Janesville46.1°

School board OKs strategic plan

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Catherine W. Idzerda
July 24, 2012

— The Delavan-Darien School Board wants to make sure its strategic plan doesn't end up on a dusty shelf. If that means engaging in a little micro-management, so be it.

On Monday, the board agreed to allow staff to proceed with 12 of 32 action plans outlined in the five-year strategic plan. The plan, developed by staff, administration and students, covers topics ranging from teacher morale to student performance, school atmosphere to national academic standards and community values to career choices.

And the board wants to make sure it gets done.

"My concern is that we don't have responsibility for approving the action steps," said board member Chad Kort.

The "action steps" are a series of tasks assigned to specific individuals that help get the district reach specific goals. When the plan was developed, its authors agreed that having the board approve every step might be onerous, especially if the action plans needed to be changed.

Other board members echoed Kort's concerns and asked for a more formal reporting process.

"We need to hear these updates," said board member Jim Hansen.

As a result, regular updates will be included at board meetings.

Elements of the plan going forward in the 2012-13 year include:

-- Exploring the possibility of an optional dual-language, Spanish-English, immersion program in the elementary grades.

-- Establishing quarterly meetings that include administration, school board members and staff to share information and talk openly about issues.

-- Establishing a twice annual "climate survey" for staff.

-- Offering exit interviews to all employees leaving the district.

-- Tying district curriculum with common core standards being established at the national level.

-- Having teachers work together to make teaching decisions that are "responsive to data."

-- Include career curriculum in the high school.

SCHOOL TAXES FALL SLIGHTLY

Taxpayers in the Delavan-Darien School District will pay slightly less in school taxes in the upcoming year.

The district's total budget for the 2012-13 school year will be $31.15 million, a decrease from $31.77 million in the 2011-12 school year. That translates to $27.39 per $100,000 of home value.

State aid to the district remained about the same, said Carey Bradley, district administrator and interim superintendent. However, payments into the referendum debt service fund decreased by more than $400,000.

The referendum debt service fund is money the district borrowed for referendum.

About 39 percent of general operating budget comes from state sources. Another 58 percent comes from the local tax base, and 3 percent comes from the federal government. About 70 percent of the district's total budget goes toward salaries and benefits.



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