AURELIA - The Aurelia School Board heard from two people who have been involved in a successful sharing and consolidation agreement at a special retreat at the school Thursday.
George-Little Rock Superintendent Joanne Smith and Board President Warren Tiedeman had been recommended by the AEA when the Aurelia Board asked for suggestions of consultants who had been involved in a successful sharing program, and they spoke to the Board for an hour at the Thursday meeting, telling about their experience and answering questions from the Aurelia Board.
The Board felt that this was a beneficial experience, and that the speakers had been very open and helpful as Aurelia continues to ponder the future of the school.
The primary message of the speakers was that the bottom line in deciding about sharing is to do "What's best for the kids", and to put other issues on the back burner, as difficult as that might be sometimes. This is in line with the Aurelia Board's feeling as well.
In discussion following the speakers, the Aurelia Board felt that of the options they have, the best "next step" is to get the public more involved in the discussions, bringing them up-to-date on what's been done thus far.
They felt that approaching the Citizen's Advisory Committee would be a good first step in this process, They also felt that the Board needs to come to a consensus on what their goals are and quantify, in writing, what number of students they would like to have in an average-sized class.
They also need to stay aware of state standards and remain at, or hopefully above those standards. Another possibility "down the road" is having the state Department of Education do a feasibility study.
At this point, the Aurelia Board has met with the Boards of Education at both Alta and Cherokee to explore those possible options, but no decisions have been made one way or the other.
In other business, several parents of junior students, members of an After-Prom committee, asked permission to use the school facilities again for the after-prom party this year.
The committee has several plans to ensure the safety of all students this year. They plan to double the number of chaperones, assuring thta there will always be 15-20 adults present. Students who attend the dance and want to attend te after-prom will not be allowed to leave the building. They will use the school locker rooms to change their clothes.
The committee offered to purchase an add-on to the school's liability insurance policy. They were advised that this would cost $100, and felt that was well worth the cost. The committee said they had run the rules by the students and they had expressed agreement.
In addition to games and drawings, they plan to have a caricature artist present to do sketches of those who request it. The main entertainment will be a hypnotist, though he will not start his show until about 3 :15 a.m. because of a show he is performing earlier in another community. His show will last until about 4:30 a.m., at which time the party will be over.
After some discussion, the Board approved the use of the school facilities for this non-school sponored activity pending the class' purchase of the liability add-on policy. The prom is scheduled for April 22.
The Board approved the hiring of Matt Diediker as the head baseball coach. Diediker is currently serving as a graduate assistant football coach at Buena Vista University, and has an extensive background in baseball, having played in college and serving as a unior Varsity coach.
Finally, the Board reviewed the recommendations of members Keith Glienke and Jim Hultgren, who served as a projects committee, in regards to construction and maintenance areas of concern.
The committee considered several items which had been suggested by the Superintendent and other Board members and recommended the following projects be done:
1. Replacing the drainage system on the east side of the gym with tile and replacing the current water line.
2. Replacing one of the route school buses, selling two of the high-mileage current buses and purchasing a new one.
3. Replacing the floor of the lunch room with a new type of flooring
4. Padding for the stage area
5. Replcing the flashing on the roof of the shop area
6. Continuing to upgrade technology
These six projects would total approximately $158,000. No vote was taken at this meeting, but this will take place at the regular monthly meeting, on February 13.
If these are approved, the committee felt that the school would still have some additional SILO tax money to possibly spend on a new weight room facility. Superintendent Vint said that our facility is "way behind the times" as far as equipment, and also that its location is not very accessible or desirable.
A plan has been submitted for a possible building, to be located in the area where the driveway to the shop is. The Board also discussed the possibility of making a new Weight Training building a community "Wellness Center", which members of the community would be welcome to use.
One other project which had been recommended by the Superintendent, but not by the committee , was a new sound system for the gym. The committee did not recommend this because the School Foundation has expressed an interest in funding that project.
The next Board meeting, on Feb. 13, will begin at 5:30 p.m. because of the Girls' District Basketball Tournament game in Holstein that evening.