When the Weyauwega-Fremont School Board meets on March 23, among the topics on its agenda will be elementary class sizes and HVAC systems.
During the board’s March 9 Committee of the Whole meeting, Elementary Principal Doug Nowak presented information about the district’s present elementary enrollment and potential staffing needs for the 2015-16 school year.
At Weyauwega Elementary, there are currently 51 students in kindergarten, 50 in first grade, 47 in first grade, 37 in third grade, 47 in fourth grade and 41 in fifth grade.
At Fremont Elementary, there are currently 11 students in kindergarten, 18 in first grade, 12 in second grade, 13 in third grade, 14 in fourth grade and 17 in fifth grade.
Weyauwega Elementary is a Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) school.
Schools in the SAGE program agree to have a student to teacher ratio of 18 to 1 or 30 to 2 in kindergarten through third grade, Nowak said.
The schools enter into renewable five-year contracts with the Wisconsin Department of Instruction.
He said the SAGE funding the district receives is equal to the cost of about one teacher.
The program, established in the 1996-97 school year, is designed to promote academic achievement through lower class sizes in the primary grades.
Based on the number of students who may be in first, second and third-grades next fall at Weyauwega Elementary, the district may need to either hire additional teachers at the school or move two classes from Fremont Elementary and reassign Fremont teachers to Weyauwega.
If Fremont’s fourth and fifth grades were moved to Weyauwega next fall, those two Fremont teachers would be reassigned to Weyauwega, and there would be no need to hire additional teachers in Weyauwega, Nowak told the board.
“If we did move fourth and fifth from Fremont to Weyauwega, it would be a two-year project,” he said.
Nowak said there is space in Weyauwega Elementary to do so, and board member Deb Bartel said the class sizes at that level would be more balanced.
“With the current staffing at Weyauwega Elementary, it will be next to impossible to meet the staffing requirements based on our current enrollment, plus the unknown of summer movement,” Nowak said.
He said if the district were to go over the number of students required in a SAGE classroom, it would lose SAGE funding for the school year for that entire grade level.
Nowak shared the information with the board now, because district staff will begin working on class rosters for the 2015-16 school year in early April.
“The earlier we can plan for those classes, the better it’ll be for the students,” he said.
An informational meeting about the options and how they could affect Fremont Elementary took place at the school on Tuesday, March 17.
If parents could not attend the meeting and have questions, they may contact Nowak at 920-867-8160.
During the board’s March 23 meeting, the board’s Long Range Facilities Planning Sub Committee will present an update about its work.
Since the committee’s initial meeting on Feb. 25, the committee met two subsequent times to discuss the district’s HVAC systems and needs.
That included a March 6 meeting with Bill Plamann and Nicole Zaidel, who are both energy advisers with Focus on Energy.
Plamann and Zaidel shared information with the committee about how Focus on Energy works with school districts and supports them in realizing savings through rebates on eligible projects.
The two energy advisers did a brief walk through of some of the district’s buildings, after also telling the committee the district should track its current energy consumption and set benchmarks moving forward.
When the sub committee met again on March 11, the discussion included inviting an established list of mechanical contractors to walk through all of the district’s buildings and then present recommendations, particularly related to Weyauwega Elementary and W-F High School.
The district could also draft a modified Request for Proposals document, which would be open to all contractors interested in bidding on a potential project.