AURELIA - The Aurelia School Board held a public hearing on Monday evening to present the Certified Budget for the 2011 Fiscal Year. There being no questions or objections raised by those present, the Board approved the Certified Budget, which calls for a levy rate of 11.47305, down approximately .05 from the 2010 Fiscal Year. The Budget allows for total expenditures of $4.566 million and total resources of $4.764 million.
Following the adjournment of the Budget Hearing, the Board convened for its regular monthly meeting. Principal Ann Sandine presented this month's Showcase on Education, speaking about the state's Voluntary 4-year-old Preschool Program. The District plans to apply again this year and Sandine said applications will be available on April 16. She has been told that "all schools that apply will be funded" this year, though she and Superintendent Evans cautioned that that statement does not mean that all programs will be fully funded by the state. In the past, funding has been about 60%. Sandine and Board member Jen Hultgren met with a group of 13 interested community partners Monday morning and the group expressed their support of a proposed voluntary pre-school program,
In other business, Sandine said that a student from Buena Vista University, Bre Kathman, has been student teaching in art with Aaron Ware for about two weeks now and will be here for the remainder of the quarter. She also
said that both the "See What You Can Do Night" and Scholastic Book Fair held recently were outstanding successes. The District showed an almost $900 profit from book sales, which will go towards the purchase of additional books for guided reading and accelerated reading.
Sandine also said that science teacher Will Dible had been notified that the school has received a grant called "Trees for Kids and Trees for Teens," which he and a team of his students had applied for earlier this year. The group designed a landscaping plan for the empty lot donated to the school two years ago, and the grant will pay $1014 for the cost of environmentally friendly trees and mulch on the lot.
Weather permitting, the high school students will participate in community clean up on Thursday (April 15). The Middle School students will clean up the school grounds at a later date.
Sandine also reported that she and Alta Principal Tom Ryherd have organized a committee with representatives from both districts to look at Good Conduct policies and develop a common policy for both districts. It is hoped that the unified policy will be in place in time for this summer's baseball season.
Another upcoming shared activity will be an afternoon Staff Development meeting at the Aurelia Community Center on April 23 , when PK - 12th grade staff members from both the Alta and Aurelia Districts will meet with Larry Hill, a respected educator who has retired and is now serving as a consultant to schools.
Sandine also presented the 27 students from the Aurelia High School Class of 2010 for approval of graduation, and the Board approved the list, pending the students' meeting all of the requirements for graduation. The graduation ceremony will be on Sunday May 16 in the Aurelia High School gym.
In other business. The Board approved the 28E agreement with Western Iowa Tech Community College and the Cherokee League of Schools Programs for the 2010-11 school year; the agreement with the Iowa Educators Consortium for Food Purchasing, which saves the District money on food purchases; and a proclamation honoring Teacher Appreciation Week on May 3 - 9, 2010. The Board also approved a letter of resignation from Shelley Ballantyne as Drill Team Sponsor.
Kevin Hammer and Grant Peckenschneider, coaches of the Alta-Aurelia High School football team, were present at the meeting, and Hammer made a presentation about the uniforms for the team. Team members did yard work for townspeople in both communities on Thursday, Friday and Monday as a fundraiser for uniforms, which will cost an estimated $140/ player, including jersey, pants, helmets and pads. Both districts have inventoried their existing usable equipment and had some equipment re-conditioned. They have ordered 18 additional helmets, which have a ten-year guarantee. Both districts have had a policy of selling jerseys to players and they then take the jersey for their own after they graduate. The coaches will meet with their respective Booster Clubs this Sunday to see if those groups have any interest in assisting with the cost of the purchase of uniforms.
On other topics regarding the athletic sharing, Peckenschneider, who is also the Athletic Director at Aurelia, reported that all of the 2010-2011 athletic sharing agreements have now been signed and will be sent to the state high school athletic associations on Tuesday. He also said that all but one of the coaching positions have been decided, and that, basically, "everyone got what they wanted;" that is, people who wanted to be Head Coaches will be, and those who did not want to be Head Coaches will not serve in that capacity. The only coaching position that still needs to be filled is that of Assistant Boys' Golf Coach. Coach Peck also said that baseball players have already been going to Alta three times a week to participate in some pre-season throwing, the boys basketball team has already competed in a tournament, the Girls basketball coach has been at Aurelia to talk to the Aurelia girls who plan to go out for the sport next year, and the football team members, in addition to the raking they did last week, have also gone bowling together and plan to go canoeing on the Maple River this spring.
Peckenschneider also presented some examples of "Warrior" logos which had been created by a friend of Alta A.D. Teri Zimmerman, who is a graphic designer. The administrations of both schools have decided that the Warriors should not make any reference to Native Americans, and the logo which the Aurelia Board seemed to favor was a Old English-type shield with a sword running through it. When an "official" logo has been selected, the booster clubs in both Districts will be notified so that the logo can be applied to t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, and other merchandise.
The Board also reviewed and approved the first reading of the one-year Sharing Contracts for the Baseball program and Extra-Curricular Activities and the five-year Whole-Grade Sharing Contract, which would go into effect on July 1, 2011 and end June 30, 2016, subject to renewal every five years. All of these agreements will be available for public viewing on the Aurelia school web site, www.aurelia.k12.ia.us, but the highlights include: sharing of extra-curricular activities will begin this spring with the high school baseball program. Alta shall serve as the host for all High School baseball practices as well as all varsity, j.v. and freshman "home" games, unless otherwise mutually agreed upon; Alta will e responsible for providing two coaches and Aurelia will be responsible for one coach, unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties. Existing equipment in both districts may be utilized in the joint baseball program, and an inventory of any exchanged items will be maintained.
Alta will serve as the host site for extra-curricular activities involving grades 9-12 and Aurelia for grades 6-8, unless otherwise mutually agreed upon. Costs and net of activity revenues shall be prorated between the two districts, unless otherwise agreed upon. Pro-ration shall be calculated according to the number of students participating from each district, with the minimum percentage paid by either district for any activity to be 25%. Staffing for 9-12 activities will be the responsibility of the Alta District and staffing for Middle School activities will be the responsibility of the Aurelia District.
Each District will be responsible for transporting its students to the other district for classes and activities.
All sharing agreements will be official upon their second reading at a Public Hearing during the regularly-scheduled May Board meetings ( May 10).