AURELIA - The Aurelia School Board met on Monday October 13 for its regular monthly meeting, and approved the purchase of a wireless microphone system which can accommodate up to eight performers.
Prior to that decision, Denise Nicodemus, the school's speech and drama coach and director of the school play, discussed the history of poor sound at the plays and the very noticeable improvement in sound last fall when the Cherokee Community Theater very graciously allowed the school to rent several of their wireless mics for a nominal price to put on the musical "Oklahoma." Nicodemus said that many audience members commented to her that they really appreciated the improved sound, stating it was much easier to hear and understand the performers than it had been in previous years.
Since that time, Nicodemus has looked into various systems to purchase, and received a good price quote from MidBell Music of Sioux City, which is offering schools and Community Theaters special deals and guarantee follow-up service. MidBell quoted Nicodemus a price of $1999.60 on a wireless mic system that can accommodate up to eight performers, and whose soundboard can be run through the school's existing sound system. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price on the system (which is the same system MidBell has installed at Lamb's Theater in Sioux City) is $3200.
Of special importance to the Board is the fact that the system, in addition to be used for the play, can also be used for assembly programs, swing choir, pep skits, and other events. The Board approved the purchase, and Nicodemus said the system can be installed soon - in time for her actors and student directors to get used to it before their scheduled performances of a comedy murder mystery on November 14 and 16.
In other business, Superintendent Lynn Evans presented the figures on the school's certified TK-12 enrollment count, which is the official number reported to the state on October 1, and determines funding for the District. The enrollment was actually a little higher than anticipated. The number of students who are being provided instructional program services is 280.4, down 9.2 from last year, and the "Budget enrollment" is 286.2, down 6.8 students from last year.
Evans also reported that the State Fire Marshall had made a visit and made several recommendations, including the replacement of a few wooden doors with metal ones and installation of a new alarm system, with different signals for fires and tornadoes. Evans will report back and assure the Marshall that the District will comply with all recommendations in a timely manner.
Evans will also apply to the School Budget Review Committee in Des Moines for additional spending authority for six open-enrolled students who were not accounted for last school year.
Board members had been asked to bring suggestions for new members of the School Improvement Advisory Committee, and several names were submitted. These individuals will be contacted and SIAC meetings scheduled. President Jim Hultgren appointed himself as the Board's representative on the Buena Vista County Conference Board, since he is the only Board member who resides in Buena Vista County. Hultgren also appointed Brad Rohwer to the Cherokee County Conference Board.
In this month's Showcase on Education, Evans followed through on a request by the Board to share some of the unique features and programs in the Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn District, of which he is also the Superintendent. Evans spoke about the HMS Charter School track, in which students receive full college credit and take their courses on campus at the nearby community college in Sheldon. HMS has provided a charter track for five years, and is one of only four Districts in the state to do so. Evans also spoke about the school's Building Trades Program, whose students have built 11 homes, a shelter-house/bath house and remodeled two existing homes in the Hartley community; the school's after - school tutoring program for Middle School and High School students, and a similar 15 minute end-of-the-school day program for elementary students, which runs well because of a large number of volunteers from the community.
The Board reviewed the "200" series of Board policies, and revisions will be made to reflect recent changes in Iowa's school board elections.
Principal Ann Sandine reported that the PTO sponsored a baby-sitting class for Middle School students on October 4 and 14 students from Aurelia, Alta and Cherokee participated. The PTO will again provide baby-sitting services during the upcoming Parent-Teacher conferences on November 4 and 6. The PTO is also in the early planning stages for a Spring Carnival. The PTO and the Friends of Aurelia each donated $325 towards the purchase of new software for the elementary and Middle School students, and the District has purchased a site license for Kid Pix.
Sandine also said that they are working on restructuring homeroom activities in both the Middle School and High School, and one change which has already been implemented and organized by Tim Ireland is a "Career Day" each Wednesday in which various community members speak to students about their careers and answer student questions.
The next scheduled Board meeting will be November 9 at 7:30 p.m.