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Aurelia Board discusses 2008-2009 budget, staffing

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

At their monthly meeting on March 10, the Aurelia School Board discussed events which will be coming up this spring, but also looked to the future, with a review of the proposed 2008-2009 School District Budget and options for maintaining a balanced budget over the coming years.

After a review of the budget situation, it was resolved to levy property tax for the fiscal year 2008-2009 for the regular progra adjustment as allowed under Iowa Code section 257.14. The amount of the Budget Guarantee for FY09 is $58,916. The Board also approved continuing the 9% rate on the Instructional Support Levy, which is funded by a mix of property tax and income tax, and is deposited in the General Fund, and may be used for any purpose allowed under that fund.

The staffing committee met with Superintendent Vint on Febrauary 27, and presented their report to the Board. They presented several options for cutting expenses, including increasing the deuctible on staff health insurance, phasing out staff positions which are not currently needed, cutting some positions, encouraging early retirement, reducing some full-time positions to part-time, not refilling some positions, or sharing positions.

The finance committee also presented a report, which also indicated that expenditures will need to be cut over the next couple of years. Board members did not feel it was their place to make decisions regarding large cuts, but gave Superintendent Vint the charge to do what he needed to do to maintain a balanced budget. Vint plans to talk to the school's attorney and draw up an Early Retirement package, which he will present to the Board at a special meeting. This package would need to be in place prior to salary negotiations with staff members or their designated spokespeople.

In the monthly "Showcase on Education" report, administrators displayed a chart representing the academic proficiency achievement of Aurelia students, divided into six subgroups - male, female, students eligible for free and reduced lunch, students not eligible for free and reduced lunch, students on an Individualized Educational Plan, and students not on an IEP. The reading, math, and science proficiency of students in grades 3-8 and 11 (as measured by standardized testing) were compared among the six subgroups, and the results showed that there were certain subgroups whose low proficiency may require monitoring to see if there is something different that can be done with those students to increase their proficiency.

Elementary Administrator Ann Sandine said that the elementary school will be hosting the Scholastic Book Fair during the week of March 31- April 4. The initial night, March 31, is also the date of the annual "See What We Can Do" night, and the Book Fair will be open to the pubic during that event, as it was - very successfully - last year. Profit from the Book Fair will be used to purchase new books for the elementary's Guided Reading and Accelerated Reading (AR) programs.

Sandine said that parents will again be doing a family activity during the "See What You Can Do" event this year, participating in literacy activities with their child. Sandine also reported that the PTA Parent's Night Out was held on March 3. Individuals were able to choose one of four sessions offered, including "Safe Touches," Internet/Phone Safety," "Nutrition In Our Kids," and "Healthy Relationships." In other news, Sandine said the TK/Kindergarten Roundup (Early Childhood Assessment) will be held on March 27. There are now 29 students on the list to participate, including the 10 students who are enrolled in the TK program this year. Other events fast approaching are the NHS Blood Drive, which will be taking place in Room 7 of the High School on March 17, and the Elementary Music Program on April 8.

Sandine also said that Sue Radke will be having a student teacher, Jennifer Woodford, working with her in the second grade classroom beginning on March 25.

High School Principal Dave Hickman said High School attendance has averaged 93.64% attendance for the year, with the Seniors averaging 95.98% attendance, the Sophomores 90.57% and the freshman and juniors falling between those two marks.

Hickman also commented on the Aurelia Jazz Choir's being selected to sing at the Iowa Jazz Choir Showcase at Dallas Center-Grimes High School. Their performance was on Monday, the day of the School Board meeting. The Jazz Band will be playing at a "Jazz Night" program at the Gathering Place in Cherokee tonight, along with the jazz bands from South O'Brien and Cherokee High Schools, and Buena Vista University.

Hickman said that Tim Limbert and six students had just returned Monday from the "Mars Settlement Design" Competition in Houston, Texas, and that one of Aurelia's students, Steven Berg, was on the winning design team.

Hickman also cited the Speech Team, which, following three competitions, had four students with five programs who received a "1" rating at Manson on Saturday. None of the four - Jordan Glawe, Aaron Bruce, Amanda Swanson and Chelsea Loucks - were selected to go on to All-State. Hickman reminded the Board of these upcoming important dates - March 13, Academic Banquet; March 18 - Winter Sports Banquet; March 19-24 - Spring Break; and Mar. 31- See What We Can Do Night.

Superintendent Vint said that the current make-up days for snow days are May 22 and May 23, and the teacher workday will be May 27.

Vint also said the school has signed a contract with Shadran Supply of Jefferson, Iowa, to screen and refinish the gym floor again this year at a cost of $1,215. Aurelia has requested to have the job done in early June, to avoid the heat and humidity of late summer. Because of the contracting out of the gym floor, the plan is to have the custodial staff do the mowing this summer, which will save the school an estimated $1,500.

Vint also said the 1983 pickup truck was advertised for sale, had two bidders, and was sold to the high bidder for $125. Vint said the Senior Trip needs to be formally approved at the April Board meeting, when the class brings a trip schedule. Vint said he believes the plan is for the class to go to Chicago over the weekend of May 24.

Lori Ohlson and Marcie Glienke, mothers of junior Class members, were at the meeting to present their plan for the Post-Prom party, following the April 19th Prom at the school. THe plan is for the students to change clothes at the school after the dance and take two school buses, driven by Jerry Sandine and John Hill, to King's Pointe in Storm Lake, for swimming and Black Jack. Students who leave the Prom early will not be allowed to go to the Post-Prom event, but if there are students who voluntarily choose not to attend the Prom, but want to go to the Post-Prom, they may go on one of the buses. Students are aware that a Breathalyzer test may be administered to them, if there is any question of their sobriety.

The plan is to return to the Aurelia school between 4 and 5 a.m. for the drawing for prizes. The committee is hoping they may use the school kitchen facilities to prepare a meal for the students to close out activities.

The School Board approved of the plans as presented.

Tim Galvin,the DECA (business club) sponsor, was present to request Board approval for Out-of-State travel. Galvin presented a report on DECA activities this year, and said that Steven Draisey has been selected to attend the National DECA Convention - making this at least the 11th consecutive year that Aurelia has had a student selected for this honor. Draisey will be presenting in the "Hotel and Lodging Manager" category. The National DECA event is in Atlanta, Georgia, from April 25 - 30. The Board approved $350 for the student and $850 for Mr. Galvin to attend the Atlanta event - the same amounts authorized last year.

In other business, the Board approved submitting a form to the Iowa High School Athletic Association requesting to share a wrestling program with Galva-Holstein and Schaller-Crestland again in 2008-2009.

There have been several problems reported with the three treadmills in the Fitness Center, and those looking into it have concluded that the current machines aren't "heavy duty" enough for the amount of use they have been getting. The Board approved purchase of three commercial treadmills from Letsche's in Cherokee, as he has offered a trade-in on the current treadmills. The three new machines will cost a total of $5,625.

Superintendent Vint explained the minor changes in Policy Series No. 505.1-508.1, and there will be a second reading at the April meeting.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Board will be Monday April 14 at 7:30 p.m.



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