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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Coleman School Board Considers Community Foundation Investment

Issue Date: August 30, 2017

The Coleman School Board discussed moving a scholarship fund account from a local bank to the M&M Area Community Foundation at its meeting Monday, Aug. 28.

There is currently $163,698 in the George Hansen Memorial Scholarship Fund, down almost $6,000 from when the fund started.

The money is in a certificate of deposit (CD) at Peshtigo National Bank, where High School Principal and District Superintendent Doug Polomis said the school makes 1.1% interest per year, while providing two $1,000 scholarships per year. This means that the school is set to lose another almost $200 this year on the fund, though withdrawing the money would cost $1,600 since the CD hasn't expired yet.

The Foundation would also charge a 1.25 percent fee per year on the money, regardless of whether the fund makes money.

M&M Area Community Foundation Executive Director Paula Gruszynski was present to answer any questions from the board. She said the MMACF was "one of the best bargains for your money. A lot of foundations charge two or even 2.5 percent."

Last year, she said their investment return was 7.2 percent.

"You'd still be at over five percent potential gain," Polomis told the board, saying the board could begin to award larger scholarships if the fund total increased.

School Board President Ryan Wendt asked if the foundation had ever lost money. Gruszynski said that although they weren't around, around 20-30 percent was lost in 2008 and 2009, during the Great Recession.

"If I had money to invest right now, I wouldn't put it in the stock market," Wendt said. "It's so over-inflated in my opinion."

Gruszynski said the money is not all invested in the stock market, as policy dictates no more than 40 percent of money be invested in the stock market in any given year. The actual investment is done by Stephenson National and Nicolet National Banks.

Board member Barbara Krause-Klug responded to Wendt's concerns, saying, "If you don't take that chance, you're going to dwindle it away" Yes, you can lose money because everybody's going to lose money depending on what's happening out in the market, but you have a much better chance of recouping and gaining than if you just stick it in a CD or something."

Board member Scott Herzog expressed concern as well, saying "The part that scares me is that our gains could be seven percent in one year but our losses could be 40, which you'd never get back."

Gruszynski said she's handled the same situation in Crivitz, as a former Crivitz teacher gave the school $201,000.

"Crivitz School District has been through this exact process," Gruszynski said. "The agreement that I put together that I sent to Doug today is a carbon copy of what we did in Crivitz."

The item will come back for more discussion at next month's board meeting.

The board also had an initial discussion during Polomis' report regarding the potential for having to hire a new teacher.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, the elementary school had 18 new students with nine departures. The middle school had four new students and six students leaving from last year. At the high school 11 new students are coming this year, with six leaving, bringing the district total to +12 in overall numbers from last year.

There are just two teachers in second and third grade, with 48 and 51 students in the two grades, respectively. There are 52 students in fourth grade.

"That's a lot of kids in a class," Wendt said. "You start talking 26 kids in a class? That's a lot of kids in a third grade class."

Wendt also asked if a special meeting should be called for next week. Polomis said the school was at these same figures last year, but he would like to wait and see how numbers get finalized before calling an additional meeting.

Polomis asked the board if they would approve a new position at a potential special meeting if the student numbers got too high.

Wendt asked Polomis how high the numbers would need to get in order for an additional teacher to be considered, and Polomis responded that the discussion on the number hadn't been discussed yet with the board.

"When we start getting into 55 or 56, I don't think that's fair to the kids either in some of those grades," Polomis said. "We also know that in years passed, this week is absolutely crazy for students walking in this door and it traditionally has been that way."

He said the state budget being approved in the legislature would be a factor in any decision, and added that he just wanted to put the idea on the board's radar.

In a District Spotlight, Polomis told the board that 60 youth football players from the school and their coaches will be headed to the Green Bay Packers final preseason game Thursday, Aug. 31, as the Packers battle the Los Angeles Rams.

The opportunity was brought forward for the middle school by Bellin Health Athletic Trainer Mark Husen and after more inquiry, tickets were acquired for all youth football players in grades 4-8.

The board approved five resignations, one contract change, three employee transfers and 12 new hirings, though three were volunteer volleyball coaches.

Also approved were elementary student, middle/high school student, support staff, professional staff, and coach/advisor handbooks for the upcoming year with some changes and a continuation of the school's snow plowing/ice removal contract with Dan Risner and Son, LLC at the same rates as last year.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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