Board to discuss after school program funding

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BELOIT - The School District of Beloit Board of Education will discuss funding after-school programs for one year only through Fund 80 at its meeting tonight as well as an improvement plan for Fruzen Intermediate School and an update on the former Morgan Elementary School.

According to the agenda for the 5 p.m. meeting at the Roosevelt Building, 1633 Keeler Ave., Executive Director Business, Human Resources, and Operations Jo Ann Armstrong will provide information on $350,000 in funding for after-school programming.

"The district made a commitment to provide after-school care for 2019-2020 and will require alternative funding sources to support the programming. After-school programming will be available to school aged community members. The district plans to work with community partners to secure future after-school options for families in subsequent years that will not require an additional tax levy after the 2019-2020 school year," stated Armstrong on the agenda.

After-school programming has long been an option for schools due to available 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grant program funding. However, federal funding to CCLC has been drastically reduced, thus making grant awards highly competitive. Over the past two years, Beloit has not been awarded any new CCLC grants due to the highly competitive grant applications. In 2018-2019, Beloit subsidized after-school programming using Title I funds to cover programming at locations where CCLC funds were not available. This is not sustainable, nor is it a quality use of the Districts Title funds, according to the agenda information.

Tonight's discussion follows the board voting to approve a policy to create a Community Service Fund 80 at its Aug. 27 meeting.

A Community Program and Services (CPS) Fund 80 will allow the district to tax above current revenue limits. Unlike other operational costs, reimbursed to the school district by the state at about 75%, local property taxpayers would foot the entire bill and none of the amount the district spends on Fund 80 activities would be reimbursed. A Fund 80 could be used for activities such as adult education, community recreation programs, elderly food service programs, day care services and other programs with the primary function of serving the community.

Because Fund 80 requires the district to include a community programming component, the Daily News inquired about how the district will meet the requirement.

"The after school programming will be open to children residing within the school district's taxing boundaries regardless of their enrollment status in the School District of Beloit. We will not be offering adult or senior programming at this time," Armstrong said.

At tonight's meeting Executive Director of School Leadership and Equity Peggy Muehlenkamp also will give a presentation on the school improvement plan for Fruzen Intermediate School. According to the school report card issued by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for 2017-2018, Fruzen received one star out of a five-star ranking and designated as "fails to meet expectations." Its score was 52.9. The rankings were issued in November of 2018.

Fruzen has new leadership including Principal Sara Norton and Assistant Principal is Jennifer Schieve.

The district has set the following goals for the school: By spring 2020, the percent of Fruzen students in grades 4-8 scoring at or above the national mean is planned increase 5% from 36.5% to 41.5% as measured by the Spring Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) reading assessment.

By spring 2020, the percent of Fruzen students in grades 4-8 scoring at or above the national mean is planned to increase 5% from 28.1% to 33.1% as measured by the spring MAP math assessment.

From spring 2018-19 to Spring 2019-20, the number of Fruzen students receiving six or more discipline referrals is planned to decrease by 15% from 103 to 88 as measured by the number of referrals processed through the office.

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