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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Nostalgia: What difference a year makes--School Beat: Facilities review

(Ed.note: In preparation for the Building and grouds meeting today at 4:30PM at the Evansville District Office Conference Room at which Plunkett Raysich will be presenting the costs associated with the various options they have identified as possible solutions to the problem they have defined in their assessment---I have presented below the minutes of the famous appearance of Supr. Heidi Carvin before the Evansville City Planning Commission on Dec. 5th, 2005. This is a meeting that The Observer had long encouraged. The minutes reflect that the school system was at 83% capacity about a year ago-----that was BEFORE Plunkett redefined "capacity" and changed the number from 2100 students to 1874. I have printed these minutes for all you that are going to come to the meeting today. Enjoy.")

Planning Commission Minutes--12-5-2005

Plan CommissionRegular MeetingTuesday, December 5, 2005, 6:00 P.M.City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, WIMINUTESThe meeting was called to order by Mayor Ringhand at 6:00 PM. Present were: Mayor Ringhand, Ald. Aikman, Ald. Hammann, Cheryl Dickert, Gil Skinner, Dave Sauer, and Jeff Vrstal. Staff present: Tim Schwecke, City Planner; Bill Connors, City Administrator; and Jim Beilke, Clerk/Treasurer. Ald. Cothard, Juergens, and Sornson were present in the audience.

The Plan Commission move item (7-A) regarding the discussion on the impact of residential growth in the school district facilities and finances after item (5) citizen appearances. The agenda, as amended, was approved.Motion by Hammann, seconded by Skinner, to waive the reading of the November 1, 2005 Minutes and approve them as printed. Motion carried.Citizen Appearances Other Than Those Agenda Items Listed. None.New Business.

The Plan Commission discussed the impact on the school district facilities and finances from residential growth in the school district. Heidi Carvin, Evansville School District Superintendent, distributed a pie chart on the school district population by township showing the student population consisting of 50% from Evansville, 22% from Union, 8% from Magnolia, 5% from Porter, 5% from Center, 6% from Janesville, and 4% from others (attached).

Next, Ms. Carvin distributed the school district enrollment projections, noting the most growth is in the K-5 grades (attached). With this growth, the school district facilities are now at 83% capacity (attached). Ms. Carvin asked the communities for input regarding residential growth. The City of Evansville has agreements with two major developers limiting them together to an average of 70 new lots per year for next 4 years.

Mr. Connors added that future agreements would need to require fewer new lots than 70 per year if the City of Evansville is going to meet the targeted population growth rate of 27% over the next 10 years.

Kendall Schneider, Town of Union Chairman, stated that currently the town is considering limiting growth to 44 new lots per year in the new Start Growth Plan, but that plan is not yet adopted.

Ms. Carvin stated that the school districts facilities will be above 90% capacity within the next 10 years, and state revenues are not keeping up with the costs to run the schools. The state revenues are based on enrollment and/or Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 1993, the Wisconsin school revenues were capped, and it is illegal to exceed the revenue cap unless authorized in a district-wide referendum.

Since then, the CPI inflation was lower than the inflation schools face, such as, insurance, wages, fuel, and textbooks. In 2005, the medium growth in budgets allowed by revenues limits was 2.5%, and the medium growth in the cost of schools was 4.2%, which leaves a typical gap between the cost growth rate and revenue growth rate of 1.7%..........."

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