Moving Forward in the SDMA

Moving Forward in the SDMA
Posted on 06/30/2015

Unlike many organizations, the fiscal year for Wisconsin school districts runs from July 1 to June 30.  Not only does this mean that my first “official” year of working as the district administrator in Menomonie is complete, but it also means that our school district now moves into a new calendar and budget cycle. Hopefully, lawmakers in Madison will complete the budget process soon so that school districts and other public entities in Wisconsin can continue moving forward.

While the 2014-2015 school year provided many challenges, we also have many wonderful accomplishments to celebrate. Some of the most significant district accomplishments from the past year include:

  • Completing building renovations at Downsville and River Heights, along with stage one at MHS.

  • Improving branding of the school district through the creation of a school promotional video, the expanded the use of social media, and the continuation of the School Crossings column.

  • Collaborating with stakeholders to update the District’s strategic plan and establishing a vision for financial security for the school district.

  • Changing the district’s health insurance and early retirement benefits to make them more sustainable for the school district.

  • Improving the school calendar for 2015-2016.

  • Setting a phasing plan for the MHS Sports Complex and continuing fundraising efforts that include scoreboard sponsorships, exclusive beverage agreement, and pre-approved naming rights for school district facilities.

  • Partnering with UW-Stout and the community to obtain a large art integration grant and to recognize staff with a community-wide Teacher Appreciation Week celebration.

  • Saving thousands of dollars in annual interest costs by establishing a local line of credit instead of short-term borrowing for cash flow needs.

  • Establishing a capital improvement trust fund to start saving for major maintenance needs of the future, and working with maintenance and tech departments to implement a digital work request system.

  • Implementing the new computer-based standardized exams in the SDMA, researching and adopting a new K-5 math resource, and developing an expanded K-12 academic intervention program for 2015-2016.

  • Identifying and addressing the severe bandwidth limitations at Knapp Elementary School, and collaborating with UW-Stout and other local governmental units to expand high speed fiber access in Menomonie.

  • Overseeing the implementation efforts of the new Boys & Girls Club partnership with SDMA and partnering with UW-Stout, Dunn Co., and Menomonie PD to address bias-related concerns in our community.

  • Participating in a statewide advocacy effort for public education and developing a balanced preliminary budget for 2015-2016 without eliminating programming opportunities for students.

  • Improving the alternative teacher compensation model by soliciting feedback from staff and developing solutions to improve the system.

As you can see, it has been a very busy and productive year in Menomonie. Our community has much to be proud of, and the collaborative effort by our students, staff, and community members is greatly appreciated. The next edition of School Crossings will discuss some of our ambitious goals in the school district for the 2015-2016 school year.

Should school stakeholders have any questions about our schools, or if you would like to suggest some goals as we strive for continuous improvement in Menomonie, I invite you to visit the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue or contact me at 715-232-1642.  More information about our schools can be found on the school district website ( and on Twitter (