Aurelia board postpones Wellness Center Project

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Aurelia School Board decided at Monday's Board meeting to put the proposed Wellness Center project "on the back burner" until further research could be conducted. There is some concern that the timing for the project may not be right. Given the recent feasibility study and talks with other schools about possible sharing programs , the Board feels that some community members may get a "mixed message" regarding the future direction of the school if the Wellness Center is built at this time.

Board members see the Wellness Center as something which could be used by the entire community, not just students. They also realize that the current Weight Room is not by any means an ideal room for its purposes. Board members would like to visit a couple of area communities which have done similar projects, to get input regarding how this has worked out and what some potential problems might be. They would also like to invite any community members, especially city officials, to join them on the visits.

It had been recommended that the Board hire an architect for the project to insure that fire codes, etc. are followed, but Superintendent Vint checked with recommended architects, and their charge would be anywhere from $7000-$12,000. Combined with the estimated cost of the construction itself, it would represent a considerable expenditure for the District, and the Board wants to make sure they make an informed decision before proceeding any further.

Superintendent Vint did have some good financial news, as the Aurelia District's tax rate has been lowered by $. 21.

Vint also summarized 2006 Iowa Legislative Actions which will affect the Aurelia. Local graduation requirements will include the "ACT core" classes, beginning with the ninth grade class in 2007-2008. This will require the Aurelia District to raise their science requirement from 2.5 to 3.0 years. The date for "certified enrollment," which has been the third Friday in September, has been moved back to October 1. The mandate for a media program and teacher librarian in all school districts has been reinstated by the Legislature. A district may obtain a waiver for the 2006-2007 school year, but Vint feels that Aurelia's best option for 2007 -2008 would be to share this position with a neighboring district. He will continue to research which schools might be willing to do this. Superintendent Vint advised the Board that one of Legislative actions created an "Institute for Tomorrow's Workforce Education System Efficiency Study", whose mandate is to develop a new educational delivery system. They will address such issues as the alignment of school districts, AEAs, public post secondary institutions, and the Department of Education. Their recommendations to the legislature are due by January 15, 2007.

On another sharing matter, Junior High football coach Marv Munden feels that Aurelia will not be able to field a competitive team this fall, as they will only have 10 - 11 boys out for the team. Alta has said they would be willing to share, but Superintendent Vint will do more research on this, and bring it up for a vote at the July meeting, Vint has mailed letters to the parents of the Aurelia boys, seeking their opinions on the sharing proposal.

Vint presented the 2006-2007 Learning Goals set by the School Improvement Committee, and these were approved by the Board. Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine shared the 2005-2006 results of Aurelia students' standardized tests (DIBELS, ITBS, and ITED) , and the students' excellent scores were discussed at length by the Board.

Vint distributed a copy of the web page which the school has submitted for the new town of Aurelia web site, . Several in attendance have looked at the new site, and thought it was very professional-looking and informative. The town web page was built by Glen Bowen, an Aurelia High School alumnus.

High School Principal Dave Hickman reported that the School Improvement Committee had studied the High School handbook, and recommended adding a couple of sentences to the section on "dress code." The following sentences will be added to the handbook soon: "Students must recognize that brief and revealing clothing is not appropriate apparel in school," and "Every student must be clothed from shoulder to mid-thigh." Hickman will present the updated handbook to the Board for their approval later this summer. Hickman also commented on the new athletic eligibility rule , and said it was confusing it spots. He did say that a local high school's eligibility policy will take priority over the state rule, if it is more restrictive.

Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine said that attendance at the optional Staff Development Day on May 30 was 100 per cent. The staff investigated a new spelling program, called "Word Journeys", and were impressed by the program. It is hoped that more training in the program can be provided during the coming school year, and that it can be implemented the following year. In 2006-2007, the staff will focus on a program called Project READ. A team of three staff members will receive eight days of training at the AEA, then train the rest of the local staff during local staff development in services.

New softball bleachers have been installed along the third base line of the softball field, replacing some which were not in good repair.

Steven Rupp, an Aurelia student, submitted a request for possible funding for his 20-day experience with the People to People Student Ambassador Program in Europe this summer. Though the Board and administration are very proud of the student for his participation in the program, it is against School Policy to provide financial assistance for activities which are not school-sponsored, so the request was denied.

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