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Aurelia District eyes funds from grant, settlement Board member Entriken resigns post

Thursday, May 13, 2010

AURELIA - At the monthly meeting of the Aurelia School Board Monday, Principal Ann Sandine reported that she and two elementary teachers had worked on the District's application for a Voluntary Pre-school Grant and submitted it to the state by the May 14 deadline. Districts will be notified of their approval on June 7.

The amount of grant money each district receives the first year will be based on a percentage of the District's certified kindergarten enrollment in October, 2009. Sandine indicated that if the Aurelia District is awarded a grant, it would be for approximately $35,000.

The District has also completed the application for receiving funds from he Microsoft Class-Action Settlement. The elementary school has selected literacy as their target area, and will receive $16,000 for software and technology purchases, under the terms of the settlement.

The Middle School has selected math as their target area, and they will receive $11,900 from the settlement. The District will use the money to expand the Accelerated Math program and train staff in "Every Student Counts."

Sandine also said that the Aurelia District's team of six staff members who have been attending workshops for the past two years focusing on the implementation of the Iowa Core Curriculum have been joined at the AEA workshops by Alta staff this year and the two districts have been working cooperatively on a common Core Curriculum Plan. Both teams will meet in Aurelia on June 2 to finalize the plan. The Iowa Core Curriculum Implementation Plan is due in to the State by July 1, 2010 and must be implemented. The Districts will each submit plans, as they will still be separate districts.

Sandine also mentioned the Trees for Kids and Trees for Teens grant project that science instructor Will Dible and several of his students have been working on. They received a grant for $1000 and planted several trees and did other landscaping on the school's lot on 4th and Ash Streets last week as well as planting a few "extra" trees on the school grounds. The city of Aurelia was also very cooperative with the project, said Sandine, as they removed the cement slab on the vacant lot and hauled in dirt to level the lot.

Sandine made note of the following activities which will be occurring soon: At 6:30 p.m. today, Baccalaureate services, sponsored by the Aurelia Kiwanis Club, will be held in the school gym, followed at 7:15 p.m. by Senior Awards Night. Commencement exercises will be Sunday, May 16 at 2 p.m.

The last day of classes for students will be May 28, and June 1 will be Professional Development and the last day for teachers

In other business, the Board heard from John Lockin and Jerry Jensen regarding the school's insurance policies for the coming year, and the Board approved the new policies, effective July 5, 2010. Lockin also reported that the company he represents, EMC Insurance, declared a 14% dividend this year and were able to distribute this back to the 350 schools they represent. The Aurelia District received a $5159 distribution, which was entered into the District's General Fund.

The Board also approved hiring two students for part-time help with projects this summer, as was done last year.

The Board also approved the "Race to the Top" Memorandum of Understanding. The State of Iowa is currently in Phase 2 of that national project, and if approved, each School District involved would receive at least $60,000 to improve their District. Contracts for certified staff, classified staff and administrators were also approved by the Board at Monday's meeting. Aurelia staff will be receiving an approximate 2.6% increase, which is comparable to what staff at other area schools received in their most recent contract negotiations.

The Board also approved an agreement to share an Art instructor with the Alta District for the coming school year, as Aurelia's art instructor, Aaron Ware, has resigned his position. The shared instructor will be spending half of the time in Alta and half in Aurelia. The Alta Board will hold the teacher's contract and the Aurelia Board will reimburse the Alta District for 50% of the instructor's salary.

The Board had a first reading of a Good Conduct policy which, if approved at next month's meeting, will be in force in both the Aurelia and Alta Middle Schools and High Schools in the 2010-11 school year. The policy was developed by a committee of teachers, students, administrators and parents from both Districts, and was described by Sandine as a "combination" of the existing Good Conduct policies of each District. A second reading will be held at the June Board meeting.

The Board discussed the possibility of continuing the Sharing Agreement for Superintendent Lynn Evans' services with the Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn District for another year, during the transition into the Whole Grade Sharing agreement with Alta. Evans said that the matter is on the agenda at the HMS Board meeting next Monday. The Board then discussed the possibility of hiring an Interim Superintendent for the 2010-11 year if HMS chooses not to continue or extend the current sharing agreement. No action was taken at this time.

The Board also discussed a joint meeting this summer with the Alta Board to begin the process of hiring a Shared Superintendent. No date has been set, but the Board Presidents will consult with their Board members to determine a workable date for the joint meeting.

The Board approved offering a contract for the freshman baseball coach position, contingent on the proposed candidate meeting with Aurelia A.D. Grant Peckenschneider and Principal Sandine.

The Board discussed the possibility of doing something to the bleachers in the gym to make them more accessible to senior citizens and the handicapped. No decisions were made, but Evans told the Board that making the building more handicap-accessible was definitely something that should be done in the near future.

The meeting ended with a surprise announcement from Board member Colby Entriken that he was resigning his position, effective immediately. In a prepared statement, Entriken, who was re-elected to his second term last fall, said that he felt that he was not able to devote the time needed for both his Board duties and his employment.

Superintendent Evans and the other Board members stated that they understood his decision, and thanked Entriken for his time served on the Board.

Evans said the Board will need to appoint someone to fill the vacant position until the next School Board election.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Aurelia School Board will be Monday, June 14.

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