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Aurelia Board approves budget, salary proposals

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

AURELIA - The Aurelia School Board approved the proposed 2007-08 budget at a Budget Hearing on April 9th, prior to their regular monthly meeting. The total requirements for the budget will be $4.122 million, with a projected tax rate of $10.44 (down from $11.14 in FY 07). This budget includes expenditures for the new weight room, new boiler, lunchroom flooring, and a salary increase of 4 percent.

In other business, the Board approved the salary/benefit proposal for certified staff, which was a 4 percent increase in base pay, and a 1 percent increase in career increment, for a total package increase of 4.83 percent. The state average is a 4.73 percent increase.

Approval was also given for the salary/benefit proposal for support staff and Adminstrative personnel. A 4 percent increase was the recommendation for support staff, and an increase of $1,800 (which is the average teacher salary raise) was the recommendation for the administrative team.

The bid for replacement flooring in the lunch room was tabled for now, and probably will not be done until the summer of 2008. A decision on a bid for replacement of the old boiler was also tabled, pending clarification of terms by one of the bidders. The Board hopes to have that information by Friday, and make the decision then. Consensus of the group was that a two boiler system might be more cost efficient than one larger boiler.

The low bid of $13,586.29, from Modern Heating and Cooling of Cherokee, was approved for the installation of Air Conditioning for the High School Administrative offices and the Computer Server room.

It was felt that the administrative offices needed AC because staff often work there in June and August, and, if the door is closed, for confidentiality reasons, there is no air circulating. Tim Limbert felt that the server room required AC because the heat build-up which occurs in that room could be damaging to the equipment.

In other business, the 28E agreement with Western Iowa Tech Community College for League of Schools membership was extended for the 2007-08 school year. This dual credit program also has Cherokee Washington, Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn and River Valley as participants.

The schools pay for faculty costs, credit services, textbook costs, and course supplies and materials. Aurelia plans to offer courses in Introduction To Early Childhood Education and Computer Hardware Basics this fall.

The Board also approved May graduation for 33 seniors, dependent on their successfully completing graduation requirements.

The Board approved Board Policy Series 900 upon their second reading. Included in these policies is Policy No. 905.2, "Smoke - Free Environment." This policy states that "School district facilities and grounds, including school vehicles, are off limits for smoking." The Board decided to make this policy effective Aug. 1, 2007, to allow time for appropriate signage to be posted at sites on the school grounds, and also to allow time for people to adjust to the upcoming ban. The policy states that it is the responsibility of the school administration to enforce the policy.

In other business, Superintendent Tom Vint reported that May 25 will be a "snow make-up day" for students and teachers, and that the end-of-the-year workshop for teachers will be held all day on May 29 and one-half day on May 30. There will also be an additional staff development day on May 31. Teachers will receive a stipend for that day, and since the workshop is outside of the regular contract days, participation will not be mandatory.

Vint also reported that ACT testing for the Class of 2007 showed a composite score of 22.5, meeting the goal of being at or above the state average, which was 22.1 last year. At Aurelia, 73 percent of the class took the test, compared to a state average of 65 percent student participation. Of the students testing, 63 percent posted a composite score of 20 or higher.

Vint announced that Duane Kent and Mary Brinkman have agreed to serve on the School Foundation Board, replacing two retiring members. He also said that the School District surveys were sent out on March 26 to four groups - community members, staff members, students, and parents. The surveys are to be returned to the school by May 1, and the AEA will work with the District to compile the data.

The superintendent reported on the number of 7th and 8th grade students who plan to participate in junior high sports next year. The only sports which would appear to present "numbers" problems, as far as being able to field a team, would be football, which will have nine seventh graders and four eighth graders, and wrestling, which has only one student who is planning to participate. Decisions will need to be made regarding coaching assignments and possible sharing.

The Board commended the Jazz Band on their earning first place in the State Jazz Band competition.

High School Principal Dave Hickman said that the average daily attendance, K-12, is better than it was two years ago at this time, despite the extensive illnesses among students in recent weeks. attendance is at 95.61 percent for the year, 95 percent is the minimum daily attendance required by the "No Child Left Behind" program.

Hickman also discussed concerns about good conduct violations, and spelled out what security measures will be in place at this year's prom and after-prom. The Aurelia Police Chief is in the process of arranging visits to the school by the "drug dogs" to do unannounced drug searches. Hickman also discussed the state Department of Education's Model Core Curriculum. This curriculum is not required, but it is suggested that these subjects are things that students should know, or be able to do, in order to be productive citizens in the 21st Century. Aurelia's next step, said Hickman, is to do a "gap analysis" to see what the District should be teaching that it is not, as well as what they are teaching that they don't need to teach.

Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine said that the school made about $600 from sales during the Scholastic Book Fair, This money will go towards the purchase of additional books for guided and Accelerated Reading. Sandine said the Family Science Night held in conjunction with "See What We Can Do Night," was a big success. Over 95% of elementary families took part in the event , and both students and parents had a lot of positive comments about the experience.

The annual "Kindergarten Roundup" was held on March 30th. Students visited five different assessment stations, with the assistance of 8th grade helpers. The recommendation for next school year is a TK class of 12, and a Kindergarten class of 16. Of these 28, 11 are already in TK this year, so there will be 17 new students next year. Sandine also presented some information she had just received, which indicated that the State Board of Regents will be implementing a new system to determine admissions of freshmen 2009. A formula will be used to determine if the prospective student has met the criteria for admission. This formula, called the Regent Admission Index (RAI) will be : (2 x ACT composite score) + (1 x HS rank)+ (20 x high school GPA ) + (5 x the number of HS courses completed in the core subjects).

Students will have to take a look at the classes they will be taking, and perhaps add another core course or two to their course load, to improve their chances of being accepted at one of the state universities, as their GPA and class rank will not likely change much.

The Board reviewed the School District Audit, which was just received. No recommendations were made which are unattainable.

Vint said he had received a call from Alta Superintendent Fred Maharry. Alta recently held a town meeting to discuss future school plans, and the meeting was attended by approximately 40 people, most of whom were school staff. Concern was expressed in the meeting about sending students to Aurelia, and Maharry said that the Alta Board would make that decision. Maharry also wanted to know what Aurelia's projected High School enrollments were, as he had heard Aurelia would only have 40 high school students. Vint sent these projections to Maharry, assuring him that projections had "bottomed out" at 70 high school students. Alta had also discussed a "reduced" tuition rate for Aurelia students if they come to Alta, as Sioux Central has done for Albert City students. Maharry reiterated that Alta still wants to work with Aurelia, and does not want to start any talks with Schaller-Crestland until they have explored all possibilities with Aurelia.

The meeting concluded with a Board discussion regarding an invitation from the Cherokee District to have lunch and tour their buildings. The Aurelia Board will meet at the Aurelia school at 9:30 Friday morning (April 13th), vote on approval of the purchase of a new boiler system, then go to Cherokee for a tour of their District's facilities, followed by a luncheon meeting to discuss issues which affect both Districts.



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