AURELIA - The Aurelia School Board met Tuesday evening Sept. 16th. During the first part of the meeting, the outgoing Board approved bills and the minutes of the August meetings, and heard and accepted the official results of the September 9 School Board election, in which Dan Winterhof and Brad Rohwer each received 49 votes for the three-year terms, and there were also two write-in votes.
Principal Ann Sandine presented the Board with the District's 2007-2008 Annual Progress Report, which showed that the Aurelia students performed above the national average and either at or above the Iowa average on both the ITBS and ITED standardized tests in 2007-2008. The report also covered the Aurelia students' attendance, graduation rate, completion of the core academic program and college entrance scores.
The Aurelia students accomplished their improvement goals in reading, math and science in 2007-2008, and continued to meet the school's goals of becoming proficient in the use of technology.
2007-2008 marked the 12th successful year of Aurelia High School's participation in the Cherokee League of Schools, in conjunction with Western Iowa Tech Community College. Students interested in agriculture had the opportunity to take classes at Cherokee Washington High School, and Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) were also available to students through Buena Vista University and via distance learning opportunities through the school's ICN facilities. A total of 38 Aurelia High School students participated in PSEO in the 2007-2008 school year.
The Board recognized retiring Board member Susan Corderman for her nine years of service to the Board, and Superintendent Lynn Evans presented Corderman with certificates of recognition from the school and the Department of Education. She was also presented with the customary lifetime pass to school events. Corderman expressed her thanks to the Board members, administrators past and present, and Board Secretary Vicki Kolpin, and said she has enjoyed the experience and feels she has learned a lot more about the school.
Board President Dan Winterhof commended the Board Secretary on her excellent job of handling the transition period between superintendents this summer.
The meeting of the retiring board was adjourned, and the 2008-2009 Board Organizational meeting was called to order. Board Secretary Kolpin administered the oath of office to the re-elected Dan Winterhof and the newly-elected Brad Rohwer, and Kolpin then contacted Board member Colby Entriken, who was out-of-state on business, via telephone, so that he could participate in the next part of the organizational meeting via a conference call.
Jim Hultgren was elected President of the Board for the 2008-2009 school When the regular meeting of the newSchool Board covened, Board members learned of a generous gift from an alumnus of the school.
Beverly (Fuhrman) Hobson, 1960 AHS graduate, has offered the School District a property on 4th Street, just north of the school, and stated that the school may do whatever they choose to do with the property, including resell it. Hobson recently had the house that was situated on the property removed and returned to its original site on the family farm. After some discussion, the Board gladly accepted the generous gift, with the provision that the current owner take responsibility for removing the foundation of the house, having the hole adequately filled in, and transferring the title. The Board discussed some possible uses for the land, including an outdoor classroom, garden or parking lot, but that decision will be made at a later date.
Principal Ann Sandine reported that 75% of parents and 50% of high school students have requested and received a password that allows them access to the student's academic records. Sandine also reported that the school's website has been updated and revamped, with the site being designed by one of the high school business classes. Sandine encouraged everyone to check it out.
Sandine also said that the Homecoming football game will be Friday October 3, and the Pep Rally and parade will be on the evening of October 2.
School day activities have been revamped this year. She also reported that the new playground and equipment have been a "big success" with the elementary students, and that the second annual "Back to School Night" prior to the start of classes was also very successful. The PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) also raised a good amount of money with their meal that evening, and the organization is planning a dance for Middle School dance in mid-October. The group is also planning to have a Baby Sitting class, with more details to follow.
In other business, the Board approved a bid of $525 from Harman Masonry of Cherokee to work on a section of brick around the dryer vents, which was in disrepair. They also approved a bid of $14,135 from Vogel Paint and Glass of Sheldon for installation of three new entrance doors, and a bid of $20.13/fixture from Pingel Farms of Aurelia for 24 metal halide light fixtures (previously in the gymnasium). This bid also includes any spare light bulbs that might be in inventory.
The District has not received any bids on some rubber "railroad ties" from the playground, and will advertise these again in the school newsletter.
The following appointments were made to Board committees: Legislative Action -Colby Entriken and Jim Hultgren; Building and Grounds - Brad Rohwer and Paul Pingel; Finance - Hultgren and Rohwer; Curriculum and Staff - Dan Winterhof and Entriken; Transportation - Winterhof and Pingel.
The Board also approved salary raises for Activity drivers ($8.30/hr.), and Weight Room Supervisors ($10.40/hr., with a yearly limit of $2704).
Based on his experience since taking the job, Superintendent Lynn Evans did not feel purchase of a voice mail system to aid communication with him, which was being considered, was necessary. The situation will continue to be monitored.
Evans recommended that the fees for membership to the Wellness Center remain the same, and the Board approved this. Fees are $75/year for a family membership and $50 for a single membership.
In other business, the Board appointed Superintendent Evans as the school liaison for Homeless Children and approved putting the job of snow removal from the parking areas out for bid, due to the reduction of the custodial staff from three to two.
Board members were asked to bring some suggestions to the October meeting for new members to fill expiring terms on the School Improvement Advisory Committee.
Evans said the current Certified Enrollment count for the District is 279. The official count will be submitted to the state October 1, and it is possible the current number may change by then.
In personnel decisions, the Board approved hiring Jacob Bruce as the Junior High boys' basketball coach, pending his completion of certification, and approved hiring Patricia Engelking as Junior High girls' basketball coach.
The Board also reviewed a letter from Athletic Director Grant Peckenschneider, in which he resigned from his position as Athletic Director. Peckenschneider said he enjoyed the job, but feared that his classroom teaching and coaching might be adversely affected if he continues. He did say that he realizes his contract obligations, and will continue to perform to the best of his abilities through the end of the contract or until a suitable replacement is found. The Board approved the resignation, contingent on finding a suitable replacement.