By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – After having about 17% of the district’s approximately 3,200 students sign up for virtual instruction last school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, less than 10 students will be learning virtually in 2021-22.
Superintendent Kurt Weyers reported to the Ashwaubenon school board July 14 eight of the 10 district students who applied for the Kiel School District’s virtual charter school program were approved.
He said two students were denied because they weren’t successful with virtual learning last school year.
Weyers previously mentioned he hoped zero district students would select virtual learning.
Ashwaubenon agreed to partner with Kiel for one year of the program.
Kiel has offered a virtual learning program for more than a decade.
Weyers said he is excited almost all district students will be learning in-person.
Ashwaubenon took applications this summer to allow no more than 20 middle school students and a maximum of 20 high school students the option of virtual learning in 2021-22.
No virtual option was offered for the district’s K-5 students.
Unlike last school year, when in-person instruction was limited for much of the first semester to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Ashwaubenon teachers will not be involved in virtual instruction for district students in 2021-22.
However, virtual learning students will count toward Ashwaubenon’s total enrollment, and the district will pay Kiel $4,700 per student enrolled in the virtual program.
Line of credit
To have money on hand to cover expenditures until the district receives tax revenue and state aid, the board approved a $9 million line of credit with BankFirst.
Business Director Keith Lucius said the annual borrowing has a variable interest rate with a floor of 4% and a maximum of 5.25%.
“Because our revenues come in so late and our expenditures start right away, we need to have enough money to cover that balance,” he said. “We only use it when we have to. We pay it off as soon as we get money in.”
Lucius said the district didn’t use anywhere near $9 million in borrowing for 2020-21, “but it’s smart to have that flexibility.”
“It’s not used much,” he said. “It’s used as little time as possible, and there are no fees for having the line (of credit) out there. The only cost is the interest. So, 4% is really the rate that we are paying on it, but the duration that it’s out there is very short.”
Board members all received a 2% pay increase for 2021-22 at the district’s annual meeting July 14 before the regular board meeting.
Weyers said the previous annual board salaries were $4,920 for President Jay Van Laanen and $4,232 for other members.
Weyers said board members historically have received the same percentage of a salary increase as district staff, who will also be receiving a 2% increase for 2021-22.