Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Baldwin-Woodville Cable Station Planned; Budget and Levy Postponed

The long-standing collaboration between Baldwin Telecom, Inc., and the Baldwin-Woodville Area School District has produced another technological advancement for the district. Starting in November, Baldwin-Woodville will broadcast over its own cable television station.
High School teacher Patrick Beierman explained that the local broadcast will include all school related activities: sports, extra-curricular, meetings, celebrations, concerts, guest speakers, and other school related programming.

Beierman's presentation was at the regular monthly meeting of the Baldwin-Woodville Board of Education meeting held Monday night. B-W High School students enrolled in Dynamic Media, Blackhawk TV and Marketing classes taught by Beierman will produce and market the programming.

Beierman will oversee and approve all contents of the broadcasts, he said.

Beierman and Athletic Director/Transportation Supervisor Wade Labecki (who formerly held Beierman's teaching position) have been working together with Baldwin Telecom to get the station off the ground, they said.

Baldwin Telecom has provided the district with the channel and training as well as $2,000 to use for the purchase of an editing station.

"Baldwin Telecom continues to work with the school district and has provided many technological services for us," said Supt. Rusty Helland. "They deserve our thanks," he said.

"Our channel will be broadcast over the Baldwin Telecom cable service area," said Labecki. "It will be a great way to connect with the community. In the near future, we hope to stream online so people outside the area will have access too," he added.

In other action at the meeting:

The board tabled two motions concerning the 2007-08 district budget until a special meeting scheduled for Nov. 1. Finalizing the budget is difficult due to the delayed state budget said Supt. Helland. "We have come up with three budget scenarios," he said, "the original budget which was due July 1, a budget without $71,500 in swimming pool repairs, and a budget with $71,500 in swimming pool repairs."

The repairs to the swimming pool were approved by the board after last year's budget was approved. Public donations now total $32,158 said Helland and the expenditures totaled $103,680 leaving a difference of $71,500.

District bookkeeper Pam Rose explained that pool expenditures come out of the community fund (Fund 80). Since the pool expenses were unknown at the time and not budgeted for, Fund 80 finished the year in the red.

Rose said that according to the Department of Public Instruction, funds from the general fund (Fund 10) cannot be transferred to Fund 80 to balance it, the district must levy for the dollars.

Complicating matters, the district has received approximately $283,000 from the Village of Baldwin from excess funds remaining from closed TIF accounts. The money was put in Fund 10 in the building and grounds and technology accounts, and those accounts can be changed said Supt. Helland.

"It's taxpayer money, why don't we just reduce the levy?" suggested board member John Hinz.

Board member Tom Schumacher said he would prefer to keep the options open for the time being. "I would like to wait and see what comes up. Maybe we could do something we thought we never could," he said. "I don't think we should use it for ongoing expenses that we levy for every year. Let's think about it."

"I think we should use the money to offset debt instead of finding a way to spend it," commented board member Todd Graf.

In the end, the board tabled setting the levy and adopting the budget because they are awaiting the state budget which iss in the process of being finalized. A special meeting to adopt the 2007-08 budget and tax levy is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

In other business, the board approved the teachers' contract for 2007-09. The total package increase is 4.3% the first year and 4.7% the second year and the union agreed to pay an additional 1% of the health care in the second year. Board member Mike Bondarenko complimented all those involved in the contract negotiations. "Everyone came to the table ready to work together. Thanks to all," he said.

Pupil Services Director Patti Phillipps announced the recent receipt of two grants for the district. Guidance counselor Robin Pagels wrote an Ann Marie Grant and received $735 which will be used for the Festival of Nations at the High School and the Knights of Columbus presented the district with $845 to be used for students with disabilities.

Labecki announced Bus Safety Week Oct. 22 through 26, and recognized all the bus drivers for the district.