March 26, 2013

Three major summer projects were announced during a Kuemper Catholic Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, March 19, according to Kuemper president Vern Henkenius.

The projects will be:

- Replacement of locks on classroom doors at the St. Angela Center, which houses fourth and fifth grades.

That project is the last from a fire marshal's report that was conducted in 2011.

The doors currently lock from the inside of the classrooms, meaning that students could potentially lock themselves inside. The locks will be moved to the hallway.

Henkenius said that creates another safety issue. In case of an emergency a teacher would have to go out into the hallway to lock the doors.

Because of that issue, Henkenius said, Kuemper encourages teachers to keep the doors locked all day.

- Installation of new camera systems inside an attendance center and upgrade of systems in the other schools.

Holy Spirit does not have a camera system in place, and the equipment in other buildings needs to be updated.

- Upgrade of acoustics in the high school gym.

Henkenius said that when the Carroll High School gym was built Tectum acoustic panels were placed in the roof.

The ceiling in Kuemper's gym is metal so that won't work in this case.

Henkenius said a contractor told school officials he'd be able to do something with the walls in the gym.

Henkenius said the sound equipment in the gym is still in good shape but the school may relocate some of the speakers.

In other business, the board discussed changes to the lease on the St. Lawrence Center.

The center is owned by the St. Lawrence Parish, and the five-year lease will be up next year.

Henkenius said there are no problems with the lease, just changes for which members need to be aware.

The board also heard from the school's finance and budget committee.

This year the budget increased by 2.36 percent, from $6,482,239 to $6,634,962.

The biggest part of the budget is teachers' salaries, and base salaries will be increasing by 2.5 percent, from $27,876 to $28,573.

Health insurance went up by 5 percent.

Parish assessments, which are based on the number of envelope holders in each of the school's 12 corporate parishes, decreased from 50.14 percent of their budgets down to 48.74 percent. This current fiscal year, parish assessments total $3,250,000, and they will be $3,233,750 next fiscal year.

Tuition for the optional, or half-day, kindergarten will increase $100 for next year and tuition for the first through 12th grades will increase by $115.

Because of enrollment numbers, the school plans to cut one optional-kindergarten class.

Kuemper is offering two morning sessions and one afternoon session, but Henkenius said the second morning session will not be offered unless enrollment increases significantly.

The school will add a fifth first-grade teacher next year. Henkenius said the kindergarten class is large enough that another teacher will be necessary.

He said that will put the student-teacher ratio to 16- or 17-to-1.

The school board accepted two resignations. Kathie McDermott, who taught the fourth grade for 15 years, resigned as did Ann Carter, who shared a cheerleading position.

The school board will meet with an architect at its April 16 meeting to discuss three key items in Kuemper's long-range plan.

The projects include remodeling the entrance and office area at the high school, remodeling or rebuilding the field house and finding space for a day care program that would provide care for newborns through pre-school-age children.