AURELIA - The Aurelia School Board met in its regular monthly meeting on Monday, and among the items discussed was the timetable for holding a community meeting regarding the future direction of the school district.
The Board would like to meet with consultant Larry Siegel on September 8, then tentatively plan on holding the Community meeting at 7 p.m. on September 14, following the regular monthly Board meeting, which will begin at 5 p.m. on that date.
The purpose of the Community Meeting will be to gather input from community members on the direction they would like to see the District take in the future as it confronts the problem of declining enrollment as are many rural Iowa districts. No decisions will be made that night, but the Board will take all input into consideration before they make a final determination on the school's future.
In other business, the Board approved offering a contract to Aaron Ware for the High School girls varsity basketball coaching position, which had been vacant since Tim Galvin asked to be released from those duties. The Board also approved offering contracts to Jared Bruce to serve as the Middle School football coach, and Jennifer Wittmack as High School volleyball assistant.
Two positions which still need to be filled are a Rural route bus driver and a Special Education Assistant, but Superintendent Lynn Evans indicated that he feels the school has adequate coverage plans at this time, as he continues to work on a satisfactory full-time solution.
In other business, the Board approved a pay increase of $5, to $115/day for two days a month, for the part-time Media Specialist. The Board also approved the application for Title I funding, and approved the first readings of three School Policies: the Family Medical Leave Act Provisions for Military Service, Conflict of Interest, and Physical Activity policies.
Principal Ann Sandine reported that Petersen Construction has been working on the school playground. They should have the equipment installed Friday, and then community volunteers will be enlisted to help put the mulch down. Prior to that, however, the Board approved Evans contacting someone to see if they can re-establish the tiling into the playground area as soon as possible. If all of that is accomplished by the weekend, the hope is that the volunteers can finish getting the playground ready to go this coming weekend.
Sandine also reported that she and LeAnn Patton have been working on purchasing a subscription to an Accelerated Math program for students in grades 5 - 8; that the school's server has received the maintenance and software additions necessary to begin the school year; that the school was able to purchase eight desktop computers and 10 laptops to replace existing machines in the two resource rooms; that the school will be able to meet the physical activity portion of the "Healthy Kids Act;" and that the school is switching from a 5-day cycle to a 6-day cycle to handle scheduling better. Physical education, music, and other special classes will rotate every six days.
Sandine said the school has 265 students registered for this school year. Last year, there were about 275 students when classes began, and the certified enrollment (enrollment on Oct. 1) was 283.
The Board approved a resolution, introduced by Board member Paul Pingel and seconded by Board member Brad Rohwer, to have the question of the Aurelia School District's continued participation in the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) placed on the ballot for the September 8 election. The question on the ballot will read : "Shall the Board of Directors of the Aurelia Community School District of the Counties of Cherokee and Buena Vista be authorized for a period of ten (10) years to levy annually a voter-approved physical plant and equipment property tax, not to exceed sixty-seven cents ($0.67) per One Thousand Dollars ($1,000) of the assessed valuation of the taxable property, to be used for the purchase and improvement of the grounds, the construction of schoolhouses or buildings, purchase of equipment or technology system, etc., commencing with the levy for collection in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011?"
The voters of the District have been supportive of the measure in the past, Evans hopes for a large voter turnout, thinking that a small turnout increases the possibility the measure would be defeated.
Evans said he feels that the availability of PPEL funds has played a large part in the Aurelia school facilities looking so good.
Also on that Sept. 8 ballot will be two School Board positions. Board President Jim Hultgren has decided against running for re-election, but Board member Colby Entriken will be on the ballot, as will Jennifer Kaskey. They will each be seeking to serve a four-year term.
Teacher inservice will be August 13. 14. and 17. Meet Your Teacher Night will be at 5:30 p.m. on August 17, and a student/parent Good Conduct Meeting will follow in the gym at 7:30 p.m. Classes begin the following day, August 18.
The next scheduled Board meeting will be Monday Sept. 14 at 5 p.m.