Books on the Bus Program Updates

Ted Chaudoir, founder of Southern Door School’s Books on the Bus program, updated the community on the grassroots literacy program last night at Southern Door School’s State of the District meeting.

“The response from the community to the publicity that Books on the Bus got from local papers, from online news, from the Wisconsin Education Association Council just turned out to be so passionate for this program we felt we needed to try to develop it into something that will be easy for bus drivers to use and logistically easier for students to take advantage of,” Chaudoir said.

Chaudoir is developing a seat cover to put on the buses that will hold books for kids to read on the bus and a logo for the program.

The State of the District meeting at Southern Door.

On Feb. 6, Chaudoir will receive a literacy award from the Wisconsin State Reading Association at its annual meeting in Milwaukee, and other school districts have started similar programs. Chaudoir said he’s looking for grant funding to help expand Books on the Bus

“I’m not an educator, but I think I know this is what educators look for – to instill a love for books at the youngest age possible,” he said. “We’re excited for the potential of future student achievement this little program has to offer.”

About 40 community members attended Southern Door School District’s State of the District meeting, an annual opportunity for administrators and board of education members to share district news and goals.

The presentations covered Southern Door’s achievements compared to other schools in the state and Packerland Conference, goals for district improvement, and an outline of school funding.

Some of the district’s highlights:

• The district has the Packerland Conference’s second highest fourth grade reading scores, highest 10th grade science scores and highest average ACT scores

• The district has the third lowest total expenditures in the Packerland Conference

• The district got a grant to put security cameras throughout the school, and two on every school bus

• The school parking lot will be redesigned this summer

• Refinancing old debt saved the district $112,090

Southern Door School District has had a tough financial year. They’re at the mercy of the state’s school funding formula and voters approving referendums (or not approving, as they did in 2013), and have cut scores of programs and increased student fees on many activities.

After the meeting, those who attended were given a survey that asked three questions about the district’s financial future:

1.) What ideas do you have for additional ways to reduce costs in the district?

2.) What ideas do you have for additional ways to generate more money for the district?

3.) What budget cuts in programs, service, and personnel over the past years would you like to see brought back or restored?

For more, watch a video of the three-hour meeting, which will be posted on the district website.