Kenosha Unified School District

KUSD board approves 2013 budget

At tonight’s Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) regular school board meeting, the board approved the 2013 budget by a vote of 4 to 3.  A roll call vote was called for, and the dissenting votes came from board members Carl Bryan, Jo Ann Taube, and Rebecca Stevens.

The total budget amounted to $235.7 million.  This budget calls for a slight decrease in the tax levy, but an increase in the tax rate.  The approved tax levy of $92.4 million is about $700,000 less than this year’s levy.  It is also the maximum allowed by the state.  The tax rate for next year would increase to $11.54 per $1,000 of property valuation, from this year’s $11.02.  That represents a 4.75% increase, according to Tina Schmitz, the district’s chief financial officer.  Affecting the tax rate was a 5.81% drop in equalized values in the district.  “That increase had a huge impact on driving the mill rate up, which we had no control over,” she said.  The owner of a home valued at $200,000 will pay $2,308 to support the district next year, compared to $2,204 this year.

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Brompton students spell out their DRUG-FREE message

Staff and students at Brompton Elementary celebrated Wear Red Day on Wednesday  during Red Ribbon Week by spelling out DRUG-FREE in the school yard.

This week’s observance of Red Ribbon Week was the 25th anniversary of the anti-drug use program in Kenosha County.

Harvey School gives Red Ribbon Week a rousing kick-off

County Executive Jim Kreuser addresses the Red Ribbon Week kick-off at Harvey School on Monday.

A buzz of excitement filled the air of the Harvey Elementary School gymnasium on Monday morning, decked out with festive posters, ribbons, and banners. As music from the Bradford Percussion Group floated in through the open doors, children dressed in red fidgeted eagerly in their spots on the floor.

They were gathered for the opening ceremony to kick off the twenty-fifth annual Red Ribbon Week, a campaign at the local and nationwide level aimed at encouraging a drug-free lifestyle.

Harvey principal, Ursula Hamilton-Perry, began the ceremony, welcoming the many special guests in attendance, including KUSD Superintendent Michele Hancock, Sheriff David Beth, Chief of Police John Morrissey, County Executive Jim Kreuser, and fifth district Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia. Laughs echoed throughout the room when it was revealed that LaMacchia was standing in for Mayor Keith Bosman because Bosman had been called to serve jury duty that morning.

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Kenosha County to celebrate 25th Red Ribbon campaign

Red Ribbon Week Banner in front of the Boys & Girls Club in Kenosha.

This is the latest in a series of articles that will regularly appear on from Kenosha Police Department Crime Prevention Unit Officers Jeff Wamboldt and Ron Francis:

This week, Kenosha County will be celebrating its 25th Red Ribbon Campaign to combat and prevent the devastating effects of alcohol and drug abuse. Over the years, we have all seen the red ribbons, posters, and maybe have taken part in an activity or educational event, but do we know the history behind this worthwhile campaign?

Red Ribbon Week began after the kidnapping, torture, and brutal murder of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985. Agent Camarena had been working undercover in Guadalajara, Mexico, for over four years. His efforts led to a tip that resulted in the discovery of a multi-million dollar narcotics manufacturing operation in Chihuahua, Mexico. The successful eradication of this operation angered leaders of several drug cartels who sought revenge. As a result, they murdered key informants and then, on February 7, 1985, they kidnapped Camarena and his pilot, Captain Alfredo Zavala-Avelar.

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KUSD to host Preparing Your Child for Education and Careers workshop

The Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) has released the following statement regarding an upcoming workshop:

The KUSD will be hosting a free workshop, “Preparing Your Child for Education and Careers,” on Saturday, October 20th, for KUSD families. Topics to be covered include how to plan for careers, Advance Placement and Youth Options, and how to apply for financial aid.

WHO:  KUSD families

WHAT:  Free workshop, “Preparing Your Child for Education and Careers”

WHERE:  Bradford High School Library (3700 Washington Road, Kenosha, WI 53144)

WHEN:  Saturday, October 20th, from 8 am to 12 noon

HOW:  Register by calling (262) 359-2256.  Be prepared to leave your name, phone number, and the two sessions you wish to attend. Walk-in’s accepted, however, sessions are not guaranteed. This event is sponsored by the Kenosha Unified PTA Council, Indian Trail High School and Academy PTSO, and the Kenosha Unified School District’s Family Education Program.

Additional information is available here.

KUSD deadline for immunizations is near

The Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) has made the following announcement regarding immunizations:

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KUSD enrollment down

There were four Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) standing committee meetings held tonight, and below is a summary of each meeting:

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.

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Tremper HS Homecoming parade coverage

Tremper High School’s Homecoming parade and football game were Friday.

The parade took place along 22nd Avenue, starting at Lincoln Park and ending at the school. Here’s video of the whole parade:

In the football game, Franklin defeated Tremper 34-14

Bradford HS Homecoming parade coverage

Bradford High School’s Homecoming parade and football game were Friday.

The parade took place along 30th Ave to Washington Road to the school campus. Here’s video of the whole parade:

In the game, Bradford dominated Indian Trail 37-0.

Neighborhood town hall meeting at McKinley

Tonight, Alderperson Scott Gordon (11th district) hosted a neighborhood town hall community meeting at the McKinley Grade School, 5520 – 32nd Avenue.  Present were:  Gordon, Senator Bob Wirch, County Board Supervisors Ron Frederick and Boyd Frederick, the city of Kenosha’s public works director Michael Lemens, deputy city attorney Matt Knight, Kenosha Police Captain Eric Larsen, Kenosha Police Sgt. Brent Sagedal, crime prevention officer Jeff Wamboldt, and gang prevention officer Aaron Dilhoff.

Gordon introduced those he invited to the group of about thirty citizens.  “They’ll answer questions about anything.  We will not leave here until every question is answered.”  He informed the group that the city’s budget was released on Monday, as well as the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).  He had copies available for review.  “There’s a 2.2% levy included in the current budget proposal, which translates to a $30/home, 60 cents a week increase in taxes.  This budget includes no cuts in police, fire, or emergency medical services.  This is very important.”  He also gave a construction update:  they are going to start paving tomorrow.

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Bradford and Tremper homecomings this weekend

Bradford High School and Tremper High School will have their homecomings this weekend.

  • Bradford’s Homecoming parade will be on Friday, Oct. 5th, at 4:30 p.m. The parade will start at Fireside Restaurant and runs south on 30th Avenue  to Washington Road to Bradford High school. The football game, Bradford vs. Indian Trail High School and Academy, will be played at Jaskwhich Stadium  at Indian Trail High School High School and Academy. Ticket sales are only in advance. You can read the details here. 
  • Tremper’s Homecoming parade will also be on Friday, Oct. 5th, at 5 p.m. The parade starts at Lincoln Park and runs south on 22nd Avenue, to west on 79th Street to south on 25th Street to west on 81st Street to south on 26th to Ameche Field. The football game,  Tremper vs. Franklin, will start at Ameche Field at 7 p.m.

Ambulance responding to Brompton School

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At 8:27 a.m., a Kenosha Fire Department ambulance is responding to Brompton School for a medical call.

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Ambulance responding to Indian Trail High School

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At 8:13 a.m., a Kenosha Fire Department ambulance is responding to Indian Trail High School for a medical call.

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Bus fares likely to increase

At yesterday’s Transit Commission meeting, Ron Iwen, transit director, asked the commission for their approval to go ahead and study the possibility of raising the bus fares in order to close the gap in the budget and to maintain current service.  Thirty days is required for public comment and discussion.  “If the fare increase gets approved, there will be no service cuts.  If not, there will more than likely be service cuts,” said Iwen.

Iwen stated that, when the Saturday service cuts were being discussed, the public asked for fare increases so that cuts would not be needed.  “We are the lowest out there.  Madison, Cheboygan, Waukesha, Racine, and Milwaukee.  We are not asking for a lot,” he said.

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Units responding to Washington MS for injury

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At 12:20 p.m., Kenosha Fire Department units and police officers are responding to Washington Middle School for a report of an injury.

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ID required to enter Bradford-Horlick game in Racine Friday night

All fans are required to bring and present photo ID to enter the contest at  Kenosha Bradford vs. Racine Horlick football game at Horlick Athletic Field in Racine, on Friday. Sept. 28, the Kenosha Unified School District has announced.

Horlick Athletic Field is located at 1648 Memorial Drive (Memorial & High Street) Racine. Game time is 7 p.m.

Lincoln Middle School Jazz Ensemble to perform in Madison Oct. 2

The Kenosha Unified School District has made the following announcement:

The Lincoln Middle School Jazz Ensemble will perform at the 2012-13 Wisconsin Schools of Recognition Ceremony in Madison on October 2nd.

The invitation to perform at this event is a great honor extended to groups that demonstrate exceptional student performance in the area of music. The ensemble is comprised of a dedicated group of student musicians in grades 6-8, and led by Lincoln Middle School Band Director Jeremy Kriedeman.

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KUSD school board meeting report

The Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) school board met this evening for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting.  Recognition awards were presented.  The Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Third Grade Essay Contest Grand Champions were presented to two Southport Elementary School students.  Also, four Kenosha schools were presented with the Wisconsin Schools of Recognition awards.  The four schools were:  Grewenow Elementary, Vernon Elementary, Lincoln Middle, and McKinley Middle Schools.  Eric Barta received the highest award for the 3D Visualization and Animation category in the State Skills USA Competition, and the 22nd award nationally.

Public comments were made by Gib Ostman, Scott Farnsworth, and Ray Misner.  Ostman was amazed at how the indifferent the board was at the September 12th annual meeting when a citizen asked how to get a resolution on the agenda.  He also urged the board to start bargaining fairly, honestly, and openly now that the judge has set aside the Act 10 legislation.

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CDBG proposals being heard for last two nights

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Twenty-five Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding proposals for 2013 were heard by the committee on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.  Each applicant was given five minutes for their presentation, and ten minutes were allotted for questions.

The list of applicants and their project titles were:

  • City of Kenosha, Public Works – Street Improvements
  • Kenosha Common Markets – Community Commercial Kitchen and Marketplace
  • Club Breakaway – Exterior Club Renovations
  • Hope Council, Inc. – Waterproofing at Oxford House Lena (1630 – 56th Street)

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KUSD tax levy

Tonight, the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) 2012-13 proposed budget was approved at the district’s annual meeting, which was held at Indian Trail High School.  Tina Schmitz, the chief financial officer, gave the very understandable presentation, which showed that the total tax levy for the next fiscal year would be a 4.38% decrease from last year.

The mill rate would go up eight cents to $11.10 per $1,000.  The property tax on a $200,000 house would go up slightly to $2,220.  The current mill rate is calculated on equalized valuations decreasing by approximately 5% on average.  A lower equalized valuation can increase the district’s mill rate.  The preliminary budget includes taking advantage of levying to the maximum by law.  The final equalized valuations and Department of Public Instruction (DPI) revenue limit information will be released in October.  At that time, the district will update the tax levy and mill rate.

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KUSD standing committee meetings report

Earlier this evening, three Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) standing committees met.  Below is a summary of the topics discussed at the meetings:

Planning/Facilities/Equipment Committee

Patrick Finnemore, director of facilities, gave a summer project summary.  The budget for major maintenance for this year was cut from $1.5 million to $100,000, leaving only enough money for emergency repairs.  Three leased charter school locations (former locations for Brompton, Harborside and Paideia) were closed, and the contents were emptied prior to the leases expiring on June 30th.  In addition, most of the furniture and equipment at McKinley Middle School has been relocated to other schools in the district, primarily the other five boundary middle schools. There is a strong likelihood that the district may have a closed auction/sale later in the year on a portion of the items that still have value but are no longer needed due to the closure of all four sites.

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KUSD welcomes nine new administrators

At the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) regular school board meeting which was held earlier tonight, nine new administrators were introduced by school superintendent Michele Hancock and congratulated by the entire board.  They were:

  • Assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, Dr. Sue Savaglio-Jarvis (“Dr. Sue”);
  • Executive director of information systems, data management, and evaluation, Kristopher Keckler (“Mr. Kris”);
  • Executive director of community partnerships, Tanya Reuter;
  • Principal of Bradford High School, Dr. Kurt Sinclair;
  • Principal of Mahone Middle School, Teri Huck;
  • Assistant principal of Mahone Middle School, Steve Germain;
  • Assistant principal of Washington Middle School, Brett Basley;
  • Dual-Language Principal of the Edward Bain School of Language and Arts (EBSOLA), Dr. Betzaida Gomez; and
  • Coordinator of student engagement and equity, Paris Echols.

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KUSD partners with community health center

At tonight’s Kenosha Unified School District’s (KUSD’s) Curriculum/Program standing committee meeting, it was announced that, beginning this fall, the Kenosha Community Health Center and the KUSD are collaborating to bring school-based health centers to three elementary schools.  The pilot program is for the following three schools:

  • Brass Community School, 6400 – 15th Avenue;
  • Cesar E. Chavez Learning Station (Head Start Program), 6300 – 27th Avenue; and
  • Curtis Strange Elementary School, 5414 – 49th Avenue.

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KUSD Board approves preliminary budget

At last night’s not quite two-hour-long meeting of the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) board, the board finally unanimously approved the 2012/2013 preliminary budget.

At the February 14, 2012, joint standing committee meeting, the 2012/2013 initial budget assumptions and process was presented.  That report outlined the rationale for administration’s initial revenue and expenditure additions or subtractions to the budget.  The budget assumptions, including the proposed reductions, were approved by the board on February 28, 2012.

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Healthy People Kenosha County 2020 receives $460,000 grant

Healthy People Kenosha County 2020 has announced that it was awarded a Transform Wisconsin grant to spearhead a program that helps Kenosha County residents lead a healthier, more active lifestyle. The grant will invest in promoting physical activity, healthy food systems, and smoke-free living over the next two-and-a-half years.

“This is exciting news for Kenosha County residents,” said Jim Kreuser, Kenosha County executive. “We have been working hard to improve people’s health and with this unprecedented opportunity, we can elevate our work to reach even more citizens.”

Healthy People Kenosha County 2020 received $460,000 to work on three specific areas in the Kenosha County area: expanding smoke-free environments to include apartment buildings, strengthening farm-to-school programs so Wisconsin students have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and increasing physical activity for kids by promoting and implementing open gyms between schools and community agencies.

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KUSD school supt’s contract renewed

In a quick five-minute meeting of the Kenosha Unified School Board (KUSD) earlier this evening, Dr. Michele Hancock’s employment contract was approved.  Sheronda Glass, assistant superintendent of business services, told the board that there were basically no changes to Hancock’s original contract. “She’s not asking for a raise,” said Glass.

Therefore, the board voted unanimously to employ Hancock to serve and perform the duties of superintendent of schools of the KUSD, effective July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2015, followed by a one-year extension to June 30, 2016.  Unless a notice of refusal to extend the term is provided to the superintendent by December 31, 2013, it will be extended until 2016.

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Michele Hancock’s contract renewal deferred

Michele Hancock

One of the agenda items of new business on last night’s Kenosha Unified School District Board meeting was the approval of the renewal of the employment contract for the superintendent of schools, Michele Hancock.  Mary Snyder, board president, said that the item was being deferred due to one of the board members (Tamarra Coleman) being out of town in Nebraska with the Tarzan group.  Also, Snyder stated that they are in the middle of the discussions of the evaluation procedure, and cannot proceed until that discussion is completed.

“The item will be deferred to a special meeting to be held within the next two weeks,” Snyder said.  She wanted to make sure all board members were present for the discussion.

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KUSD “transition” employee handbook adopted with 1 amendment

The “transition” employee handbook for the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) service employees was adopted by the board tonight with one amendment.  The vote was 4 to 2 in favor of adopting the handbook (Bob Nuzzo and David Gallo were the two dissenting voters).

At its June 12, 2012, meeting, the Personnel/Policy Committee voted to forward the “transition” employee handbook to the school board for consideration.

The amendment made by Jo Ann Taube was to keep the “just cause” clause for one more year.  This is a common provision in collective bargaining agreements that establishes specific guidelines for the employers to follow when disciplining or terminating employees.  Bob Nuzzo spoke against the “just cause” clause.  He said that he “ran for the board with accountability.  Just cause doesn’t speak to accountability; at will does.”

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KUSD hands out awards

The Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) School Board held a special meeting earlier tonight to make presentations of the 2012 Special Fine Arts Awards and PTA Reflections Awards.  Mary Snyder, school board president, commented that this is one of her favorite nights.  “We love to honor our students and staff who have been so successful in the various programs.”

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Pam Stevens honored at KUSD Board meeting

At tonight’s regular Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) board meeting, Pam Stevens, departing school board member, was honored with the reading of a resolution of appreciation from board president, Mary Snyder.  Pam was elected to the board in April, 2003, and then served three, three-year terms on the board.  She served two terms as president, three terms as vice president, one term as clerk, and two terms as treasurer.  She served on the following committees during her tenure:  Curriculum/Program; PR/Goals/Legislative; Audit/Budget/Finance; and Personnel/Policy.

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