Board approves preliminary budget

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The Board of Education approved the 2019-20 preliminary budget at its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 23.  
 
It will be presented to the community at the Annual Meeting in September. The preliminary budget includes the state budget changes, but Assistant Superintendent of Operations Lori Ames noted it is still an estimate. The Board of Education will adopt a budget and certify the actual levy in October once September enrollment, equalized values and final general aid amounts are known.
 
Ames  noted the mill rate was projected to increase by $1.64 per $1,000 of equalized property value due to the two referendum questions passing in November 2018. However, even with additional staff, pay raises and other expenditures, the mill rate is expected to increase about $1.20 in the preliminary budget. That is partly due to increased money per member in the state budget and more state categorical aid.
 
"It's just a road map at this stage in the game,'' Ames said.  

In other news from Tuesday's meeting:

* The District is recommending that Malina Piontek be the new Independent Hearing Officer and also shared changes it has made to the process, Deputy Superintendent Sherri Cyra reported.

An IHO is used to handle expulsion hearings. Piontek would replace longtime IHO Richard Hemming, who has retired. She was recommended by WASB. The Board will vote on Piontek at its next meeting.  

Cyra and Director of Student Services Barb Buffington plan to give a report to the Board on the expulsion process in September.

* Superintendent Dana Monogue shared some of the plans for the all-staff meeting, which will take place on in the morning on Aug. 28 at the Performing Arts Center. Todd Smith encouraged Board members to attend.
 
* The Board approved the District Academic Standards. The standards are for 10 content areas identified in section 118.30 (1g)(a) of the state statutes. There are no changes in the standards from last year.  
 
* The Board approved a parking lot agreement with Middleton Ionic Lodge 180. An agreement between the District and the lodge for MHS staff to use stalls in the lot has been in place since 2001. Significant changes in the contract include an increase in parking spots available from 16 to 23, an increase in rent and a change in the snow/ice removal for the sidewalks surrounding the parking lot.
 
* The Board approved a payment to Godfrey & Kahn.  

* Monogue, who officially started July 1, also reviewed her transition to the position. She noted how welcoming everyone has been. "The community support for education here is amazing,'' Monogue said. "I feel that in every interaction I have. Everyone has told me ... schools make our community great.''

She talked about the stakeholders she has met over her first few weeks. She reviewed the strengths of the District. She wants to make sure administrators prioritize what is important in order to make sure staff aren't overwhelmed by change. She plans to continue to make communications a priority. Monogue also noted the District needs to be more purposeful with its equity work to address gaps as some recent results have been trending downward. She also wants to develop more partnerships with businesses and civic organizations.  

Monogue plans to visit every school every week in the coming year. She also stressed the important work the boundary committee is doing and helping them complete their efforts this fall, while also beginning to lay the groundwork for a future referendum.