Committee Mtgs: May 18, 2015

Four WGSD meetings were held on Monday, May 18th. The first three meetings were committees, and the fourth meeting was the monthly meeting of the full board. You can watch specific portions of each meeting using the list of topics and the corresponding time stamps below.

As Chair of the Personnel and Finance Committee I want to draw attention to an important issue that I have made a priority. The idea is that we market our school district in an attempt to hold off a projected decline in student enrollment. I discussed marketing WGSD for the first time as a school board member at the May committee meetings, but marketing our school district was always a major issue for me when running for school board.

Posted by Matt Kranich on 6/1/2015
WGSD Parent and WGSD School Board Member

A Summary of the Declining Enrollment Issue

Over the next 4 years WGSD is projected to have a net loss of approximately 100 students, or 25 students per year on average. This is a conservative estimate and takes into consideration the expected enrollment increase that will result from next year’s 4K program. Note: The district wide 4K program that will start next year is estimated to increase WGSD’s enrollment by approximately 50 FTEs (full time equivalents).

A loss of 100 students over the next 4 years would cause WGSD’s portion of state aid to be reduced by approximately $1.4 million in the 2018-19 school year. As a result, the school tax levy would have to increase by approximately 3.5% each year for four consecutive years just to make up for the average annual decrease in state aid. This means our local school tax levy would be about 14% higher in 2018-19 if we do nothing to stop this trend in declining enrollment. Cutting district spending proportionately would be one way to try and solve this problem, but such a decision would mean steep cuts in staff and district programs. Raising class sizes and eliminating programs would make WGSD much less attractive to families looking for a better community to move to. The end result might be an acceleration of our declining enrollment with more cuts needed.

Read my March 2015 post titled Declining Enrollment and the “4K effect”

In order to slow, stop, or reverse our declining enrollment trend, I will propose some basic ideas for how we can market the WGSD to families in surrounding communities. This information will be shared at the June 8th Personnel and Finance Committee meeting, followed by input from the full school board and WGSD administration. The committee chairs (Matt Kranich and Tom Hoffman) would then have to decide if the idea is worth developing further, and whether or not to bring it to the full board for more discussion and possible action. Community members always have the opportunity to provide input before the school board votes on action items. I am happy to say that at the May 18th meeting all members of the WGSD school board felt that this was an idea worth pursuing.

The school board also agreed with my preference to work with a professional photographer, preferably a WGSD staff member, to capture high quality pictures of our students and staff in action before they break for the summer. By doing this we may be able create some high quality marketing pieces and attract families that are still making decisions before the 2015-16 school year. Late last week I was informed that we do indeed have a professional photographer on staff and she has agreed to work on this goal despite the short notice and limited time left in the school year.

Technology Committee
0:47 Point-to-point wireless connection at Trailside
3:41 Board docs training session
6:52 Sixth grade student machines (use existing middle school machines or purchase new Chromebooks/Windows device)

Building & Grounds Committee
39.50 Parking lot repairs/maintenance
52:38 HVAC maintenance contract
1:08.20 Cement work for EG delivery area

Personnel & Finance Committee
1:15.01 Open meetings rules for committee chairpersons
1:17.00 Check ledger and current budget status
1:23:45 Financial Institution Contract & CESA contracts
1:28.26 LGPIF Policy
1:32.50 Budget Forecast for 2015-16 by former district administrator- Revenue Variables
1:41.52 Budget Forecast for 2015-16 by former district administrator – Expenditure Variables
1:44.01 Budget Forecast for 2015-16 by former district administrator – Summary
1:46.55 Budget Comments and Questions from Matt Kranich
1:51.00 History about local legislators suggest WGSD start a 4K program
1:52.40 Requesting bids for employee health and dental insurance
1:55.58 Administrative caution regarding flipping insurance companies
1:57.05 Proposed OPEB Contributions Decreased in 2015-16 Budget
2:00.45 Current 4K Open Enrollments (about 90)
2:01.53 Open enrollment impact on budget – request for 5 years of data
2:06.09 Proposed discussion on comprehensive marketing plan for district to stop the projected decline in enrollment (best case projection is a reduction of 100 students, causing a reduction of $1.4 million in state aid which would then require an increase in the local school tax levy of 14% or equivalent decrease in staff and student services
2:08.45 Hire professional photographer, ideally a current staff member, to take photos of our staff and students in action

Regular Board Meeting
2:15.01 Consent Agenda
2:18.49 Administrative Update – former district administrator
2:20.29 Policy Updates
2:21.41 Administrative Update – Kathy Hoppe
2:23.15 Administrative Update – Mentor/Mentee Program – Jane Aegerter
2:25.55 Technology Update – Kannan Heath
2:27.02 Principal Reports
2:35.00 Committee Reports
2:37.35 Action Items
– Take action to approve TaG Plan Modifications (including advanced ELA courses at Fox River) – – Take action to approve Fox River Student Handbook Updates
– Take action to approve individual employment contract for 2015-16 (teacher)
– Take action to approve resolution for Associated Bank to continue as the District’s financial institution/depository
– Take action to approve on any technology equipment purchases
– Take action to approve maintenance project bids
– Take action to approve gifts of an iPod and kindergarten yearbooks to the three elementary schools
– Take action to approve continuing agreements with CESA’s 1, 2 & 6
– Take action to approve resolution to exit the Local Government Property Insurance Fund
– Take action to approve 2nd reading of Board Policies 537, 662.1, 665 & 815

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