The Aurelia School Board approved the purchase of a new 59-passenger International bus from Hoglund Bus Co. at its regular monthly meeting on Dec. 10. The cost of the bus, which was the lowest bid of five received, is $64,918. The Board also discussed the purchase of a pickup truck to replace the 1983 truck used for picking up the mail and running other local errands.
That vehicle is no longer in drivable condition, due to problems with the brakes and heater, and the age of the vehicle makes spending additional money on repair a questionable decision.
The Board discussed several pre-owned vehicles which are available at area dealers, but Superintendent Tom Vint just received information on a new vehicle for a reasonable price. The Board tabled a decision pending more information on that vehicle, and perhaps other new vehicles.
State Representatives Dan Huseman and Gary Worthan were present at the meeting to discuss educational legislative issues in an informal question and answer session. Both legislators felt that the school district had no cause for concern in the upcoming session as they discussed the issues of Teacher Quality Money, a program which took effect this year, and is intended to make teaching a more attractive profession for students coming out of college, and early childhood education, that is, school districts providing pre-school education.
In her report to the Board, Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine said that the District plans to apply for a grant to have a pre-school again this year, and that she and other elementary teachers have been receiving more training on writing grants for the program. Sandine also said the High School seniors have been helping the younger elementary students write their letters to Santa this week, and that both age groups really enjoyed it, as they do every year.
High School Principal Dave Hickman reported that Farner-Bocken, the school's source for milk for the milk machine, has begun charging a delivery charge, and that he and Head Cook Deb Hull will be coordinating their orders for milk for the cafeteria machine and the High School machine from now on, to avoid having to pay the delivery charge, as the combined order would be for enough milk to meet the company's minimum order standard, which eliminates the delivery charge.
Hickman also reported on a Dec. 5 meeting of teachers working on the Curriculum Mapping project. Evaluations from the meeting indicated that the teachers enjoyed meeting together as a curricular team, found the experience invaluable, and wished there was a way they could do so more frequently.
Hickman also reported that High School semester tests will be given from December 19-21; the gym will be closed from Dec. 22-28; and the Aurelia school has been asked to host a State 1A and 3A Jazz Band contest on Saturday Jan. 12, and the school has accepted. Volunteers who would like work at the event may contact Hickman or band director Jason Heeren.
Vint reported that the District has added eight students since the official Oct. 1 "count date," and has also lost three students. Five of the new students have open enrolled from the Alta District and three from the Galva-Holstein District.
Vint said he had attended a session on "Monitoring School Improvement" at the IASB Convention in November, and from that session, learned of three achievement measurements areas - proficiency rates among grades, growth in a cohort group, and any gaps in achievement among subgroups. He plans to include these items on the agenda in future Board meetings.
Vint reported that the Aurelia School District has received $89,984 in Teacher Quality funds from the Iowa State Legislature, an increase of $37,428 from last year. This money is earmarked for teachers, counselors, and school nurses only.
The Aurelia District committee met this fall and determined an allocation formula for the funds. On average, each full-time teacher in the District received $3044 of teacher quality pay for the 2007-08 contract year. The negotiated total package for teachers last spring was 4.83%. With the Teacher Quality funding, the total package increase for teachers was 7.4%.
Vint reported that a leak discovered in the roof of the Fitness Center was reported and has been fixed by the roofing company. The building is under a one-year guarantee, and the roof has a ten-year warranty, so the district was not responsible for the cost of the repair work.
Vint reported that HS Consumer Science teacher Linda Peine went in for minor surgery on Oct. 24, but did not return as planned on Oct. 29 as planned, due to complications from her surgery. Peine just returned to class on Monday.
Vint said that Athletic Director Grant Peckenschneider and he had asked high school boys about their intentions of playing baseball this summer, and found only 13 boys were planning on going out for the sport. They feel this is a rather small number to be able to field a team, considering possible injuries, vacations, or unforeseen circumstances. Vint said softball coach Jason Heeren did not anticipate a problem, feeling he will have 17 players and will have enough to field both a varsity and junior varsity team.
Vint asked Peckenschneider to check with neighboring schools about the possibility of sharing baseball next summer. Peckenschneider will report his findings to the board at the Feb. 12 meeting. There was some discussion about the pros and cons of joining three different schools, but again, this will not be on the agenda until February.
In other business, four representatives of the senior class leadership wee present to request that the district continue its past practice of allowing a senior release program in the second semester. The board approved a senior release plan for senior students who maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, along with good attendance and deportment.
The board also approved the purchase of a second Elliptical machine from Letsche's in Cherokee for the Fitness Center, Board secretary Vicki Kolpin said they now have 90 members signed up at the Fitness Center.
The Board also approved compensating three coaches who have volunteered to supervise students at the Fitness Center from 6:30 - 7:45 a.m. Monday-Friday and 3:30 - 5 p.m. on M-W-Thursday. They authorized a salary of $10/hr., with a cap of $2300. Students will be required to contact the supervisors to make sure there will be someone there during the time they want to be at the center.
In other business, board President Dan Winterhof appointed board member Susan Corderman to be the district's representative on the Buena Vista County Conference Board.
The board approved continuing the district's early retirement policy and review it each year, considering possible changes if deemed necessary.
The board approved a request from Anthony Peterson to permit him to graduate before the scheduled May 2008 graduation, as Principal Hickman said he will have the necessary credits to graduate.
The board scheduled a half-day board retreat at the school on Jan. 22, to discuss such topics as financial projections, future extra-curricular participation, sharing talks, or any other subjects board members would like to discuss.