AURELIA - In a special School Board meeting at the Aurelia school Thursday afternoon - ironically, on the same day as the school's Homecoming parade and Pep Rally - 22 concerned Aurelia citizens were present as the Board members and School Administration summarized the Community Meeting held on September 14. That meeting concerned the future of the Aurelia School District, with talk about sharing with either the Alta or Cherokee School Districts.
The Board presented comments they had received, both in writing and orally, during and after that Sept. 14th meeting, and summarized what priorities were expressed by the Sept. 14th group. They also presented all in attendance with a list of questions and considerations that had been brought up to both Board members and the administration.
Stacy Bezoni presented a letter to the Board from Aurelia citizens Kathy Handwork, Karla Solko, Matt Fredericksen, Mary Schulenberg and herself, in which they listed 14 things that they felt the Board needs to take into consideration as they reach a decision on whole-grade or other sharing with another district. The letter also included 2006-2008 figures from the Iowa School Profiles website, www.iowaschoolprofiles.com , which appeared to show that Alta and Aurelia had a closer student proficiency rate than do Aurelia and Cherokee. Alta was above the state proficiency level in all areas measured, Aurelia fell below the proficiency level in one area, and Cherokee was below the proficiency level in three areas, and was close to being below the proficiency level in a fourth area.
Bezoni also presented a petition which the group had distributed around the Aurelia community, asking the Board to share with the Alta district. The group showed the petition signers the facts and figures they had assembled, and were able to gather 208 signatures on the petition in just three days' time.
Audience members Louis DeRoos and Keith Glienke also spoke to the Board. DeRoos, who grew up and was educated in Alta, competed for Alta-Aurelia athletic teams, and now lives in the Aurelia district, where his children attend school, expressed his concern about the peer pressure being placed on students because of the ongoing sharing discussions, and he urged a speedy decision by the Board to ease this situation. Glienke, a former Aurelia School Board member, spoke about the financial advantages to the Aurelia district of a two-way sharing agreement, as opposed to a one-way agreement.
The Board agreed that they need to "keep the ball rolling" on sharing, and thanked everyone present for their input. They then made a decision to have another Board meeting on October 5 at 6 p.m., at which time they will review financial projections from the Financial Committee, and draft a document to present at future meetings with the Alta and Cherokee Districts, expressing the Aurelia community's needs and desires in any sharing agreement.
Superintendent Evans was directed by the Board to place a response to the community on the school's website, www.aurelia.k12.ia.us, and he stated that it should be on the site within a day or two after the meeting.
The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Aurelia Board will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday October 12.