MARCUS -The Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn School Board discussed the projected budget for the coming school year to determine whether to go with a four percent or two percent allowable growth at their recent Board meeting.
The State of Iowa will allow a district to have a four percent growth per pupil but they will only be funding at two percent at the present time. This translates to a per pupil amount of $5,803 as opposed to $5,692. This year the state is reimbursing the district at $5,581 per student.
The four percent growth will only raise the district's levy to 10.53658, while the two percent would raise the amount to 10.73455. This year the levy is 10.50975. The MMC District maintains one of the lowest levies in the state due to a lot of farm land that finances the district.
Superintendent Jan Brandhorst noted that he neither expects or wants a pay raise as everyone has to work together to keep the district solvent and healthy. The board has been looking carefully at each area of costs to make sure the education of their students is not hindered.
The board also heard it's annual report on the results of the Iowa Tests Education Development by guidance counselor Renee Ogren. MMC tests only the freshmen and juniors and charts their progress. Once again, Ogren noted how outstanding the scores are for the junior class as their composite score was 95 while some of the category tests composite ranged from 97-99. The freshmen scored an average of 86 with various test scores ranging from 74 to 98.
The board was glad to hear how these high scores have been steady for the last five years. Ogren also made comment on larger schools not being able to come up with such good scores. She noted one of the Sioux City high schools had 80 for a top percentile. Ogren heartily gave the credit for such good success to the teaching staff as they expect and strive for high achievement in each of their classes as they want MMC students to do their very best.
The board also heard a report on a teacher's study group who met on their own time. Instructor's Joan Wilberding and Kathy Wankum headed the report. Each participant read the book, "Whatever it Takes" before gathering to discuss the suggestions in the book to further improve the chances for success for each MMC student. The elementary and secondary staff met separately and then pooled their ideas to see what rose to the top for worthy ideas to aid students.
The first idea was to improve organizational skills of each student which would improve their studying skills and make sure they got everything done. The second idea each teacher liked was to develop a STAR folder for each student. The folder would begin with whatever teacher the student presently has. Each method and course of action to improve what was lacking would be recorded so that the next teacher on staff could see right away what didn't work or was working. The third idea was to have a universal study hall so staff and students would have some free time at the same time of day to give help when needed.
The theme for all of this would be, "Failure is not acceptable."
In other business, the board set April 13 as the public hearing for the budget; accepted the resignation of
Randy Peters; approved allowing a student to participate in high school tennis at Cherokee, and that student's parents will be responsible for the $200 fee and providing their own transportation; approved a mowing contract for George Engebretson; set drivers education fees for MMC students at $235 and non-resident students at $265; and also reviewed the 200 series policies and approved them.