AURELIA - At Monday night's regular monthly meeting, the Aurelia School Board discussed the school's proposed Wellness Facility with architect Paul Meyer of Architects Collaborative in Spencer.
Meyer gave his opinion on the proposed plan, and also mentioned some possible alternatives the Board might want to consider, such as choice of material (mortar and brick versus steel). Meyer felt that a projected timeline of the Board approving the final plans in March, reviewing and choosing a contractor's bid in April, and the actual building construction done this summer was not unrealistic.
The Board later had further discussion on the matter, and directed Superintendent Tom Vint to set up a contract with Meyer and his firm for their architectural services.
In other business, Vint announced that he had just received word that Aurelia was one of only four school districts in the state to be awarded an $11,000 Parent Involvement Grant. Vint said he feels the District can begin implementing the activities in their proposed plan as soon as this spring. These activities include getting a charter for a PTA group in the Aurelia District; establishing a Family Center in the school (to welcome and orient new students and families); Professional development for staff and parents in learning to use new software which would connect parents with the school; attending the Iowa PTA Convention in Clinton on April 20-21, 2007; attending the National PTA Convention in St. Louis June 29-July 1, 2007; establishing a twice-a-year "Parent's Night Out;" and establishing "Early Bird conferences," wherein every family in the District is visited by one of the student's teachers before school begins in August.
In other business, the Board approved the resignation of Jason Heeren as assistant volleyball coach. The Board previously approved head volleyball coach Tim Ireland's resignation, so the District will need to fill both of these positions.
The Board also approved Driver Education fees for this summer. The fee for the course itself will be $210, and the instructor's fee will be $140 per student. Any out-of-district students who may want to enroll will pay a $300 fee, rather than the $210 which Aurelia District students will pay.
The Board discussed the agenda for their upcoming Board Retreat, which will be held on the afternoon of January 24. The agenda will include District financial future projections, harassment policies, and sharing agreements.
The Board also approved Needs Assessment forms, which will be distributed to students, parents, staff, and community members this spring, a process which is required every five years.
Vint announced that the transportation for the shared junior high wrestling program, which begins January 15 and ends in early March, has been satisfactorily worked out, and that Mike Fry, Tom Bohnenkamp, Jerry Sandine, and he will be providing this service.
Vint also mentioned that a settlement has been reached in a case brought by the First Cooperative Association against the Cherokee County Board of Review, and the FCA property was reassessed at a lesser value. Vint said that this decision will affect all school districts in Cherokee County, but he does not yet have a dollar figure for the Aurelia District, and will be contacting the county assessor this spring to see what the new figure will be.
Superintendent Tom Vint presented a list of possible projects to upgrade the Aurelia facility over the next few years. Projects would include: installing a new floor in the lunch room ("the old gym"); continuing the upgrade of technology; installing air conditioning in the high school offices and the room housing the computer server ; continuing the upgrade of playground equipment; new lighting/ceiling/painting in the gymnasium; new plastic bleachers on the west side of the gymnasium; a concession/commons area south of the gym (where the AD's office and "Dog Pound" are currently located); improving the sound system in the gymnasium; and purchasing a newer used pickup to replace the 1983 pickup currently used for running errands, etc. No action was taken on any of these ideas. Vint just wanted the Board to be thinking about the subject. The number one project, of course, is the Wellness Facility (which was mentioned in Thursday's Chronicle Times), but Vint says the District has approximately $460,000 in SILO and PPEL funds, which can only be used for maintenance projects, and he feels that most, if not all, of the listed projects could be done, in addition to the construction of the Wellness Facility.
Vint reported on a continuing problem with leaks from the heating unit in the wrestling room. Control Specialists have replaced the coil in the unit, which should resolve the problem temporarily, but Vint has also asked Control Specialists for a bid on replacing the entire unit.
The Board reviewed the results of ITBS and ITED tests taken by Aurelia students, and were pleased to see that the scores for most grades were above average.
Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine reported that report cards for grades TK-4 were sent out last week, and that she has received positive feedback from several parents and teachers about the new grading system which was implemented this year. Sandine said the results of ITBS and DIBELS testing will be shared with parents at conferences in February. Sandine also said that a BVU student, Josh Saaba, is currently doing an observation/participation experience in Sue Ireland's third grade room, and that another BVU student, Misty Baker, will begin student teaching in special education with Deena Jones on January 30. ITBS second, third, and fourth grade results were shared and discussed with the Board. The overwhelming majority of students scored as "proficient." Sandine said the TK / K classes will be presenting the program at the Aurelia Kiwanis meeting on January 11. The third and fourth grade will be going to Sunset Knoll on January 16th, as part of the Grandparents' Program, and will be doing a "snowman activity" with the residents. The first grade will be going to Sunset Knoll on January 23 to sing for the residents. The 100th Day of school will be celebrated on January 24.
High School Principal Dave Hickman announced that the Aurelia High School Jazz Band has been invited to be the "clinic band" at the Iowa Bandmasters Association meeting on May 10, and the clinician will be the man who wrote the tune the Aurelia jazz band commissioned. Hickman also reported that, under the new Iowa eligibility law, one student will be suspended for 20 school days in the sport in which he is currently active. Two others will miss 20 days of a sport either this spring or summer, or football in the fall.
Two members of the Board, President Dan Winterhof and Keith Glienke, showed interest in participating in a small group meeting with two members of the Alta Board, likely to be held on January 22.
In accordance with rules, the Board went into a closed session to do the evaluation of Superintendent Vint.
Due to the lateness of the hour, two agenda items - the second reading of the Early Retirement Policy and the first reading of the 900 Series of policies - were tabled until the next meeting .
The February 12 Board meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. rather than the usual 7:30 p.m., due to the Aurelia girls playing a District basketball game that evening.