On July 27, two members of the Sun Prairie school board voted against a plan to transport seven students from Sankofa, a private school in the Sun Prairie region school district.
State law specifies that each private school submits its proposed zone of attendance for the following school year to the school board of each school district that has territory in the proposed zone of attendance, according to SPASD Director of Business Services Rhonda. Page and SPASD Director of Business and Finance Phil Frei.
Although the district in which the private school is located is responsible for approving the proposed area of attendance, each school board that has territory within the designated area of attendance of the private school must receive the information from the governing body of the private school or the administrator of the private school. Formal board action should be taken with respect to approval of a proposed attendance zone, Frei and Page wrote in a report to the school board.
In order to be eligible to receive transportation services from the district in which the private school student resides, all of these criteria must be met:
• The student resides two miles or more from the private school;
• The student resides in the approved attendance area of the private school; and
• The private school is located within the boundaries of the student’s resident school district or less than five miles beyond the school district boundaries measured along the route usually traveled. The obligation to provide transportation for a student enrolled in a private school only applies to the school district in which the student resides. A school district is not required to provide transportation to a student at a non-resident private school, even if the private school the student attends is located in that school district, according to the report.
On May 5, Sankofa contacted the district and requested to receive transportation services for the 2020-21 school year. Law 121.54 (2) (b) (3) states that each year before April 1, each private school must submit its proposed zone of attendance for the following school year to the school board of each school district having a territory in the zone. proposed attendance.
The statutory deadline of April 1 for the submission of a zone of presence is essential to allow the transport company sufficient time to respond to the transport request. If this deadline is not met, according to the report, the existing attendance zone remains in effect for the following school year. The law states that deadlines are essential, but DPI guidelines make it clear that technical details should not be used as an excuse for refusing the bus. In addition, the law gives districts the power to extend time limits.
According to the report, SPASD will either have to provide bus transport or pay families to transport Sankofa’s children. Page said the Sankofa School for the Talented and the Gifted is, or will be by the start of the school year, located inside the McKenzie Family Boys and Girls Club at 232 Windsor St. in Sun Prairie.
“If possible, we would like to transport students on our regular bus lines,” Frei and Page wrote in the report. “This option will not incur additional costs. If this is not feasible, we will pay the parents to transport their children. The approximate annual cost per student is $ 487. Currently there are seven children, so the estimated annual cost would be $ 3,409. “
Sun Prairie School Board President Steve Schroeder told the Zoom meeting that he would not vote to approve the allocation of funds to public schools for transportation of students from private schools.
Schroeder and Bryn Horton both voted against the article, but it still passed a favorable vote from the rest of the board.
The council authorized the cash transfers as part of its fourth quarter budget adjustments.
According to a report by Frei, periodic budget adjustments are made after the initial budget is adopted. Adjustments take into account changes in budget estimates and assumptions, including new / updated sources of funding as well as expenditures. The board approved the budget adjustments on Jan. 27, 2020 and May 26, 2020. Budget adjustments are common for a school district at this time of year, Frei said. The administration recommended allocating 2019-2020 retained funds of $ 1.8 million to the “2019 Referendum Salary Account for Professional Educators” and the remaining amount estimated at $ 2.5 million to “stabilization. from the budget”.
The board was able to view two screenshots of the design updates for Central Heights Middle School (currently Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School) and the new Sun Prairie West High School (see online version of this article on sunprairiestar.com to watch the Sun Prairie West screencast).