Home » News » Howard » HSSD approves year-end budget, talks school safety

HSSD approves year-end budget, talks school safety

Matt Spets, assistant superintendent of operations for the Howard-Suamico School District speaks about the year end budget during the Monday, June 25, meeting. Ben Rodgers Photo

By Ben Rodgers

SUAMICO – The Howard-Suamico school board approved a year-end budget for more than $86 million at the Monday, June 25, meeting.

“You’ve heard me say this before, but my definition of a budget is pretty simple,” said Damian LaCroix, superintendent. “It’s a systematic way or aligning revenues with expenditures in pursuit of district objectives.”
Matt Spets, assistant superintendent of operations, drafted a memo to the board prior to Monday’s meeting in regards to the budget.

“Locally, the highlight of the 2017-18 budget year is clearly the community’s support of our operational referendum effort,” the memo read. “As previously stated, HSSD truly is fundamentally a different district today, and our positive economic indicators promise to mirror those of Wisconsin.”

The first notable modification to the budget included the transfer of more than $3 million to prepay existing debt, saving the district approximately $375,000 in interest payments.

“I want to give the board a lot of credit for having the courage and the foresight to support that enhanced debt payment,” Spets said.

The second modification is the Bay View Middle School Innovation Studio and the first two projects of the first phase of the Bay Port Athletic Complex.

“The static, per-pupil categorical funds utilized for the aforementioned projects can also be considered ‘year-end’ dollars that, left unused, would simply be added to current fund balance,” the memo read.

Spets also highlighted efforts the board has made to construct a stable financial foundation.

Those efforts included the successful referendum in April, as well as an increase in staff compensation due to the referendum.

“The year-over-year investment totaled $1,034,838.62 and included both a level set factor (for eligible employees) and a 2.89 percent base salary increase,” the memo stated. “More than 200 teachers and other certified staff were included in the level set measure.”

The level set measure brought certain employees in the district up to a standard base wage.

The memo also included language about the next potential referendum.

“As one board member, I do not want to think it’s inevitable,” said Teresa Ford, board president. “I would like to think we don’t have to do that again. I know in your mind we might, and we’ll be ready to hear the reason why, but I would like to emphasize that we put it off as long as possible.”

In other news, the board heard discussion about what the district plans to do with a grant that it has yet to be awarded.

The HSSD is seeking $189,385 from the state to invest in shatterproof window laminate for exterior windows on main school entrances.

The grant from the Wisconsin Department of Justice has a total of $100 million to be allocated to schools across the state for school safety.

“When we called at the end of last week, we were told there are 500 applications and we’re stuck in the middle of that,” Spets said. “There’s a glut. There are not 500 districts (in Wisconsin) so I’m not sure what they did to us.”

Staff in attendance at the meeting had little reason to doubt HSSD would be awarded the requested funds.

“Quite honestly, they want to give us the money,” said Al Behnke, director of facility services. “All they want to make sure is we’re submitting the information correctly and accurately that they’ve asked for.”

Other items the funds would be used for include Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate (active shooter) training, PA systems in Bay Harbor Elementary School and Bay View, an external speaker system at Bay Port High School and district-wide radio replacement.

“At the end of the day we need every teacher, aide, custodian, to have that depth of knowledge that they can impact our preventive measures,” said Mark Smith, assistant superintendent of learning.

The district also announced it will hold a student safety and school security summit at 6 p.m. Aug. 22 at Lineville Intermediate School.

The goal is to share updates on school safety and security enhancements with the community.

“We don’t want the assumption to be we’re not doing anything,” Spets said.

Facebook Comments
Scroll to Top