The Plymouth School District Board of Education met at 8 p.m. Oct. 18, 2011 in the Plymouth High School Amphitheatre. The board:
Click here to watch video of the most recent Board of Education meeting, courtesy of Plymouth Community Television Channel 14.
The board certified the 2011-12 property tax levy of $11,508,077, which is $9,126 less than what electors approved at the Sept. 20 annual meeting because of changes in state aid.
The levy is down about half a percent from the previous year. The district anticipates a 7-cent drop in the mill rate, to about $8.71 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $100,000 would pay $871 in school taxes, about $7 less than last year; the owner of a home assessed at $200,000 would pay $1,742, about $14 less.
The board authorized a $3.1 million line of credit to pay district expenses before aid and tax payments arrive. The district received two bids and accepted that of BankFirst National, which Business Manager Jon Miller estimated will save $18,000 to $20,000 a year, though it will require the district to switch its banking accounts to BankFirst National eventually.
The board accepted a bid from KSI to handle snow plowing for the district again this winter after it submitted the lowest of two bids. The bid is identical to the prior year's cost for snow plowing.
The board gratefully accepted the following donations:
The board heard a presentation by the Plymouth High School High-Mileage Vehicle Team, which designs and races a car in Supermileage competitions around the state.
The presentation was given by technology education teacher Jake Sherman, who advises the team; and students Brandon Berth, mechanic and main driver; Brandon Wollner, designer and backup driver; and Joe McMullen, crew chief.
Supermileage is an extra-curricular activity that emphasizes building and adjusting a car to achieve the greatest fuel mileage possible.Weight is a key factor, so the PHS car features homemade spindles, a hollow frame and boat wrap donated by Harbor Centre Marina, Brian Wollner explained.
The team was successful last year, finishing second in the open-stock class at the University of Wisconsin-Stout with 265 miles per gallon, and first at Fox Valley Technical College with 299 miles per gallon. The team got nearly 370 miles per gallon at Road America, where it finished fifth and was named overall grand champion out of 73 cars thanks to its performance on other tests such as maneuverability and braking.
The PHS team improved with each successive event through experimentation, Mr. Sherman said. Members also helped their competitors improve, as teams are required to share information about their cars. The steering system in the PHS car is particularly innovative and got a lot of attention, he said.
The team plans to compete in the same races again this year, and is looking for new sponsors and new members.
Sponsors are advertised on the car and can attend the Supermileage events, one of which is held each year at Road America. Current sponsors include Sargento, KW Electric, Mark Petrie Fabrications, Integral Machining, Back Door Bike Shop and Harbor Centre Marina.
The team also is looking for new members, especially younger students to carry on once these three graduate in June.
Joe listed a dozen PHS classes that apply to the skills the team learns in designing, building and racing the car. The team also is responsible for publicity and obtaining sponsorships to pay for materials, competitions and travel expenses.
Click here to view slides from the presentation.
Former board member Jerry Prahl addressed the board about the recent cyberbullying presentation held at Riverview Middle School.
Jerry said the turnout for the presentation – nine mothers – was disgraceful. He urged parents to be alert for cyberbullying, which has led to the deaths of children.
The board learned of several changes among the support staff:
Board President Mark Rhyan gave a briefing about the most recent legislative breakfast, a monthly meeting with local legislators to talk about education issues. Mr. Rhyan noted that many interesting bills are being considered, and urged people to pay attention and be in contact with their legislators, as they did in the spring when the state reduced school aid. “Our input matters,” he said.
Mr. Rhyan said a legislator asked what the district is doing to further the education of students not bound for college. In response, Mr. Rhyan outlined a number of education partnerships involving his employer, Sargento:
So much goes on behind the scenes, Mr. Rhyan noted. Individuals and companies alike are spending countless hours volunteering their time in many different capacities. He urged others to find out how they can help, to look for opportunities to reach into the schools.
Jobs for graduates right out of high school are nothing like they were even 10 years ago, Mr. Rhyan said. “The more we can better prepare those kids, the better we’ll all be,” he said.
Superintendent Clark Reinke built on that call for increased engagement in the schools by noting that administrators met earlier in the day with officials at LTC to discuss the Science & Technology Center.
Those involved hope to engage people in understanding there are other routes to successful careers than going to college or going straight into the workforce, Dr. Reinke said.
He outlined a couple of initiatives the district plans to pursue:
Summary prepared by Jamie Piontkowski, Plymouth School District communications coordinator