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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Coleman School District Again Benefits from Generous Donors

The Coleman School Board's regular meeting held on Monday, Oct. 24 focused on reviewing and approving multiple matters including certification of the tax levy, approval of the 2016-2017 budget and several donations as well as a resignation. Paula Gruszynski, director of the M&M Area Community Foundation spoke on behalf of the foundation regarding scholarship endowments.

Board President Ryan Wendt spoke briefly on the procedures of public comment. "We like to have open dialogue but if it is not on the agenda we can't discuss it," said Wendt. "I'm not saying don't make public comments, that's why it is on here. Try to get ahold of me or Mr. Polomis and let's try to work these things through the proper channels instead of not being able to discuss topics here."

[By law the board can listen to public comments on any subject but cannot respond unless the item comes up later on the prepared agenda].

Before the board moved into reports a resident of the Coleman School District, Josh Koenig said, "I just wanted to express my appreciation. I really appreciated the thoughtfulness of the board in concerns to the recesses that were discussed at the previous meeting. I like the honesty that our board operates with." He especially thanked Elementary/Middle School Principal, Yvette Marshall for the recent call regarding the money he donated to the special education program. He said he is very pleased with the ideas Mrs. Marshall has in mind to use his contributions toward.

Marshall reported that Coleman Elementary Schoolhad a Literacy Night on Thursday, Oct. 6. A grant was received from the M&M Community Foundation for presenter Lynn Kagelmann, after which the students enjoyed an ice cream social.

"The feedback from the event has been positive," said Marshall. "The teachers, staff and custodial crew did a fabulous job making the event such a success."

She also made note of Fire Prevention Week, where the fire departments of Coleman, Pound and Brazeau treated students to a morning of activities where they learned about fire safety and the importance of having a fire plan. "We'd like to thank Karl Peters for organizing the event as well as our local firefighters who dedicated their time to provide this opportunity, Marshall added"

She then discussed a winter clothing drive that will be held at the Coleman School District. Collections began Oct. 18 and will continue to Nov. 11. "We are in need of new or gently used coats, snow pants, hats and gloves, collection boxes are located in the elementary office and the high school lobby. Disbursement will take place on the morning of Nov. 12 and the afternoon of Nov. 14. All of the donations will stay in the community."

Marshall then thanked United Methodist Church of Harmony for their donations of school supplies.

The Elementary School will hold Parent-Teacher conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 8 and 9. Students will be dismissed at 12:15 p.m. and conference will be held from 1-4 p.m. Students will have a full day of school on Nov. 9th with conferences in the evening from 4-7 p.m.

The 4K program held their October Parent Outreach program, with parents invited to join in pumpkin decorating and fall themed literacy and math games. "We had 14 families in attendance," said Marshall. "A big thank you goes out to Ponderosa Pines and Orchard Valley Farms for their donations.

Before ending her report, Marshall made the board aware of her middle school PBIS students of the month, Molly Seefeldt and Logan Liptak.

Superintendent and High School Principal Doug Polomis in his report stated that the Tackle for Cancer game against Peshtigo was a huge success. "Not only did our football team win the M&O Conference title that night," said Polomis, "but money was raised that evening and was presented Friday, Oct. 28 at the pep assembly to the five ladies with cancer. Special thanks to Tricia Zeitler and Nicole Kaiser who organized the event for the fourth consecutive year. The goal was to raise $20,000 in one night and I am confident the community accomplished this goal," Polomis acknowledged.

Polomis then sent good luck wishes to the Coleman Equestrian Team as they competed at State Friday and Saturday. A blood drive was held at the school on Wednesday, Nov. 2 from noon to 5 p.m. On Tuesday, Nov. 1 Mr. Brady took his Civic students to Madison along with some of the U.S. History students.

The National Honor Society will hold inductions on Monday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. Parent-Teacher conferences are from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8th and from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9. The Veterans Day ceremony is Friday, Nov. 11 at 10 a.m in the high school gym.

After the reports, Paula Gruszynski, director of the M&M Area Community Foundation, spoke to the board on what the Foundation can do for the district.

"We have been around for 21 years," said Gruszynski. "We have $8 million in investments. We have 15 school districts in our service area over Marinette and Menominee Counties. We invest that $8 million with Nicolet and Stephenson Banks," said Gruszynski, adding "We shop local."

Continuing she said, "We have about 100 fund givers that have given us that $ 8 million and we invest their money so they can grant out a portion of the amount," said Gruszynski. "This year they will be giving out about 69 scholarships."

According to the foundation materials, MMACF is a nonprofit organization established in 1994 to meet the current and future needs of local communities. They offer all the tax advantages of charitable giving, long term benefit endowments and the ability to establish a legacy in the name of your or loved one.

Gruszynski stressed that the Foundation covers all of Marinette and Menominee Counties. For example, in 2016 grant recipients included Peshtigo High School Volunteer Club, Coleman School District, Goodman Historical Society, Crivitz Area Youth Group and Menominee County 4H. Other projects were the Marinette Community Center, Rainbow House, and Menominee Youth Baseball.

There are three different grant cycles, Philanthropy, Spring and Women's Giving Circle. The process includes the grant committee to review the application, visit sites to make sure the funds will be used as requested and to highlight the partnership between the requesting agency and the foundation. Every organization can apply twice during these grant cycles.

Also available are donor scholarship funds with application restrictions which can be very loose, for example any girl or boy in any school. "We need to make sure people know about us, to apply for grants and to give back," said Gruszynski.

Smaller gifts are appreciated, whether it's $5 or $50, she added and also mentioned the Furbish Family Fund.

"That can be used for students with medical needs that are not supplied, extracurricular sport fees that a family cannot afford and if there is money left over any potential student going to UW-Marinette can use some of the funds. It's fairly specific and there is an application," Polomis said.

"Going back to the endowment part of my talk, everyone in the community or staff can contribute to that fund," said Gruszynski. "If you wanted to give me a $100 check tonight to put into that fund we could do that. It would be locked in, endowed and invested and will continue to grow and support the community."

She also mentioned that the future Marinette Community Sports and Events Center will cost $12 million to construct and so far $6 million has been gathered.

"The foundation is providing all the administrative support," said Gruszynski. "So when they say somebody pledged and wants to give $100,000 we send them out a pledge form. Or if someone randomly sends in $100 check we send them out a letter in reference to their tax receipt. That is what we call a past refund. We are helping them bring that $6 million in and when they start building it we are going to hand it out to them to pay the bills."

"They also have an endowment with us to keep the lights on in the facility," said Gruszynski.

Wendt asked Gruszynski what the average return rate was for their investments and Gruszynski responded, "We have a very diversified portfolio" it's around 4%, some years it's better some years it's not."

After her address the board moved into matters requiring action. First, they unanimously approved two part-time elementary aides, Heather Patz and Taylor Konop. Lindsey Koenig was approved as a Volunteer Equestrian Coach. Administrator Polomis took some time discussing certification of the tax levy. "At the annual meeting we looked at potentially having a rate of $9.23 per $1,000," he said. "We knew that was going to be tentative. We received the equalization aid amount on Oct. 15 and because this aid was higher than expected, the levy will go down. It is down $0.35 from last year." The total amount to be collected from taxes was set at $4,307,117, with unanimous board approval. The levy for the 2016-2017 year will be $9.14 per $1,000.

The 2016-17 budget was reviewed and approved and the total projected revenues of $7,951,913 are balanced out in expenditures for Fund 10. The annual meeting for 2017-18 will be on Oct. 23, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.

The board then reviewed and approved Youth Options applications for classes not offered in the Coleman School. The three applications under review were all approved. The next six items involved donations the school received from various institutions. First was a donation from Kotecki Veterinary Service in the amount of $760.11 which was approved. "A certain percentage of their sales is given back to a school of his choice. He matches the funds with his personal funds which is just so nice," said Wendt.

Zoetis's donation of $588.84 was approved. Zoetis is the pharmaceutical company which Kotecki Veterinary Services uses to help support the Coleman FFA. "They donate money to AG schools. We are the only school in Marinette County that has an AG program so we benefit from this check," said Polomis.

The Cougar Community Booster Club donated $1,090 for a new popcorn machine and $365 for the high school choir for a new Yamaha booster which was approved. Coleman-Pound Lioness club donated $300 to be put toward the Washington D.C. trip and the Lions Club also donated money for the trip in the amount of $480. The Knights of Columbus Council #6689 provided $1951.42 to be applied to the Coleman Special Education Fund.

"I know it takes time in meetings to go over donations, but it shows how the community really backs our school, it's a great thing." said Wendt. The board approved the resignation of Jody Krueger-Rhode as the high school cheerleading advisor position. She will be finishing the football season. The next regular meeting is Monday, Nov. 14 at 7 pm.


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