WARSAW — The Warsaw Community Schools’ Board of School Trustees discussed the 2019 summer school program and elementary school athletics during a work session on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
JoElla Hauselman, Edgewood Middle School principal and summer school coordinator, led the discussion on this year’s summer school program. In total, 745 students registered for the 2019 program, with 135 staff members working and teaching in the program. While presenting to the board, Hauselman focused on new summer school additions.
“We made a few adjustments to help cover our costs and improve our efficiency,” said Hauselman. “We adjusted staffing at the high school, reduced the length of the summer school day, and we also really focused on a lot of our EL [English Language] learners who needed to work on reading. We also added Reading Readiness for our EL students.”
Hauselman also discussed iREAD for third-graders and steps the summer reading program took to help students with reading comprehension.
“The key focus is on closing reading gaps so that students can pass iREAD,” said Hauselman. “That’s what we consider to be one of our most critical components of summer school is making sure kids can pass that.”
Lakeview Middle School Assistant Principal Todd Braddock also helped with the corporation’s summer school program and discussed disciplinary referrals.
“There were 745 students and only 65 disciplinary referrals,” said Braddock. “I think that speaks volumes for the teachers and staff, the program is like a well-oiled machine. Over 90 percent of summer school students did not receive a disciplinary referral. Being involved in this year’s summer school program was a great learning experience for me since I handle a lot of disciplinary issues at the middle school.”
For Warsaw Community High School’s summer school program, students earned 837 class credits in total and attendance rate was at 97 percent.
“Those are huge numbers that significantly impact the class sizes for the fall and spring,” said Hauselman. “It accelerates learning and closes those gaps for students who were behind on credits.”
Jeff Hamstra also addressed the board regarding elementary school athletics, with a focus on the length of the elementary school basketball season.
“The current schedule for the season is 17 weeks long and it lasts longer than our girls’ high school basketball season,” said Hamstra. “Something I would like us to look into is an elementary basketball schedule that would end before Christmas break. So instead of 17 weeks, it would be 10 weeks long. I have run this by high school coaches, elementary coaches and principals, and they are all very much in favor of it.”
Hamstra told the board that instead of playing one game a week, the schedule would consist of one to three games a week.
In her report at the public work session, Human Resources Director Sheila Howe addressed vacant positions within the school district.
“We are in need of paraprofessionals, custodians, bus drivers and aides,” said Howe.
Chief Financial Officer April Fitterling delivered a 2020 budget recap to the board. Fitterling said the budget is proposed at $81 million total, with a tax rate at approximately $1.31.
Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert asked about the tax rate range.
“We always submit the budget high and it is brought back down again because that has to do with assessment valuation and the Department of Local Government Finance,” said Hoffert. “Will our tax rate range be very similar to what it’s been in previous years?”
Fitterling said the rate would be about the same.
“Just because we advertise that high doesn’t mean it’ll be that high,” said Fitterling. “We estimated it [tax rate] around this amount last year, and it ended up being about 90 cents.”
The board’s next regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, and the next board work session will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8.