One long-time Board member attended his final School Board meeting while another attended his first as the Aurelia School Board met for their regular session on Monday at the school.
Doug Radke, a member of the board for 12 years, declined to run for re-election this year, and Dan Winterhof was elected on Sept. 13 to assume Radke's seat on the Board.
Superintendent Tom Vint thanked Radke for his "excellent contributions to the Board over the past twelve years" and praised "all (his) great work for the school."
School Board secretary Vicki Kolpin announced the official results of the recent election, with Winterhof, running for the first time, receiving 53 votes, Susan Corderman, running for re-election, receiving 52, and six votes were scattered among other write-in candidates. Kolpin administered the oath of office to Corderman and Winterhof during the second meeting of the evening, which was considered a "New Board" meeting.
Prior to the New Board meeting, the Retiring Board met, with Radke in attendance, along with his fellow Board members and school administrators.
Reports were given by TK-4 Principal Ann Sandine and High School Principal Dave Hickman. Sandine spoke of the great turnout of parents and students during the Sept. 13 School Open House.
She also shared that author and illustrator Derek Anderson visited with the elementary students last Friday and shared some of his works and experiences as an author and illustrator. Sandine said the speaker was very animated and interesting, and the students really enjoyed his talk.
She also noted that the students will be visiting the Lundquist Apple Orchard on a Sept. 23 field trip, and are really looking forward to that. Another upcoming event which has everyone's interest is the annual Homecoming football week, including the parade and Pep rally on Sept. 29 and the game on Sept. 30.
Hickman said the attendance for high school students for the first three weeks of the school year has been "outstanding", with 97.83 percent attendance for the entire 9 - 12 grades. He also said that, effective with the second semester, AHS will not be allowing students in the "Post-Secondary Option" classes to take PSEO classes if they are substantially similar to ones which are offered at AHS.
Hickman said this is in line with the Dept. of Education recommendations, as the DE pointed out that the reason the law allowing PSEO classes was written was to allow students to take in college classes they would not be able to get in their high schools.
In other news, Hickman stated that Russ Reineke will be at the school in October to talk to a high school assembly about the crash which killed his 24-year-old son near Jefferson, Iowa in 2001. The occupants of the other car, two high school girls, had been drinking at the time of the accident.
Part of his presentation includes exhibiting the car and van involved in the fatal accident outside the school for a couple of days for students and parents to see.
Hickman also mentioned the Homecoming week activities, but also cited the Homecoming Dance after the game on Sept. 30. The dance will end at 1 a.m.
Vint reviewed financial reports, and mentioned that Aurelia participates in the IJUMP joint energy purchasing pool, designed to lower utility costs for Iowa School Districts by sharing costs and fees. IJUMP has recommended that Aurelia and other customers budget an increase of 20 to 30 percent for the upcoming year. Vint will be updating the Board regularly on costs so that it can be monitored closely. He said he will also talk to the staff at the Sept. 21 In-Service about the need to conserve energy.
An adjustment had to be made in bus routes to even up the time drivers had been spending on their routes.
Vint said that the fifth graders seem to be making a good transition into middle school, and that the 18 students seem to have "banded together to help one another with a new routine and schedule", and also said the teachers have been a big help to them as well.
The school has a new Suburban, and it reportedly rides very nice, and has a year of On-Star service included with the purchase.
The teachers will be participating in an in-service workshop on Wednesday afternoon, as part of a continuing series on Robert Marzano's "Classroom Instruction That Works."
Marzano presents nine categories of strategies, and first year the teachers worked with the "Cooperative Learning" strategy. Wednesday afternoon and again for a half-day in October, the strategies will be "Homework and Practice." Additional strategies will be worked on in December and February and March and April.
This concluded the meeting of the retiring board, and board members said "good-bye" to Radke as he left.
When the new board meeting opened, Corderman and Winterhof were administered the Oath of Office, then Officers were elected. Kirk Nelson was re-elected as board president, and Keith Glienke was elected vice-president. Board secretary Kolpin administered the oath of office. The board then voted to continue the current board policy for rules and procedures, and also to continue holding their regular meetings on the second Monday of the month at 7:30 p.m.
Board committee members were appointed as follows: Glienke and Winterhof for Legislative Network; Nelson and Corderman for Transportation; Hultgren and Glienke for Building and Grounds; Nelson and Corderman for Curriculum and Staffing; and Winterhof and Hultgren for the Finance Committee.
Board members were asked to present suggestions for possible members of the School Improvement Advisory Committee, which has 10 to 15 members and meets five times during the year, making recommendations to the Board for school improvements.
Vint will be sending letters out to those suggested candidates, and new committee members will be invited to the first meeting of the year on Oct. 17.
Vint announced that the Certified Enrollment count for the District, which is certified on the third Friday of September, and determines funding from the state, is 297, down about 20 students from last year.
It is anticipated that the total will drop again next year by 20 -25 students. Open enrollments this year shows 23.2 students enrolling out and 20.6 enrolling in to the Aurelia District. This net loss of 2.6 students has gotten better each year since 2002-2003, but is still a net loss rather than a gain. Home-schooled students number 5.7 this year, up from 2.0 last year.
Vint passed around a booklet containing letters to the school board , written by the second grade students , thanking the board for the new restrooms in the elementary building. Particular favorites of the students included the "blue walls" and the "hot water."
The Alta School Board has approached Aurelia about a possible follow-up meeting to the informal July meeting among two board members and a superintendent from both schools, in which subjects discussed included the possible sharing of teachers, Career Development classes, and junior high wrestling.
After much discussion, it was decided that the superintendent and board president would work out a rough draft for a proposed agenda for such a meeting and present it to the board at the October meeting.
It was also decided that it might be better to have more board members attend a joint meeting, so information will not be "second-hand information" when discussed at a regular board meeting.
Enrollment numbers have been decreasing in Aurelia, and this appears to be a trend which will continue. The board was in agreement that some plan needs to be developed which will examine all options for the future of the school.
Final discussion concerned the upcoming merger of AEA 12 and AEA 4 into the "Northwest AEA". Plans for the move, which will take effect on July 1, 2006, have been under development for more than a year now. The merger is largely due to declining enrollments in both of the current AEA's member schools.
Policy series 100 was read and will have a second reading next month.