School Board gives budget final nod

by Dave Cary Review Correspondent

PLYMOUTH — With little discussion, the Plymouth School Board certified the district tax levy for 2015-16 and approved the district budget for the same year.

The board and district voters had approved preliminaries of both last month. Business manager Jon Miller said that in the interim there were only minor variations from these versions.

In the approved version, the levy is continuing the downward trend it has shown recently, going from $12,369,224 in 2014 to $11,343,022 this year and falling to $11,271,617 next year. This year’s reduction will amount to .038 percent.

Next year’s budget calls for revenues of $27,165,638 and expenses of $27,303,303, which will mean a decrease in fund balance of $909,423.

Because revenues tend to come in when property tax installments are collected, but expenses continue more or less all the time, many districts are compelled to borrow short-term to have cash when it is needed. The board also approved borrowing up to $2.8 million short-term from Bank First National utilizing a line of credit.

• • •

Fittingly, in the same month the board accepted a donation of 75 snow blower engines

(see below) it also selected the company that will handle snow plowing in the upcoming year. Winning bidder was C&S Construction of Sheboygan Falls. C&S took over the snow plowing business from the district’s former vendor when that vendor went out of the plowing business.

Interestingly, the bid specifications call for per-event quotes for salt only, for snow removal with salting included depending on depth of snow handled, the hourly cost of equipment and equipment available.

The engines are among the following gifts:

• A donation of $5,250 from Joe and Janice Niedzialkowski to the Instrumental Band Department of Plymouth High School, in memory of their son Eddie.

• A donation of an electric wheelchair for student use, given by Jennifer Spindler.

• A 2001 Buick Century auto from Metco, Inc., to be used in the Automotive Department of Plymouth High School.

• A portable platform, donated by Charles Haakma to the Drama Department at Plymouth High School.

• 75 snow blower engines, given to the Plymouth High School Technology Department by the Toro Company.

• • •

Assistant Superintendent Dan Mella presented for board consideration a package of updates to the district’s Academic Pillar Strategic Plan. The plan’s overall goal is to prepare all students for post-high school experience with a view toward personal success. The board approved a comparable package of updates to the financial component of the plan last month.

Mella said that the district leadership staff will concentrate on developing “pathways” of study in grades 5-8, which concentrate on various fields, such as science, math, etc. in a team approach.

Another update, Mella said, would be creation of a district report card which would be a yearly event comparable in some ways to the State Report Card, but which would contain evaluations of different data. Mella said the district would be something of a pioneer in this endeavor; a few districts are working on a similar concept, he said, but not very many.

• • •

In Personnel matters:

• Patty Krupp, Riverview Middle School custodian, will retire Nov. 13 after 24-years in the district.

• Charlene Nelson, Horizon Elementary School secretary, will retire Nov. 20 after 25-years with the district.

• Nancy Severn, special education aid at Riverview resigned effective last September after nine years in the district.

• Anita Garcia has been hired to fill a vacant special education aide position at Riverview

Middle School.

• • •

Richard York, the board’s liaison to the Community Education Committee, said he was pleased with the turnout for the ongoing “One Book, One Community” program. In the program, people read a single book - in this case “To Set A Watchman” by Harper Lee - and meet to hear remarks about it and have the opportunity to participate in a discussion.

Bob Travis, board liaison to the Plymouth Education Foundation, said the grand opening of the Food Science and Technology building drew some 500 people and was a success.

Travis also said the “Pay It Forward” challenge had netted some $8,000 for the district, with class of 1965 alumni contributing most. The earliest class represented, he said, was 1948 and the farthest-residing alumni to attend came from Hawaii.

Board President Tim St. Clair said he wanted to clarify what has been rumored about a proposed “Concealed Carry” law; the proposal has nothing to do with K-12. The proposal he was referring to would apply to college/university students only.

St. Clair said he approached a legislator about a possible repeal of the federal “Healthy Lunch” law. St. Clair expressed annoyance last month that schools have little to say about operating their hot lunch programs. The program lost $16,000 this year, he said, and he felt this could have been avoided.


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