Two Wisconsin Republican lawmakers will discuss state funding of education next month in New London.
State Sen. Luther Olsen, of Ripon, and Rep. Kevin Petersen, Waupaca, have accepted an invitation to attend the May 13 meeting of the New London Board of Education.
District administrator Bill Fitzpatrick said at the April 8 board meeting that the May meeting likely would be moved to New London High School to accommodate a larger crowd.
Fitzpatrick said the two men represent this area.
“When the governor talks about adding money to schools, he’s giving a zero increase to public schools for the next two years, after a reduction of $550 or so dollars per student two years ago,” Fitzpatrick said April 10.
Instead, Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget includes money for a school voucher system and property tax relief, Fitzpatrick noted.
On to athletics
At last week’s board meeting, Fitzpatrick provided the latest conference realignment plan of the WIAA, and director of business services Joseph Marquardt asked board members whether they wanted to sell a sponsorship of the high school gym floor, which will be sanded and refinished this summer.
The realignment, which encompasses all of northeast Wisconsin, puts nearby rival Hortonville in a different conference.
“Our complaint – our issue – has always been travel,” Fitzpatrick said. “We have some awfully long trips, especially on school nights.”
Transportation costs are a secondary concern, he said later in the week.
This plan eliminates what he called “natural rivalries” and leaves long trips. It also puts Oconto Falls and Denmark in other conferences.
Instead, New London would be in a conference with Menasha, Xavier, Green Bay East and Green Bay West; along with current opponents – distant Marinette and Luxemburg-Casco; plus Seymour, Shawano Community and West De Pere.
Fitzpatrick said realignment, which is driven by declining enrollment in various districts, won’t happen before the next school year.
Incorporating a paid sponsorship into the design of the gym floor could “help defray the cost” of the $30,000 project, Marquardt said.
“Other districts have done this,” he said.
Board member Connie Neely said she liked the idea of making money off a sponsorship, but it would have to be tasteful.
Board member Jeremy Gorges initially said he was “not for it.” After Marquardt mentioned a possible fee of $20,000 for the sponsorship, Gorges said, “Sure, let’s talk about it at that point.”
Marquardt said he would look further into the sponsorship potential.
In other school news:
• The district has been chosen as a pilot site for the new state Smarter Balanced Test. The test will be taken on computers, rather than with pencil and paper, and eventually will replace the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination.
Director of teaching and learning Kathy Gwidt said freshmen would take the English language arts test, and juniors, the math test.
Part of the preparation includes installing blocks on computers used for testing, so students can’t search for answers, Gwidt said.
• -A Holocaust project created by high school bilingual students is on display in the administrative offices for public viewing. The large scroll is made of individual art and writing efforts on canvas squares stitched together and rolled on hand-made dowels.
• -The Bulldogs of Character program has gone communitywide, with placemats designed by the fourth grade team featured in some local restaurants. Other students are designing bookmarks for the public library, to maintain the emphasis on character through the summer, Gretchen Sasse told the board.
• -The 2013-16 District Information Library Media and Technology Plan was approved by the board for submission to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Gwidt said DPI approval of the plan will make the district eligible for funding.
• -After a closed session, the board accepted the resignations of teachers Brian Boushele, Readfield Elementary School; Craig Cartwright, high school science; and Jennifer Rozga, elementary music. They approved hiring replacement girls jayvee soccer coach Rachel Peerenboom; the position pays $1,727.