District budget looking good so far, board told

by Dave Cary
Review Correspondent

PLYMOUTH — At this point, according to Plymouth School District Business Manager Jon Miller, finances appear tranquil for the coming year.

Miller presented the preliminary budget to the School Board Tuesday, which showed slight changes from last year’s budget. Total expenses for the upcoming year are estimated to be about $29,574,779 compared to last year’s $28,435,543, an increase of $113,236; revenues, on the other hand, go from last year’s $28,553,967 to $29,461,263, an increase of $907,296.

All told, these figures would indicate a deficit of $113,516.

The preliminary budget is required by law for the district’s annual meeting next month. A budget typically is a lengthy process, starting in the spring with estimates based on last year’s budget and seen hard figures dribble in from then till fall with several revisions along the way. These figures, then will change between now and final approval later in the fall.

At present, Miller said, “...it looks like for the first time in a long time, the district may not have to resort to short-term borrowing at all in the coming year.” Short-term loans are utilized by many school districts to cover cash flow crunches brought about because revenue collections and expenses ton’t operate on the same timetable.

A few points:

• The state increased aid payments, Miller said, but also is now requiring “building-based” accounting, this will take significant accounting time to restructure accounts so they are in line with this method.

• The district is faced with a significant increase in health insurance costs, but Miller is confident these can be accommodated.

• The district will evaluate a credit card-type of approach to the system used in the cafeteria and for lunches. Food service showed a small profit this year, and that will be maintained. The district will also evaluate some other programs in the food service area.

• Miller said it will be nice to have a fully-funded capital improvement plan, which is the case this year, referring to the items covered by the recent referendum.

Miller said he could not help noticing that what the state passed that increased funding was “...remarkably similar to what we wrote and presented” to state officials earlier this year. He added that this was largely the work and initiative of board president Tim St. Clair.

Board members agreed.

The board unanimously approved the preliminary budget.

• • •

In discussing the Academic Pillar of Excellence for the coming year curriculum director Dan Mella said the the district will remain “heavily engaged” with reading and searching for things that can be done to improve reading achievement levels. As part of this, an expert will come to address all — including support staff members — about this topic.

The district is also focusing on engineering and problem solving, as well as adding things like a class in music theory to its fine arts curriculum.

The physical environments for this, he said, are exemplary nd the planning done in prereferendum will give contractors a head start on projects.

This year, he said district staff will discuss coming up with a new measuring tool or tools for reading proficiency, and ways to communicate the importance of reading and writing skills with some urgency.

The district will also work to develop a health care curriculum; it is now in a planning phase and the district needs to seek partnerships with health care providers.

• • •

The board had to rescind its action on the bread bids from last month due to a procedural error and reconsider the bids. They approved Alpha as provider.

The board also approved HOF as third party buyer for food service. This is done so that food service personnel do not have to go to stores.

In a report from the Facilities subcommittee, board member Bob Travis said the referendum improvements were progressing smoothly and many construction approvals being sought.

So far, he added, everything is within budget.

• • •

Board member Sally Isely, committee liaison to the Community Education leadership, said the new course list was out and people can sign up soon. Among the new course offerings, she said, were Microgardening, Holiday Cheesemaking and Edible Landscaping.

Foundation liaison Bob Travis said planning is underway for the “Party With A Purpose” and volunteers were welcome. The party is scheduled for Nov. 9.

• • •

The board accepted the following gifts and donations:

• A donation of $562.22 from Parkview Elementary School PTK for student transportation to Christopher Gardens, Bookworm Gardens and the nuclear power plant.

• A donation of $867.67 from Fairview Elementary School PTO for student transportation and admission to the Milwaukee Public Museum.

• A donation of $350 from Curt Joa Co. for the machine tool and die program.

• • •

In personnel matters, the board:

• Accepted the resignation of Sarah Paff, Special Ed Teacher at Riverview Middle School effective at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. She has served the district four years.

• Approved a 100 percent contract for Kurt Schulz to be an Alternative Education Teacher at Plymouth High School. Schulz earned his bachelors degree from UWM and Master’s Degree from Viterbo University. He has 13 years’ teaching experience in the Wauwatosa school district. Alternative education involves finding a workable learning package for students who don’t seem to respond well to a classroom setting. Thinking outside the box, in other words.

• Approved a 100 percent contract for Marcus McCauley to be a Special Education Teacher at Plymouth High School. McCauley earned his bachelors degree from Lakeland University and this will be his first year of teaching.

• Approved a 75 percent contract for Denise Roth to teach reading at Horizon Elementary School. Roth earned her bachelors degree from UW-Stevens Point and Masters from Cardinal Stritch University. She has eight years experience teaching reading in the Kohler School District and has worked in various positions for Community Education in the Plymouth School District for three years.

In support staff matters:

• Katie Jonson, cook/server, has resigned after serving the district one year.

• Tricia Hynek, cook/server has resigned after serving the district one year.

• Lori Kaesermann has been hired as school nurse at Riverview Middle School.

• Adrienne Barrett has been hired as a 4K teacher’s aide at Fairview Elementary School.

• Anne Secord has been hired as a special education aide at Fairview Elementary School.

• Sue Challet has been hired as a special education aide at Fairview Elementary School.

• Melissa Hill has been hired as a special education aide at Fairview Elementary School.

• Laura Moseley has been hired as a special education aide at Fairview Elementary School.

• Sompaktra Kalste has been hired as a cook/server at Plymouth High School.

• Amy Kwekkeboom has been hired as a cook/server at Fairview Elementary School.

• Janet Dzwonkowski has been hired as a cook/server at Horizon Elementary School.

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