Green Bay School Board
Healthy School Meals for All Act
State Rep. Kristina Shelton, who represents the 90th assembly district, appeared at the Green Bay School Board’s Sept. 12 work session to discuss a resolution that was brought before the board regarding free school lunches.
“We were meeting with farmers and growers and we started to understand the positive benefits of universal school meals,” she said. “One was an economic boost for our farmers and growers. It was transformational for our working families, especially mothers and fathers who are sending their kids off to school, but we also saw the impact on food service departments and food service workers. From that work, and actually working with the food service department here in the Green Bay Area Public School District, we built the Healthy School Meals for All Coalition, which in November of 2021 authored the Healthy School Meals for All Act.”
The purpose of the Healthy School Meals for All Act is to have the state continue to cover the cost of free breakfast and free lunch for all Wisconsin students, as it did during the Covid-19 pandemic, so that the benefits of universal free lunch, including improved attendance rates, better performance in school, improved participation rates, fewer behavioral incidents, lower suspension rates, better health outcomes and financial relief for families, communities, and school districts can continue as well.
Started in the Pulaski school district, the bill has also been supported by resolutions in the Ashwaubenon school district and the Sun Prairie school district.
Budget planning update
Interim Superintendent Vicki Bayer addressed the board to provide an update on what has been done so far to address the district’s predicted $36 million deficit for the 2024-2025 school year.
Bayer said budget problems are not unique to Green Bay and are caused by declining enrollment, increased student needs and inadequate funding.
Over the next few years, Bayer said the district will utilize ESSER funds, gradually making staff reductions and making other cost-reducing changes that would have minimal impact on student outcomes.
Bayer said some of the changes have included modifying and eliminating some administrative positions, making software changes, cutting out cell phone stipends for administrators, reducing vendor contracts, reducing hotspot fleets, bringing graduation ceremonies back to the schools, switching to cheaper lunch trays, having fewer early release days, adhering to the class size policy and minimizing overloads.
Moving forward, Bayer said the district will continuously review staff vacancies, create a handbook committee to review employee benefits, address stipends and riders, focus on presenteeism, identify and implement a program evaluation model, reduce the number of classes with fewer than 20 students and consider early retirement incentives.
Bayer also reminded the board and community that the referendum that will appear on the ballot in November does not address the budget deficit.
“Despite our deficit, we still have a district to run and we still have facilities to maintain,” she said. “This referendum addresses delayed and deferred maintenance that needs to be done. Regardless of our upcoming deficit, we still need to maintain our facilities.”
The tentative timeline is to present the board with options for both the Budget Plan and Facilities Master Plan in April 2023 so that a plan can be implemented beginning in May 2023.
“I am confident we’re going to be able to get through this,” Bayer said.
The work session adjourned early due to a medical emergency.
The district later communicated that Bayer had a heart attack and is recovering under the care of her doctors.
Interim Deputy Superintendent Judy Wiegand, along with district administration, will oversee the day-to-day operations of the district.
The board will interview firms to aid in the search for someone to fill the superintendent position on Sept. 26 with the search for candidates not expected to begin until November.
Seymour Committee of the Whole
New alderman in place
Greg Gerber has been appointed alderman for the fourth ward of the city council to fill the vacancy created when City Council President Roger Behnke abruptly resigned during the August Committee of the Whole meeting following a failed chicken ordinance.
The council went on to approve an ordinance to make it clear that chickens are allowed in agricultural zoned areas.
Mayor Kraft reported that a committee met to discuss ATV/UTV use on city streets.
The committee concluded that the vehicles will not be permitted on city streets until a trail is available for that use.
Snow removal with ATV/UTVs is allowed by ordinance.
In other business, it was reported that Central Tank came to inspect the south water tower, and it was discovered that work needs to be done immediately.
The work will cost $83,900. A motion was made to amend the 2022 water utility budget to cover the cost of the repairs.
Howard Village Board
Budget calendar set
The Howard Village Board approved a calendar for its 2023 budget at the Sept. 12 meeting.
A proposed budget is scheduled to be presented to the board at the Oct. 10 meeting, with public hearings scheduled for the Oct. 24 and Nov. 14 meetings.
The final budget is scheduled to be adopted at the Nov. 28 meeting.
The board also received a financial report for the period ending Aug. 31.
Chris Haltom, the village’s executive director of administrative services, said revenues for the General Fund are looking good at this point.
“The revenues are really where we’re seeing a good influx of money, particularly in the building permits,” he said. “And the building permits are way above the budget for the entire year already. So that’s what’s generating most of our expected surplus by the end of the year.”
Haltom said the Village Green Golf Course — which so far has accrued a total revenue of $687,336 — is on track to have a record-breaking year, despite cost increases.
“The golf course is also having another very good year,” he said. “The revenues are the highest that we’ve had. Last year was a record. This year’s breaking that record. But our expenses are higher given the consumer price index has jumped up so much.”