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Public hearings set for referendum discussions

Although some of the individual budgetary items remain to be finalized, members of the St. Croix Central School Board agreed that $23.995 million was the bottom line needed to implement a sweeping list of additions and improvements recommended by the Facilities Task Force (FTF). Board members spent a healthy portion of the meeting Monday night considering various options to cut $284,000 from the $24.279 million budget, presented by Tim Kippenhan, Vice President and COO of Miron Construction, to reach the desired number.

“The difficulty is, as much as we say this is the number, you are going to see these numbers go up a $100,000, down $100,000, as we get into these square footages. But from past history we know this (number) is going to be pretty close when all is said and done. Big picture, our goal is, we understand you want it all, we’ve got to make it work,” Kippenhan said.

The two items most likely to take a hit include replacing the existing boilers at the high school, and renovation of the bank building to accommodate the district office.

The board also approved a second resolution to exceed the revenue cap beginning with the 2015-16 school year by an amount not to exceed $300,000. The additional revenue will be used to pay for district operating and maintenance costs associated with the new additions and improvements.     

“We know what we are not spending. We are not spending any more than the referendum,” added Treasurer Scott DeGross.

After a brief discussion led by Board President Howard Kruschke, the board approved a proposed tax levy of $5,183,088 representing a 3.95 percent increase with an estimated mill rate of 0.01054317 (actual rate to be determined after receipt of 2014 valuations) for the 2014-15 school year.  

The board scheduled a special meeting to present both resolutions for public comment immediately following the district’s annual budget hearing scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Elementary School Library on Monday, July 28.

Positive behavior coach

Elementary School Principal Peter Nusbaum outlined a plan to install a Positive Behavior Coach at the Elementary school starting this year. Modeled on the systemic approach used in the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) process, Nusbaum plans to form a committee consisting of teachers and specialists representing each elementary grade charged with identifying what behaviors are expected of students in specific places such as the classroom, bus stop and athletic events.

Nusbaum’s plan calls for a teacher to be designated as the school’s behavior coach to lead an effort to develop a “passport,” a printed tool that describes the expected behaviors. The tool will be distributed to all elementary teachers and specialists to encourage consistency with regard to student behavior across all grade levels. Students who demonstrate expected behaviors will be recognized and rewarded. Nusbaum hopes to be able to present the passport to parents at the open house prior to the start of classes this fall.

Other business

  • Special Education Director Patricia Basche announced the district’s application to offer the General Equivalency Degree Option #2 (GEDO #2) has been approved by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The program will allow district personnel to use the GED test battery to measure proficiency in lieu of high school credit for students enrolled in an alternative education program. If a student can pass the tests, complete specified credits and demonstrate employment skills, he or she will be entitled to receive a traditional high school diploma.
  • Superintendent Tim Widiker reported to the board that the Professional Development team has devised a calendar using Google Apps to delineate specific topics to be addressed during each of the 14 Professional Development Days (PDD) scheduled for the upcoming school year.

“Technology with a focus on Google Apps, curriculum, assessment and educator effectiveness are the big areas we want to focus on this year,” Widiker said.

  • The board approved making the High School Electricity and Electronics Course a Science Equivalency.
  • Building and Grounds Supervisor Greg Green reported that summer maintenance projects at all three district buildings are on schedule to be completed in time for the start of school this fall.