News & Notes: June 4

June 4, 2013

Ben Franklin first-graders

take to Twitter

Menomonee Falls — Throughout the 2012-13 school year, first-graders at Ben Franklin Elementary School have been using Twitter as a mechanism for sharing news with parents.

Teachers Kim Rutsch and Krista Traucht shared information on how the service was used at a School Board meeting last week.

Traucht said 87 percent of parents of Ben Franklin's first-graders used Twitter to stay updated on classroom happenings. Throughout the school year, students have been given opportunities to share information through the social media platform.

"(Twitter) has given a window into our classroom," Traucht said.

Falls hosts successful

Relay for Life

Menomonee Falls — Menomonee Falls High School's Relay for Life on Friday raised $19,500 and counting for the American Cancer Society.

Donations are still being accepted. During the event, the 2012 honorary speaker and cancer survivor Bill Jackson served as host for the evening, and Superintendent Patricia Greco served as this year's speaker, providing her moving story of beating breast cancer. Hundreds of students, staff and community members played Save Princess Peach, large-scale Angry Birds and Jenga, and a large game of Twister.

Village Board

approves fee waiver

Germantown — The Germantown Village Board on Monday approved waiving the fee for Kiwanis Club of Germantown, a nonprofit organization, to host the Independence Day events at Fireman's Park.

They also waived a temporary use permit fee for the Deutschstadt Heritage Foundation.

The fee waiver is prompting the General Government and Finance Committee to take a look at the fees and ensure the village is charging the exact amount it costs to host these types of events. Brian Sadjak, the village's legal counsel, said the Legislature is discussing a potential change in the law that would affect the way fees are addressed. If passed, the village would have to prove that their fees match expenses. In the past, the person challenging the fee would have to prove that it was too excessive.

Sadjak said they are keeping an eye on this at the state level, but the village's fees should be reviewed in the meantime.

School Board recognizes retiring faculty

Menomonee Falls — The Menomonee Falls School Board last week held a reception and recognition ceremony during a regular meeting for retiring district faculty.

Fifteen professionals — including teachers, custodians and lunch aides — were at the meeting and recognized for their years of service. The district's most veteran professional, Judy Berry, is among this year's retirees. Berry's career spans 49 years and includes 42 years in Menomonee Falls.

The bulk of this year's retirees have served at Shady Lane Elementary School, where Berry has taught.

"This is an amazing crew," Principal Brad Hoffman said of the retirees at Shady Lane. "We're losing a lot of people who are the soul of our building."

Music programs to be discussed at meeting

Menomonee Falls — Officials in the Menomonee Falls School District are expected to discuss funding music programs at a Curriculum and Learning Committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. June 12.

Representatives from the Menomonee Falls Symphony Orchestra attended a board meeting last week and expressed concern about the future of orchestra and other music programs in the district.

In recent months, officials have been looking at ways of meeting a projected $2.4 million shortfall in the 2013-14 budget. Cuts to music programs have been cited as one possible way of addressing the deficit.

The meeting will be held at the Community Education and Recreation Center, W152 N8645 Margaret Road.

Teacher quality document in development in Falls

Menomonee Falls — Officials in the Menomonee Falls School District are in the process of developing a document aimed at gauging teacher quality effectiveness. District Administrator Patricia Greco provided an update on the process at a School Board meeting last week.

Throughout the summer, Greco said the document will be refined with input from teachers and outside input from Waukesha County Technical College.

High school lunch fees

to rise, laptop fees to drop

Menomonee Falls — Lunch fees at Menomonee Falls High School are expected to increase, while laptop usage fees will likely decrease. Proposed information was shared at a School Board meeting last week.

Jeffrey Gross, director of business services, provided the board with a proposed list of student fees for the 2013-14 school year. Most of the fees are expected to remain the same from those assessed in the 2012-13 school year.

However, the district is planning to increase the daily rate for high school lunch fees by 5 cents, from $2.20 to $2.25. Laptop fees for students in grades nine and 10 are to be restructured with a $5 reduction in an accidental damage fee and the elimination of a $10 fee for a co-pay option.

The board will act on student fees at its meeting June 10.

Board OKs Falls district staffing plan

Menomonee Falls — The Menomonee Falls School Board approved a staffing plan at the district's six schools at a meeting last week.

Overall full-time equivalency staffing has been reduced in the 2013-14 school year, but Christiane Standlee, director of human resources, provided a list of 20 positions that will be posted.

Standlee said there are a number of reasons for the position openings, including resignations, retirements, increased enrollment in particular subjects and staffing adjustments.

Village Board approves

land rezoning

Germantown — The Germantown Village Board on Monday rezoned 19.6 acres of land from single family residential and agricultural district one to agricultural district two to accommodate a home occupation on the land.

Andrew and Vicki Busalacchi applied for the rezone of 19.6 acres of their 62.5 acres of land bound by Lolac Road, Maple Street and Highway 41/45.

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