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 Post subject: School District Budget
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 12:29 am 
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I attended a meeting of the Tomahawk School board this evening. The meeting was an open forum to get community input concerning ways for us to make up the budget shortfall that we are going to have in this school year. I don't know if any other forum members might have attended, but I would be interested in hearing what you think we should do. Even if you don't live here I know that this is a problem almost everywhere else. Maybe your school district has done something that we should look at doing.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 8:37 am 
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I went to that School Board advisory meeting to learn what steps this administration and School Board intended to take to reduce the severe tax burden on the citizens of this District. If there was a plan, they didn’t tell us. They wanted input. The input I have is tough:
1. One principal for each school.
2. Cut the number of supervisors, teachers, aides, and support staff.
3. Re-negotiate all contracts.
4. Stop paying for classes not on campus
5. Make all extracurricular activities self-paying.
6. Move the administrator back to the School Building.
7. No more in-service days.

Item number one: One principal for the entire school would be better.

Item number two: There are fewer students. You don’t need all those teachers/aides. You don’t need an assistant administrator, even if she did move over to the school. She is still an extra body that can be cut. Custodian services might be better contracted than directly paid for by the District. Has anyone looked into temp agencies for this service?

Item number three: Whenever Big Business is in financial trouble, they ask for concessions from their workers. If concessions will be not be made, then lay everyone off and begin again. A job that may pay less is better than no job at all. I’m sure that the well-intended “educators” will see that the concessions are needed.

Item number four: Stop all off-campus classes. One day before Christmas break, Sara Park became a classroom as many of the students went there for skating. If someone wants to go to Nicolet, then ask the parents to pay for it. Sorry, but going to Diary Queen or Noah’s Ark doesn’t constitute a good day of learning. The School District asked for an expanded building, use it.

Item number five: If a child wishes to play sports, music, whatever, then the take the total cost of the activity (including coaches’/conductors’ salary and benefits, the use of the gym, etc) and divide it by the number of students in that activity. Playing basketball when it costs substantially more than a pair of Nikes is the kind of reality check needed for students and parents alike.

Item number six: The real estate market isn’t the best right now, but upkeep on this building is a financial drain.

Item number seven: These are the days of teleconferencing and internet. Are so many days really needed for parent/teacher face offs? The whole school doesn’t need to close when only a few teachers attend those conferences. Teaching is not for sissies.

They didn't call it a crisis but when you are drowning in a sea of red ink, it is a crisis. You can’t have everything: sports, arts, small class sizes, gifted and talented programs, the library (even though there is an under-utilized one at the end of Lincoln Street). And you can not bankrupt the community. Offer what the District can afford. GET OUT OF DEBT. What a concept!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 10:19 am 
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One point of consern is the administration building. With declining enrollments and all the room gained by the new additions on the school perhaps it is time to sell the building, eliminate the costs of maintaining it and recover the value of it. I always felt that the school administrator should be at the school where he has contact with the people he works with and this would be a good opportunity to make this move.

Another thing that bothers me is the idea of cutting classes to fifteen students per class.

Give me a break !

That sounds more like trying to justify some of the teachers keeping their jobs even if there is nothing for them to really do. Any teacher that can not handle twenty to twenty-five students needs to think of looking for a different profession. I can see that need in special Ed. classes but not in the general school population.

I also feel that sports and other extra curicular should charge a modest fee to participate. It doesn't have to pay the entire bill but should at least help defray some of the expenses.

I am sure there are other places where expenses can be cut, but these would be a good start.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 12:16 pm 
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First let me say that my children do not attend the Tomahawk Public School District. One of my children attends St. Mary’s Catholic School and the others are not yet school age. This means that my husband and I are not only pay taxes for the public school but also sacrifice financially to pay for tuition for St. Mary's School. Our children will one day attend Tomahawk Schools and I agree that there needs to be a conscious effort to control school costs; however, certain ideas presented for how the school costs should be cut are not well researched.

>>If someone wants to go to Nicolet, then ask the parents to pay for it.<<

There are requirements that a school district must adhere to, as put forth by the Wisconsin Statutes and by Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

No. Sections 118.55-5,6,and 7r,
Wis. Stats, and Article X, Section 3,
of the Wisconsin Constitution make it
clear that the school district is
responsible for these costs when both
high school and college credit are
requested.

This is not a choice for the School District, it is required.

>> Item number five: If a child wishes to play sports, music, whatever, then the take the total cost of the activity (including coaches’/conductors’ salary and benefits, the use of the gym, etc) and divide it by the number of students in that activity.<<

I guess that these activities will be reserved only for those children whose parent’s are affluent. In other words, if the parent’s cannot afford to pay the fees then “tough luck” for their children. I think that this one constitutes economic discrimination. I agree with Old Scout that a MODEST fee could be charged for extra-curricular activities.

There does need to be cost effective decisions made concerning our school district; however, when identifying “solutions” we need to consider requirements put forth by the state, which are many, and we should also make sure these “solutions” will not adversely affect our children’s education nor should they prevent students from taking part in available activities. With society expecting more from our children we need to provide our children with the tools they need to compete in society. This means providing schools that will give our children the best possible education.

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