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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Marinette School Budget Deficit Is Down $300,000

At its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 18, the Marinette School Board approved its 2016-2917 budget. The tax rate will decrease from 0.944 to 0.879 per $1,000 of equalized value. The most important savings were made by trimming administrative costs by about $100,000, along with staffing changes and other measures totaling approximately $300,000.

Brian Walters, the district's Business and Finance Director announced the good news that the annual budget deficit is projected to drop by almost $300,000 this year, from $805,000 down to $528,000. However, he warned that while the district still has a very good fund balance that was built up over time, they cannot keep dipping into it. "That's not sustainable...That"s why we need to have a plan to balance in short order," he declared. He told the board they will need to make tough choices and only keep things in the budget that have the most impact on achieving their goals.

Another major decision was to terminate coverage of district employees in the Long Term Care insurance policy offered by WEA Trust with a resulting savings of about $420,000 a year. There had been some dissatisfaction over the policy in recent years, but available options were limited. Annual fee increases of over 10% were projected this year, so the board voted to end the arrangement. The savings will disbursed in a manner still to be determined, but the board was told they will accrue to the benefit of the employees in any event. It was pointed out that neighboring school districts had been faced with the same dilemma and similar moves had been made by their boards.

Status the Capital Master Plan, an ongoing multi-year construction program, was updated in a report by Schneider Electric. Their work is included in the Priority 1 phase of the project and is classified in this way because the repairs in question need to be made within a year or two.

The Schneider Electric report stated that all electric service and safety studies have been completed and all lighting issues have been addressed. The company has issued a 20 year warranty. They projected that the enhanced efficiency of the modernizations they provided will lead to a savings of around $190,000 a year in the district's electric bill.

Four new appointments were made by the school board. Lynn Cohan and Megan Dubrock were hired as Special Education Paraprofessionals, filling vacancies formed by the resignation of L. LaPrise and transfer of Sharon Schweitzer to the Alternative School at Marinette High School. Dave Klegin was hired as the Assistant Varsity Boy's Basketball Coach and the position of JV2 Boy's Basketball Coach was awarded to Brad Golz.

A presentation by teachers and four 8th grade students - Jonathan Bieber, Sherrie Wu, Heather Camps, and Isabella Soderberg - showed that the use of Chromebook helped them to facilitate coursework, improve grades, and lead to better communication among students, parents, and teachers.

Also appreciated were the opportunity to take advanced classes such as High School Spanish or Geometry and the new technology of "virtual experience.' This was said to bring down the cost of field trips and class work supplies.

January graduation was approved for Krysta Charbaneau, who will be joining the United States Air Force. The board was told she has already scored highly on her ASVAB test and will be completing all of her high school graduation requirements this semester, so she is almost ready to go.


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