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Somerset Board of Education approves 2016-17 budget

By a unanimous vote, members of the Somerset Board of Education adopted a budget for the 2016-17 school year of $16,975,154.42 at their meeting Monday night.

Board members also certified a tax levy in the amount of $5,018,697 for the 2016-17 school year. The levy is intended to defray the costs to operate and maintain the public schools in the district.

The financial flurry continued when the board approved a resolution authorizing the district to temporarily borrow up to $1,700,000.

“We are fortunate that in this year we are able to burrow a lower, lesser amount and we’re getting a very favorable rate even though we’re only a two rather than a three, but two is still quite good for people that bid on that bond, so thank you, Dave [Gerberding], for your work on that,” Marie Colbeth , the board’s vice president said.

District director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment, Trisha Sheridan, walked board members through a brief summary of the student assessment results released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction last week.

Sheridan reported teaching staff and building administrators have been working with the test data since August evaluating what it means for their students and adjusting their teaching strategies appropriately.

The data was compiled from three sources, the Forward Exam, Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM), and the ACT Suite.

Forward Exam evaluate ELA and math in grades 3-8, science in grades 4 and 8, and social studies in grades 4, 8 and 10.

Dynamic Learning Maps evaluate the skills of special needs students; grades 3-11, in ELA and math; grades 4 and 8-11 in science; and grades 4, 8 and 10 in social studies.

The ACT Suite employs ACT Aspire to evaluate students’ skills in grades 9 and 10, ACT + Writing to evaluate reading, English, math, science and writing in grade 11, and ACT WorkKeys to evaluate student skills in grade 11.

The district’s results are available for review on the district website at

Overall, district results compared favorably to state and national averages.

The district Forward/DLM ELA composite score of 45.9 (Proficient or Better) compared favorably to the state average of 43.5. The scores specifically for grades 5 (31.6 vs. 43.6) and 8 (37.1 vs. 42.1), fell short of the state averages.

The district Forward/DLM math composite score of 44.7 (Proficient or Better) compared favorably to the state average of 43.3. The scores specifically for grades 5 (39.5 vs 45.5) and 8 (26.8 vs 34.6), fell short of the state averages.

The district Forward/DLM Science composite score of 55.1 (Proficient or Better) compared favorably to the state average of 51.2.

The district Forward/DLM social studies composite score of 55.2 (Proficient or Better) compared favorably to the state average of 51. The score specifically for grade 8 (48.5) fell short of the state average (50.6).

The district’s grade 11 ACT average scores beat the state average in four of the five testing disciplines. Only in writing did the district score of 16.6 fall short of the state average of 16.7.

Asked for her impression of the data overall, Sheridan responded, “It’s time to set some bigger goals. I’m excited that we are going to have data from two years of the same assessment because we did see some very big discrepancies. We are asking lots of questions and setting lots of goals. There’s room for improvement. Lots of exciting little parts, but we want to see some of the big parts and hopefully that’s right around the corner.”

High school business education instructor Jen Sutton’s student entrepreneur class was presented with a check for $10,500 from First National Community Bank. The check was awarded in conjunction with a business plan to create a student-run, non-profit school store which was presented to bank representatives. As part of the agreement between the students and the bank, $2,500 of the donation must be reserved to fund student scholarships going forward with the balance of $8,000 to be used to create the store. The intention behind the store is to use any money made to fund student scholarships down the road.