The Safety Surfacing Grant was provided by the Iowa DNR and the Iowa Association of School Boards. More than 50 schools applied for the grant, with Aurelia being one of the 21 schools approved.
Chris Maleshko, a representative of Welch Products, the company working with the DNR and IASB, was present to provide information about his product, which is basically a series of tiles formed from recycled tires, which have been crushed to the size of coffee beans, and the process for installing the product. Maleshko spent a considerable amount of time answering questions and concerns from Board members. Dan Winterhof and Paul Pingel, members of the School Board's Building Committee, have visited several area facilities which have installed either the Welch product or the product of competing bidders, and were satisfied that the Welch playground, which has a five-year guarantee on the tiles, was a good product.
There was some concern about installation, and the Board asked questions about the possibility of using volunteer labor rather than the crew provided by the company. The final decision of the Board was to approve the purchase of the tiles and adhesive from Welch Products at a cost of $28,905 (with the $11,000 grant money deducted from the original quoted bid price), as well as the services of the Welch Project Manager, at a cost of $3600.
Maleshko said he felt the price of the tile would be a little lower than the $28,905 with a discount, but he needed to confirm the amount of the discount. The Board elected to have Welch Products solicit bids for the preparation work needed prior to the new surface being installed.
The Board chose to purchase a green playground surface with a black border. The hope is that it will be installed before the 2008-09 school year begins on Aug. 19, but much of that time frame may be determined by the weather. A decision about who will do the labor of installing the tiles will be made later.
In other business, the Board discussed recent legislation (HF 2620) which changes the terms of school board members from 3 to 4 years - effective next year - and also moves school board elections to an every-other-year process, with elections (after the 2008 election) taking place in odd-numbered years. Because of these changes, School Boards were asked to submit their plan for transition to the Iowa Secretary of State's Office by Aug. 1, 2008, to allow candidates for election this fall to know what the length of their term will be.
The Aurelia Board approved the following transition plan unanimously: the terms which expire in 2008 (current Board members Dan Winterhof and Susan Corderman) and will be up for election in September 2008 will be for a 3 -year term. Anyone elected to that 3-year term at the 2008 election would then be up for re-election (if they choose) to a 4-year term in 2011; the terms expiring in 2009 (Colby Entriken and Jim Hultgren) will not require any change, as the 2009 election will be for a 4 - year term; the term expiring in 2010 (Paul Pingel) would have to be either shortened or lengthened by one year to meet the new election dates, and Pingel chose to lengthen the term, which was unanimously approved, so his term will now expire in 2011.
In other business, K-12 Principal Ann Sandine and outgoing Superintendent Tom Vint presented the Middle school and High School handbooks for next school year for approval. Changes to both handbooks are minor, and both handbooks were approved.
The Board also approved continuing membership in the Iowa Association of School Boards. The school's membership fees for 2008-09 have been reduced from $1214 to $1200 because of the drop in District enrollment.
The Board also discussed the possibility of moving the class composite pictures from the third floor of the elementary building and putting them together with the pictures currently on the first floor in a "flip" display case, to be located in a more convenient location for visitors to view. This matter was tabled, and organizations such as the School Foundation or other groups may be approached to see if they have an interest in providing a solution.
Contracts were approved for Barb Huseman as K-12 Counselor, LeAnn Patton as a Middle School teacher, and Angie Kruger as an Elementary teacher. Patton and Kruger's class assignments are determined by the administration, and Sandine said Patton will be taking over math classes this school year and Kruger a second grade class.
The only position left vacant at the school is the Superintendent position. An advertisement for a Part-Time Superintendent was placed in the June 8th Sioux City Journal, and Les Douma, who is assisting in the Superintendent search, suggested that it be moved from the "Help Wanted-Professional" section to the "Help Wanted- School Teachers" section, thinking that potential candidates might be more apt to look in that section. This will be done, effective with the next ad.
Board President Dan Winterhof presented a plaque to outgoing Superintendent Tom Vint at the beginning of the meeting in recognition of Vint's six years of service to the Aurelia Community School District. Vint thanked the Board and said he will have "many fond memories" of his time in Aurelia, and thinks that the Aurelia School Board has been an outstanding group with which to work.
In other business, Vint said he had received a letter from Lisa Oakley, the state's School Finance Director, certifying the Aurelia District's tax rate for the FY09 school year. The school had originally submitted a tax rate of $11.46429, but the final amount will be $11.45689. The main reason for the slight decrease, said Vint, is changes made by the legislature. Vint also listed the main maintenance projects for the school this summer and gave a report on the status of those projects. The plastic covering for the gymnasium bleachers, which cost $6285, arrived Monday, and will be installed soon; the gym floor was refinished by professional refinishers last week; the new playground equipment has also arrived and will be installed this summer; the air conditioning of the band and chorus rooms will be the main summer project, along with the resurfacing of the playground. Materials for that project were approved at the meeting, but further details and a timetable for completion are not finalized yet. Vint also recommended that Principal Sandine, outgoing Principal Hickman and the new Superintendent, when that person is hired, get together and make recommendations to the Board in July for new technology purchases. Vint would recommend the purchase of new batteries for the older mobile lab computers in the high school and additional computers for the four mobile labs, to increase student access, should be considered as possibilities.
The District has received a dividend check for $5,372 from the IASB Safety Insurance Group and this amount will be put into the school's Management Fund.
Vint also reported that the school had received a $1,307.43 check from a motorcyclist's insurance company in payment for damage caused to a gate and the school's band trailer in April. The gate will be replaced and the trailer repaired.
The Superintendent also reported that the Aurelia District had received one request to open-enroll in to the Aurelia School District from the parents of a TK student from Cherokee.
A review of financial reports showed that the District's gas and utility bill rose $12,138, or 18% this year from the 2006-2007 school year. It is hoped that the school's new heating system and perhaps a milder winter will enable this to level off in 2008-2009, but of course the weather - and the price of gas and utilities - is something beyond the school's control.
In other business, the Board authorized Board Secretary Vicki Kolpin to pay the final bills from last school year before the end of the fiscal year (June 30).
The Board heard a review of the activities of the School Improvement Committee during the 2007-2008 school year and the progress made toward the Learning Goals set last year. The Committee also submitted Learning Goals for the students for the 2008-2009 school year, highlighting specific study areas for each class to focus upon, with a goal of improving the class Iowa Grade Equivalency or National Grade Equivalency score to meet or exceed the expected equivalency score for that grade. Teachers will be provided with this information this summer.
The Board voted to add "Expanding the anti-bullying program to all grades" to the 2008-2009 Learning Goals.
In other business, the Board discussed which items they see as priorities for the next legislative session. Among those issues which will be submitted to legislators from the Aurelia Board are: 1) allowing the use of PPEL and SILO funds for purchases designed to save energy; and 2) additional transportation funding for school districts who are sharing programs or otherwise consolidated, to expedite transportation of students a considerable number of miles.
Board members have also been asked to consider what they feel the School Board's priorities should be for the next year and the Board will set their priorities as a group at the July meeting, scheduled for Monday July 14 at 7:30 p.m.