AURELIA - Personnel issues were a big part of the agenda at the March 9th meeting of the Aurelia School Board meeting, as three staff members' requests for Early Retirement and two coaches' resignations from assignments were approved.
Polly Rapp, the Central Office Secretary, will be retiring after 35 years of service to the District; Marvin Munden, High School Business teacher, has taught at Aurelia for 30 years; and Lee Langlitz, High School English teacher, has been at the school for 21 years. The Board approved their requests for Early Retirement, and commended each of the valuable staff members for their years of dedicated service to the School District.
Grant Peckenschneider, who has been serving as the Varsity Boys' Basketball Coach and Assistant Girls' Basketball Coach, and Tim Galvin, who has been the Head Girls' Coach and Assistant Boys' Coach, both tendered their resignations from those positions at the meeting, citing an overload of responsibilities. Both have coaching positions in several different sports, as well as their classroom assignments, and Peckenschneider also serves as the school's Athletic Director.
The Board approved both resignations,contingent on it finding suitable replacements, and both coaches understand that, and are willing to stay in their positions until replacements are hired.
In other Personnel issues, Ann Sandine reported that Aaron Ware, the District's Art teacher, has been deployed by his Army Reserve Unit, but the school was fortunate to find a long-term replacement in Tyler Kirkholm, who graduated from BVU in December with a degree in art. Kirkholm had spent a little time in the Aurelia District a couple of years ago as an interim project. Ware, of course, will resume the position when he returns from his deployment.
In other business, the High School Speech Department, represented by Speech Instructor/Coach Denise Nicodemus and Speech students Amanda Swanson and Amanda Felten, provided a Showcase on the Speech Program.
Nicodemus said the Department had entered 25 students in the Large Group Speech Contest last fall and 22 went on to compete at the State Contest. They began Individual Speech four weeks ago, and the 14 students involved, including four freshmen, are busy participating in such areas as Interpreting Literature, Radio Broadcasting, Improvisation and After Dinner Speaking, among others. The group will be participating in State Contest in Fort Dodge this Saturday, March 14. Amanda Swanson then presented several short literary readings on the topic of suicide and the power of friendship, and then, on a lighter note, Amanda Felten presented a reading on The Life of a Dog - in the "dog's own words," no less. The Board expressed their appreciation for the fine work of the students and their coach.
The meeting began with a brief presentation from the Executive Director of the NW Area Education Agency, Dr. Tim Grieves, on the services available to the District from the AEA. These services include, among other things, training for teachers, materials for the schools, Early Childhood programs, special education services, and the services of a social worker and psychologist. The NW AEA serves 36 public school districts and 33 accredited private schools in the Northwest corner of the state - a total of 43, 262 students in 10 counties.
Dr. Grieves also stated that the number of AEAs in Iowa have been reduced from 15 to 10 over the last few years, due to merging of some of the AEAs. Another merger has been approved, and this will reduce the number of AEAs to nine. Creston Schubert of Galva was also present. Schubert represents the Aurelia Board on the AEA Board of Directors, and he introduced himself and encouraged Board members to contact him if they have concerns or requests regarding the NW AEA.
In other business, Principal Ann Sandine discussed the testing the District uses to measure students' academic growth (ITBS and ITED), and showed graphs of the class score results of last fall's testing for Grades 3 - 11.
The graphs displayed how the Aurelia District students' standard scores compare with the National Standard Scores, and the Aurelia scores are generally higher than the national scores for each grade level.
Sandine also reported that the students and Nick Bretz had returned earlier that day from the NASA Competition in Houston, and that Aurelia student Jacob Howey was a member of the winning group.
She also said the school is in the process of completing the application for the "Voluntary Four Year Old Pre-school Grant," and that the deadline for the application is March 30.
Sandine also said that the school had a very successful Kindergarten Round-up on February 27, with 33 students attending, including the current TK students. The projected class sizes for next fall are 18 students in Kindergarten and 13 in TK. Sixteen of the 33 students are new to the District, and the numbers include five open-enrolled students in TK, and two in Kindergarten.
Sandine said that students will have a Spring Break this Thursday and Friday (March 12-13). Other events of interest over the next month include the Academic Banquet on March 17; the PTO Pork Dinner at the Aurelia Community Center from 5-7 p.. on March 27; "See What We Can Do" Night at the school on March 30; the Scholastic Book Fair from March 30-April 3; the National Honor Society Banquet at the Aurelia Community Center on April 2; and an Easter Break for students on April 10 and 13.
In other business, Superintendent Lynn Evans stated that the Post-Prom Committee had presented its planned schedule of events for after the dance. The Board approved the plan to use the school gym for games and prizes between midnight and 2 a.m. The students would then take school buses to the Cherokee Bowl for bowling and pizza from 2-4 a.m. The Prom Committee will be responsible for arranging licensed drivers for the buses.
Superintendent Evans presented the proposed certified budget for FY 2010. It will be published in the paper, and a hearing will be held at 7 p.m. on April 13 to allow input from community members. A line item budget will be prepared at a later date.
In other business, the Board approved a Budget Guarantee Resolution to levy property tax for FY 2009-2010 for the regular program budget adjustment, as allowed under section 257.14, Code of Iowa. The budget guarantee is a local property tax levy that allows schools to recapture revenue and spending authority lost due to declining enrollments. It is set at 40% for FY 2010. The regular PPEL (Physical Plant and Equipment Levy) resolution was approved, at the current rate of 33 cents.
The Board also approved the Management Levy, which is a local property tax used for property/casualty insurance, early retirement benefits and some legal fees. The Board approved setting the levy at a rate not to exceed 80 cents.
Also approved was the Instructional Support Levy, an income surtax. This will remain at 9%.
The Board also approved continuing the cooperative sharing agreement with Galva-Holstein and Schaller-Crestland for high school wrestling.
The Board discussed the Fitness Center. Evans had been asked who would pay the costs for any new equipment that might be purchased, and the Board agreed that this would most likely be funded by SILO or PPEL funds.
Evans reported Open Enrollment figures for the 2009-2010 School Year. Aurelia will have nine students open enrolling into the District, including five in the Transitional Kindergarten, and six students open enrolling out of the District.
The Board set a time of 1:30 p.m. on March 26 for another Board Workshop session. The next regular monthly Board meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. on April 13, following the Public Budget Hearing, which is scheduled at 7 p.m.