Every July the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) releases equalization aid estimates for all school districts. This estimate is a key number for the New London School district in planning for the 2014-15 budget.
“This number is especially important to New London because state equalization aid is the primary source of revenue for our general operating budget,” Joe Marquardt, Director of Business Services, told school board members last week.
The DPI’s estimates indicate that New London’s aid is $15.2 million, which is 2.3 percent more than 2013-14. This estimate puts the local levy at $9.6 million, which is approximately 5 percent less than last year.
“It’s important to remember that more or less aid does not mean more money in the budget,” Marquardt said. “More equalization aid offsets the contribution by local taxpayers towards the budget and spending authority is determined under the state imposed revenue limits.”
Marquardt further stressed that these figures are just estimates and that there are many key variables to be determined before the final equalization aid is given on October 15, 2014.
District welcomes back familiar face
Former Middle School Principal Terry Wetzel is back in New London to serve as the district’s new Director of Teaching and Learning services.
Wetzel steps into his new role as former Director Jo Collar transitions to work as lead teacher and program director of the Catalyst Academy at the high school.
“We are pleased to welcome Terry back to the district,” Superintendent Kathy Gwidt said. “He has returned with a wealth of instructional knowledge.”
Wetzel spent the last two years as Winneconne’s High School principal. Prior to that, he spent years working in New London as Technology Coordination, High School Assistant Principal, and then Middle School Principal.
He also taught college courses for St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin Parkside.
“I’m excited to be back in New London in the role of Director of Teaching and Learning,” Wetzel said. “I look forward to working with administrators, teachers, staff, students and families to continue to find ways to maximize student achievement in our district.”
Wolf River Regional Career Pathway System
New London School District has shown that working collectively and collaboratively with others is beneficial to maximizing student achievement. From the 4K program to the charter schools, the district has expanded learning opportunities for its students.
Over the past few years, New London has been working with CESA 6 to explore and identify centers of excellence within the districts region. To further the goal of the districts mission, success for all students, administrators have been researching possibilities of working with neighboring school districts to build a system that would allow shared option and opportunity for students within the schools.
“We know we can accomplish more collectively than separately,” Gwidt said. “We’re looking to our neighbors to further strengthen our programs and helping other schools with theirs.”
This new collaborative program is called Wolf River Regional Career Pathway System and it is to include the school districts of Shiocton, Manawa, Weyauwega-Fremont, and New London.
Each school district will identify unique centers of excellence that will focus on targeting programming centered on the system of career pathways.
According to Gwidt, Shiocton will focus on Business, Marketing and Information Technology. Weyauwega-Fremont will develop courses within Environmental, Agricultural and Human services, and Manawa is working on enhancing the welding pathway.
New London is prepared to represent Industrial Manufacturing and Engineering, and Health services through its Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering and biomedical programs.
“We are prepared to share students in a way that allows them foundational learning opportunities in their home schools and enhanced programming in partner schools,” Gwidt said.
Students engaging in this programming will be provided industry recognized certification and/or Youth Apprentice opportunities.
This pathway system is in the piloting stages, but New London is the only school district prepared to welcome kids this upcoming school year.
New London school board members approved 7-0 the districts membership in the Wolf River Regional Career Pathway System beginning September 1, 2014 and continuing through June 30, 2017.