Keckler said that, right now, there are 232 students using the e-mail feature. “That’s one percent of our student body. So far, only four have opted out.” Taube said that, if anyone had any questions, to e-mail her or Hancock. “We may have to have Mr. Keckler come back and give us a demo to help us catch up with our kids,” Taube said.
David Tuttle, coordinator of talent development, then gave an update on the advanced placement program in the district. The report gave comparisons among courses, buildings, as well as comparisons at the state level, national level, and global level. The number of exams, the number of students involved, the number of teachers involved have all gone up, as well as the success rate has increased gradually. Daghfahl was asking about a reprieve on the cost of the exams similar to the sports cap. Tuttle said that the college credits that are saved more than make up for the cost of the exams, but he did state that that was something he’d explore.
Stevens wanted to know how the program was being expanded for students of ethnicity. She said that kids are afraid to try AP courses. Tuttle said that he is having discussions with elementary, middle school, and high school counselors, trying to change the mindsets of the teachers, counselors, and students. Workshops are held during parent nights. Hancock said that Tuttle may have to go where the people of ethnicity are, such as churches, etc. Dr. Sue Savaglio-Jarvis, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, said that such strategies are being incorporated into their plan.
A discussion about students not taking AP courses because they are worried about hindering their grade point average or their class ranking took place. The student ambassador pushed for increasing the weighting of the AP course grades, similar to that of the honors courses. Dr. Sue said that she appreciated the student ambassador’s honesty. Tuttle stated that he’d like to get freshmen or sophomore college students to return and talk to high school students about the benefits of taking the AP courses.
Future agenda items included an update on the middle schools’ honors programs, asynchronous learning at the secondary learning level, and an update on the new language program.