News & Notes: Sept. 25

Sept. 24, 2013

City keeps options open for police union negotiations

Glendale — As it prepares to negotiate a new contract with its police union, Glendale is considering the option of splitting the health insurance for represented police employees, including retirees, into a separate group from other city employees, as a way to help keep costs down.

At the request of the city's human resources director, the Common Council on Monday approved a resolution that would allow the city to have a second insurance plan with a deductible for police union employees and retirees.

Currently all employees are enrolled in the State of Wisconsin Health Insurance Traditional Plan, which has no deductible. The city pays 88 percent of the low-cost plan for nonrepresented employees, and 90 percent for represented police employees. The deductible under the second plan would be $500 for an employee enrolled in the single plan and $1,000 for a family.

The city is proposing that police union employees also begin paying 12 percent of their health insurance costs, as opposed to the 10 percent they now pay, and 6.7 percent into their pensions, as opposed to the current 4-percent contribution level, City Administrator Richard Maslowski said.

Maslowski said the city does not yet know how negotiations with the union will be finalized, but the resolution will provide more flexibility in order to help keep the budget balanced. The city's existing contract with the union expires at the end of 2013.

Glendale favors east design alternative for I-43 reconstruction

Glendale — As the Wisconsin Department of Transportation finalizes its environmental impact report for the proposed reconstruction of Interstate 43 from Bender Road to Highway 60, it is asking surrounding communities to indicate their preference of the two proposed design alternatives.

The Glendale Common Council on Monday voted to support the alternative proposing to shift the existing interstate east, as opposed to west, based on staff input, including that of the police and fire departments.

Both alternatives include the expansion of I-43 to six lanes, with a four-lane Port Washington Road. Jean Nicolet Road also would be maintained between Bender and Green Tree roads under both options, although its exact location would depend upon which alternative is implemented, according to a memo from City Administrator Richard Maslowski.

The two design alternatives were presented for public consideration in August. The preferences of impacted communities will be incorporated into the DOT's final environmental impact report for the project, which will be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration in the near future.

During 2014 and 2015, the DOT will focus on a single design for the I-43 reconstruction, during which time additional public informational meetings will be held. Construction is planned for 2020 or beyond, depending on federal and state funding.

Glendale approves fire department's capital budgets

Glendale — Glendale will be expected to contribute just over 28 percent of costs for necessary equipment upgrades of the North Shore Fire Department in 2014 and 2015.

The Common Council on Monday supported a resolution approving a multi-year capital budget for 2014 and 2015 for the department's purchase of two-way radios, an ambulance and firefighting protective equipment. Glendale's portion of those purchases is estimated at about $118,300 in 2014 and $125,300.

The total cost for the department is not to exceed $420,000 in 2014 and $445,000 in 2015. All member communities, which also include Bayside, Brown Deer, Fox Point, River Hills, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay, are required to adopt the resolution indicating their funding levels. City Administrator Richard Maslowski said the funds would be part of Glendale's capital improvement program budget, not its general operating budget.

Nicolet holds off issuing construction notes

Glendale — The Nicolet School Board on Monday held off approving the issuance of $1.9 million in promissory notes that will be used to pay for renovations of the building, parking lot and stormwater infrastructure reconstruction. Much of the construction was completed during summer.

District officials noted that bids to issue the notes appeared high and are hopeful that interest rates will drop soon to make the financing more affordable.

The matter will be revisited at the board's next meeting.

Nicolet board OKs paying phone stipends to staffers

Glendale — The Nicolet School Board on Monday unanimously approved paying administrators a $40 monthly stipend for using their personal cellphones for school business rather than buying phones, which  would have cost $45 per person on a monthly basis.

School Board approves

two resignations

Brown Deer — The Brown Deer School Board on Tuesday approved the resignations of Anthony Scarpace, systems and network administrator for the Brown Deer School District, and Carol Holmes, administrative assistant.

Superintendent Deb Kerr said the district is going to try to reduce services to make up for the loss of Scarpace by using the district's current IT team. Scarpace has also agreed to work with the district two days out of the week to help out.

Board approves agreement

with UWM for second year

Brown Deer — The Brown Deer School Board on Tuesday approved a memorandum of understanding between the School District and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Education that allows the two entities to share resources.

This is the second year UWM and Brown Deer have collaborated for research and professional development. The memorandum does not come with any associated costs to the district. Last year, the two entities helped each other with in-kind payments. For example, UWM staff would work with Brown Deer staff on professional development. In exchange, UWM held an event at district facilities that some Brown Deer teachers were able to attend.

The agreement is good until 2015.

Brown Deer pens second

letter to legislators

Brown Deer — The Brown Deer School Board is sending a second letter to state Rep. Dan Knodl and Sen. Alberta Darling thanking them for the work they did during the formation of the state budget that provided school districts a higher per pupil allocation than was originally thought.

The letter also expresses the School Board's support for a potential bill that would allow school districts the ability to set a start date for the school year before Sept. 1. It also shows support for the common core curriculum.

Nicolet prepares to implement assessment tools

Glendale — The Nicolet School Board on Monday discussed the implementation and results of different national testing metrics, including: Measures of Academic Progress, Rausch Interval Testing, and Common Core aligned strategies. This testing focuses primarily on math, reading and other language arts.

About 8 million students across the nation participate in this form of standardized testing. Nicolet High School, specifically, measures fall to spring progress of the students as well as compiles year-over-year statistics, hoping to track improvement. The school breaks down the testing into different demographics, including: grade-levels; boys vs. girls; and black vs. white students.

Principal Greg Kabara said that they can integrate the statistics with those of the high school's three feeder school districts in order to better track academic performance throughout students' careers.

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