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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Coleman School District Voters To Decide Two Referendum Questions

Issue Date: January 17, 2018

Coleman School District voters are being asked to provide funds for some building upgrades that a 25-member Citizens Advisory Committee has determined are much needed, and other improvements they feel are highly desirable. Ballots on Tuesday, April 3 will include two referendum questions for electors, not three as incorrectly reported in last week's Peshtigo Times.

Referendum question No. 1 will ask to borrow "Not to exceed, $10,850,000 for the purpose of paying for the cost of District-wide improvements and upgrades to the existing school facility including: building infrastructure, life safety and energy efficiency upgrades; secure entrance reconfiguration; elementary classroom, gymnasium, kitchen and cafeteria upgrades, expansion of the high school cafeteria and related equipment."

Referendum question No. 2 asks for authorization for the board to borrow additional funds, "Not to exceed $2,980,000 for the purpose of paying for upgrades for the costs of renovating the science, technology, engineering, agriculture, art and math (STEAM) areas of the High School building and related equipment."

If both projects are approved, authorized spending would total not more than $13,830,000. "The two projects would improve infrastructure and maximize the functionality of the existing building while adding a small addition to address security and expand the cafeteria space," District Administrator Doug Polomis explained.

Recommendation for the referendum questions and the specific building improvement projects they would authorize and finance came from the Coleman Facilities Committee (CFC) after studying issues and ideas at a series of nine meetings over a 10-month period. The CFC findings were presented and discussed in detail at the board meeting on Monday, Dec. 11.

Polomis noted the CFC included "a cross-section of over 25 community members who were asked to review and analyze all data and provide a recommendation that is cost-effective for the community, energy efficient and adaptable for the future."

At its regular monthly meeting on Monday, Jan. 8 the School Board adopted three resolutions aimed at bringing the two questions to referendum on April 3, and financing the projects if the voters say yes. Vote was five to one, with board Member Jamie Graetz opposed and Jeremy Hoida, Scott Herzog, Barb Krause-Klug, Barb VanDrisse and Board Chair Ryan Wendt voting in favor. Joanne Nowak was absent.

During discussion prior to adopting the three resolutions, Polomis asked the board to look at the resolution language in the board packet. He said if they decided later in the evening to proceed with the referendum this is the language that must be approved.

First of the three resolutions authorized issuance of general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $10,850,000. He said if approved this would be Question No. 1

on the ballot for the spring election to be held on April 3, and it was approved later by the five to one vote.

The second resolution authorized issuance of general obligation bonds in an amount not to exceed $2,980,000, which would be Question 2 on the spring ballot. Purpose of the second funding authorization would be to finance the proposed "STEAM" projects at the high school building, Polomis said. That resolution also was approved later in the meeting by the five to one margin.

The third and final resolution, "Providing For A Referendum Election On The Questions Of The Approval Of Two Initial Resolutions Authorizing Issuance Of General Obligation Bonds In An Aggregate Amount Not To Exceed $13,830,000" also was approved by the five to one board vote.

The third resolution was needed to authorize borrowing the total aggregate amount needed if both resolutions are approved.

Polomis said he has been working with Atty. Thomas Griggs regarding the paperwork they need to be in compliance and said he feels very comfortable with Atty. Griggs knowledge in this matter.

According to information provided by Polomis and the CFC, if question one passes, the mill rate on properties in the Coleman School District will increase 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. "If your home is assessed at $100,000, you could see an impact of $47 per year. If question two were to pass, another 50 cents would be added to the mill rate. If both questions passed, the mill rate would increase by 97 cents per $1,000 of property value, which equates to $97 per year for every $100,000 of property value."

At previous meetings discussion had included the fact that the district's only remaining long-term debt, on bonds issued for a previous facilities improvement project, will be paid off in 2018. It was felt that since the old referendum debt is about to be paid off, this would be a good time to do needed improvements and infrastructure upgrades with minimal impact on taxpayers.

At the start of the board's discussion on the bonding resolutions, Wendt , who had been a member of the CFC, explained, "We put together the best plan that we could based on the community survey."

"I know this is a lot of money," he added, but commented it is a lot less than some other districts are asking voters to approve. "Some of these other schools are starting over, which is crazy." He said he was glad that Coleman has kept its infrastructure up so they only have to do renovating, not replacing. For Coleman, Wendt said, "This is a culmination of decades of positive action, of keeping our facilities up so we don't have to be building it new."

Krause-Klug agreed. "This (the proposed renovation/expansion plan) is what we need to keep our district functioning, doing well and looking good!"

A member from the audience said at a recent wrestling tournament he had heard people saying a lot of really positive things about the proposed improvements.

Wendt commented in any case, the board and administration are making the recommendation, "...but it's not our decision...We're a public body...It's up to them to decide." he repeated later, "I won't make these decisions. Let the community decide."

The first resolution then was approved. Moving to the second resolution, Wendt explained the first question to be placed on the referendum ballot is for the core things that must be done. The second, he said, "addresses a lot of the community's needs as we see it."

The second resolution was later approved, as was the third, authorizing the board to borrow an aggregate amount not to exceed $13,830,000. This would be needed if the two referendum questions authorizing both parts of the project are approved. Apparently the board will need to decide whether or not to proceed with the less costly improvements should the $10.85 million referendum question be rejected and the second question be approved.

All board votes on the resolutions were five to one, with Graetz opposed and Nowak absent.

Hoida asked for assurance that the community will be provided with information on what exactly will be done. Polomis said the referendum questions on the ballot will explain what each authorizes.

That discussion was followed by a long discussion on how information on the two referendum questions will be relayed to the public.

Craig Uhlenbrauck from Miron Construction congratulated the board on passing the three resolutions. He then advised the board on how they can handle discussion of referendum issues.

Board members, administration and staff at board meetings and other official presentations, must present strictly factual information, without effort to influence votes.

As individuals, "on your own time," outside of board meetings and formal informational sessions, "You can express your opinions just like anyone else. As a district resident, you have that right," Uhlenbrauck declared. He said board members can, as individuals, write letters to the editor knock on doors, and do whatever else they want to encourage or discourage passage of the referendum questions.

He said groups can organize to promote yes or no vote, but as to Miron and Bray, "everything we do will be strictly informational, "so people can make the right, informed decisions." There will be no additional cost to the district for the company's informational efforts, Uhlenbrauck said.

Polomis also had given board members a list of do's and don'ts provided by legal counsel.

Timetables and plans for publicizing the referendum questions were discussed at some length. A handout was part of the board packet so the members have the information as a reference until the election.

The district along, with Miron, is working on a fact sheet that will be available for the public around the beginning of February. There will be a mailer going out to district residents around the end of February with referendum information. Brey is working on a referendum logo, which he described as "a visual to be used on all the publicity pieces," a reminder with the referendum date and other information built in. The informational sheets will also include tax impact information, and explain exactly what makes up resolutions 1, 2 and 3.

He said there will be one simple sheet that gives a synopsis of the project. There will be information posted around the community, plus a mailing to all district residences to be sure everybody gets the information.

Polomis will be going to municipality meetings and local service group meetings in February and March to relay the factual referendum information to the community. Postcards will be mailed late March with a reminder to vote. On March 7 and March 22 there will be open houses at the school for people to tour the buildings and get their questions answered.

As to exact cost of borrowing, Uhlenbrauck said interest rates are so low right now that this is a good time to borrow. Their impact estimates are based on 4 percent, but right now they can borrow at 3.25 percent.

Wendt commented the interest rate doesn't affect the bottom line of the costs, "but it does affect the bottom line of how much taxes we pay."

There is to be a detailed presentation of referendum information for school staff on Monday, Jan. 22.

At the start of the meeting, Maggie Koch, on behalf of Bellin Health, presented the district with a hands only CPR kit to be used in the health course that all high school students must take in order to graduate. All students will be taught CPR with the use of this kit by Mrs. Mitchell, school nurse.

Mrs. Lindsay Allen, high school guidance counselor, gave a presentation on ACP (Academic & Career Planning) which is now a state requirement for all districts to implement in grades 6 through 12.

She described ACP as " a collaboratively developed, student-driven process where students cultivate their own informed decisions for post-secondary success." she added that research on the benefits indicates that the ACP process increases student motivation, engagement, school connection, and awareness of individual strengths and weaknesses.

She added that students utilizing ACP also improve their understanding of postsecondary options, better connect their goals to educational coursework and career goal activities, and engage in long-term planning for life after high school graduation.

"Career Cruising" is the software being used by 6 through 12 students to track and document their work. This software is provided by the state. Middle school and high school students have dedicated time to work on their ACP. Even though it is not required, elementary students are also being exposed to ACP. The ACP model is Know, Explore, Plan, Go," Allen said. She explained they need to "Know - Who am I? Explore - What do I want to do? Plan - How do I get there? Go - complete and revise as needed." ACP committee members besides Allen are: Katee Seyler, Jeremy Brady, Heidi Delzer, Derek Tate, Betty Beschta and Chad Behnke along with Polomis and Middle School/Elementary School Principal Yvette Marshall.

In her monthly report, Marshall thanked Mrs. Bader and Mr. Doersam other staff that helped organize winter programs for elementary students and the band/choral concerts. The community/family turnout was great, she said. Seventh grade students were to go to Ski Brule for a field trip on January 10th, which was organized and planned by Mr. Skrupky, Phy Ed Teacher. Elementary students will end the semester on Friday, Jan. 19th with crazy hair day.

From Monday, Jan. 22 through Friday, Feb. 9 Coleman kindergarten students will be aired on CAT country radio saying the Pledge of Allegiance, which had been recorded on Monday, Jan. 8.

In his report as high school principal, Polomis informed the board Faith King and Morgan Messenger were the Coleman/Pound Lions Club students of the month. The Hi-Q season has started and Coleman's home meet will be on Thursday, Feb. 8.

Semester exams will be Thursday and Friday, Jan. 18 and 19.

Reporting superintendent, Polomis said Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 22 and 23 will be inservice days for staff, with staff meetings, trainings, and time for teachers to work on semester and quarter grades. On Jan. 22 there is to be an All Staff Appreciation Luncheon at noon, and board members are invited. Prior to the luncheon there is to be a staff meeting to educate everyone regarding the referendum.

Polomis, along with Lori Beland, Herzog, VanDrisse, and Krause-Klug will be attending the Wisconsin Education Association Convention January 16-19.

The 2016-17 Financial Audit for the district is complete. Any board member who wishes can receive a copy.

On Thursday, Jan. 4 there was a benefit held for Jerry Zeitler during the Crivitz Girls Basketball game. Polomis expressed thanks to Glen Ziemer, Dawn Hoida, Kari Compe, the Crivitz community and schools plus all others who organized the event.

He noted that Gov. Scott Walker, Rep. Jeff Mursau and Rep. John Nygren toured the school earlier in the day, visiting Mrs. Brown's room, Tech Ed. and High School Science

areas. The governor then met with seniors and others to inform them of the proposed increase in sparsity aid of an additional $100 per pupil, and a proposal to increase the revenue ceiling limit for districts to $9,400 per student for 2018-19 school year.

After some discussion the board agreed based on class size limits, student-teacher ratios, and projected enrollment, there will be no limitations on open enrollment for regular education classes, but again based class size limits, ratios (including caseload limits and capacity), and projected enrollment, the space availability for special education programs and services the district can accept one special education student at the Middle School level and none at the other grade levels.

The board accepted a donation of $100 from George and Carol Laitinen for the Cougar Den that is to be used for winter clothing. Wendt commented that the clothing supply gets used a lot, especially in winter and suggested that is a good place to donate some money

In other action the board :"*Approved Shane Gould as a volunteer wrestling coach;"*Accepted a $250 donation from GreenStone Farm Credit Services for FFA; *Approved the retirement of Custodian III Larry Konop effective Friday, Jan. 26, with

thanks for his 27 years of service to the district."*Accepted the retirement of Middle School Teacher Robert Thielmann effective at the

end of the school year, with thanks for his 39 years of service to the district."Next months agenda is to include AGR Goals, 2018 Summer School, reports from the

Policy, Auxiliary, and Buildings & Grounds Committee, and approving the 2018-19 High School Course Description Booklet.

Copies of the course description draft booklet were discussed early in the meeting. Polomis said the state's Higher Learning Commission is putting stricter limits on dual credit classes offered in conjunction with NWTC and on-line. Starting in 2022 they may not be able to give dual high school and college credits for some of the core classes.

Wendt asked if Coleman is working with its teachers to be sure they meet the dual credit requirements. Polomis said the state is only targeting the core areas of language arts, math, social studies and science. He said Coleman has always had a good partnership with NWTC, "and we'd like to continue that." He said the dual credits are something he values for the students, because it makes life easier for them later.

Among new courses that may be offered next year, some through NWTC, are nurses aide, ceramics, digital photography, health care, nutrition and infant and child development.


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