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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Coleman School Tax Rate Stays at $9.62

Issue Date: October 28, 2021

Coleman School Board and the three members of the public present for a sparsely attended budget hearing and annual meeting on Monday, Oct. 25, adopted a balanced budget with an operating levy of $5,389,688 supported by a tax rate of $9.62 per $1,000 of equalized value, the same as it has been for the last six years.

The budget provides for paying another significant portion of the money borrowed for the recent school building renovations, which District Administrator Doug Polomis explained will save the district a great deal of money in interest payments over the years, and get the referendum debt paid off in 2019, rather than the 20 years that voters had approved.

In other action at the annual meeting the board approved a slight raise for Board President Ryan Wendt on a split vote, with Wendt opposed. Before the vote Corey Kuchta had argued strongly that because of the extra effort from the board president there should be more of a pay difference between him and other board members. Scott Herzog had moved to keep the pay unchanged, at $1,675 per year for the president and clerk, and $1,583 for other board members, plus $36 for each evening meeting and $66 for each all-day meeting. Clerk Joanne Nowak said she does not do as much extra work as the board president, and pay for her post was sufficient. Herzog's motion, with a second from Nowak, was rejected in favor of an amendment that results in pay for Wendt being increased to $2,100 per year and pay for the clerk and other board members unchanged. Wendt cast the sole vote against his raise.

Polomis and Wendt both lamented the $338,285 that comes from the Coleman School Budget to pay for voucher students attending private and/or parochial schools. Voucher payments will continue to increase through 2026. Polomis said last year there was a surge in the number of families that used the voucher provisions.

Under regular open enrollment, Coleman has 67 students coming in from other districts, and 68 students out to other students. Polomis said the district has fewer students who qualify for free and reduced lunches, which affects state aid amounts. Polomis felt with meals provided free to all students due to Covid programs, fewer families filled out the necessary paperwork for free lunches.

At the board meeting that followed, the board approved Polomis' recommendation to hire retired teacher Judy Brown to serve as Temporary Lead Teacher for Elementary/Middle School to replace Elementary/Middle School Principal Yvette Marshall, whose resignation effective immediately was accepted by the board on Monday, Oct. 11. Marshall's resignation letter from her post as Director of Administrative Services expressed regret to be leaving Coleman, and said she had accepted a position in the Green Bay school system.

During public comment time at the start of that meeting, Kuchta commented that Coleman had cancelled all student overnight trips until the end of this year, while the Lena School District 8th and 9th Grade class trip to Washington, DC had gone forward as scheduled. He noted Coleman had halted the trip out of concern for what they would do if a student developed Covid while on the bus trip, and Lena School Board had decided to deal with that possibility the same way they would if any kid was injured or became ill from any cause while traveling with the group.

Kuchta noted the Washington DC trip for Coleman students is now scheduled for March, and declared, "I hope this board lets our students get on with life...I would hate to see us cancel again in March." Kuchta said he had been planning to go on October trip, but will not be able to go in March.

The board approved hiring Stephen Reinhold as an assistant volunteer basketball coach, and Judy Bintz as a volunteer assistant coach for girls basketball.

They accepted donations of $100 for the music department from Lorie and Don Karban in memory of Peg Cummings, and $300 from Gary Kotecki of Kotecki Veterinary Service for the FFA. "It amazes me how generous he is," Nowak commented.

In his monthly report to the board, Polomis declared the open house, Tackle Cancer Game and Homecoming festivities on Oct. 1 had been a huge success. "The weather was ideal and the turnout was exceptional." he declared. A total of $29,740 was raised for local women with breast cancer.

He thanked staff for conducting tours of the renovated buildings every 15 minutes during the open house, and said there had ben many positive comments from community members, who were impressed with how well their tax dollars had been spent.

"This community amazes me with its generosity," Polomis said, and added that the importance of giving back to the community is a lesson that can never be taught in a classroom.

He had met on Oct. 6 with representatives from NWTC and Wausaukee and Crivitz School districts to discuss the Northwoods Academy program, where Coleman students will have an opportunity to earn certificates in autos, welding, electro-mechanical, IT and nursing assistant. There is to be an open house in Wausaukee on Wednesday, Dec. 1 for sophomore students.

Polomis said school officials had met with Bray Architects on Monday, Oct. 18 to discuss plans for renovations to be done next summer to the Pre-K, music room and district office.

On Tuesday, nov. 2 the local American legion post will have their monthly meeting in the high school cafeteria, and for any of them, this will be their first look at the Wall of Valor.

Parent Teacher conferences are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 5 from 1 to 7 p.m. There is to be a Veterans Day ceremony at 10 a.m. in the high school gymnasium on Veterans' Day - Thursday, Nov. 11.

Bids for renovating the outdoor tennis courts and converting them into multi-purpose courts for tennis, basketball hoops, pickle ball and shuffle board will be opened on Monday, Nov. 8 and acted on at the next board meeting.

Polomis congratulated the football team and boys cross country track team for taking the conference titles.


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