The Aurelia School Board met in regular session Monday night, and much of the meeting centered around the Wellness Center currently under construction on the north end of the school.
Project architect Paul Mauer was present for the meeting and reviewed the progress. Mauer said he had met with the contractor and sub-contractors that afternoon, and reported that they are about a week behind schedule, due to the extreme winds we've experienced recently, but that they all thought they would be able to make that lost time up. The contractor, Grundman Hicks, feels they will be able to enclose the building by the first week of July, and that the building will be usable by the end of August as scheduled. Mauer noted that the last phase of the project will be the pouring of the parking lot on the north side of the building. Mauer said two minor change orders have been approved, one for a change in the roof and the other for grinding out the curb on the north side. He was very pleased that the city suggested putting in a new transformer, which he felt will be much easier than hooking up at the current transformer location.
Football coach Myron Radke was also present, and presented a list of equipment which he and other coaches felt would be appropriate for the new facility. No decision was made at this point, but it was felt that the equipment should be decided upon and ordered by the conclusion of the next Board meeting on July 9th. A number of people were recommended to comprise a committee to be in charge of setting up rules and regulations at the new Center. This committee will include Superintendent Tom Vint, Board Member Jim Hultgren, one of the coaches, and 2-3 members of the community. The membership will be finalized as soon as possible, and the committee needs to meet at least once before the July Board meeting.
Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine and Vint spoke about a project on which they are working. The State is now accepting applications for schools who wish to have a pre-school.They are in the process of applying for a pre-school program for 4-year-olds. This program would be free to the students, and the school would receive approximately $3200 per student from the Department of Education to run the program. It appears that Aurelia would have a class of approximately 18 this fall. The application was not made available until June 1, and needs to be sent to the state by July 2, and there is no guarantee at this time that he Aurelia District's application will be approved.
If it is approved, the proposed plan calls for a three-day-a-week program, staffed by a certified teacher and aide. The class would be held in a currently empty classroom on the first floor of the elementary building.
The Board approved the District Learning Goals for next school year, as recommended by the School Improvement Committee. Grades 4, 7 and 11 will be targeted for improvement in Reading Comprehension; Grade 6 in Math Computation; Grades 4 and 7 in Science; Grades 4 and 11 in Spelling; Grades 4 and 9 in Social Studies, and Grade 11 in Vocational Studies.
In other business, Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine reported on the 2006-07 school year's District Testing Program. Sandine gave a brief explanation of the standardized assessments which the Aurelia District uses to measure students' proficiency - the Dynamic Indicators of Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) for grades K -2, the Iowa Tests of Basic Sklls (ITBS) for grades 2- 8, and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development(ITED) for grades 9 -11, and handed out graphs showing the students' progress. The Board discussed these results with Sandine, and progress reports will continue to be an ongoing agenda item in Board meetings.
The Board approved the purchase of technology items recommended by the Technology Committee. These include one 12 station laptop computer lab for the Elementary and Middle School; six PCs for the High School PC Lab; and three projectors, one on each floor, for the primary, elementary, and Middle School students. The Board approved spending a maximum of $25,500 for these items.
The Board also approved continuing the District's membership in the Iowa Association of School Board (IASB), feeling the District receives several good servces from the IASB. The annual membership fee is $1,214, down from $1,268 last year. A bid for School Auditing services by Burton E. Tracy and Company of Clarion was also approved for the next three years , at a cost of $4,400 in 2008, $4600 in 2009, and $4800 in 2010. The District has used their services for several years, and paid $5000 last year, so their new charges represnt a price reduction.
Superintent Vint reported the final tax rate for the 2007-08 school year will be $10.55762, an increase of approximately 11 cents per $1000 of valuation. Vint said the main reason for the increase is the increase in the stae aid reduction to the Area Education Agencies, which reduces state aid and increases the local property tax.
Vint and Sandine reported on the May 31st Staff Development on "Curriculum Mapping." This will be the emphasis of professional development in the coming year, and the staff who participated in the voluntary May 31 session had a lot of positive comments about the training and in particular about the new Curriculum Mapping software the school has purchased from Rubicon International, calling it very user-friendly.
Vint also reported that the air condiioning units have been installed in the High School offices and computer server room, and the electrician should be getting them wired and ready to go very soon.
High School Principal Dave Hickman reported that the final student daily attendance figures were down 1 - 2 percent from the last two years, but were still 95.77percent for the High School and 95.82 percent for K-12. The High School has an incentive program for the class with the highest Average Daily Attendance each quarter, and students who have no asences or tardies during a semester get a free pizza from Pizza Hut.
Hickman noted that seven or eight Aurelia students, as well as some teachers and parents, are members of the Storm Lake Municipal Band this summer. The band is under the direction of Aurelia High School Band Director Jason Heeren, and perform Sundays through July 8th, at 2 p.m. in the Band Shell by the lake. There are also some school members (including Hickman) who are invoved in the Cherokee Community Theater's production of "Wizard Of Oz." It was also noted that the award-winning Aurelia High School Jazz Band was recorded on a couple of occasions this year, and the possibilty of the general public being able to purchase these CDs, perhaps as a fund raiser for the Music Boosters, will be investigated. Hickman also noted that the state's new "Pass All" rule, concerning students needing to pass all subjects to maintain eligibility for sports and other activities, "continues to affect our activities in unexpected ways." The rule seems rather difficult to understand and administrate,
The next School Board meeting is scheduled for Monday July 9th at 7:30 p.m.