AURELIA - A public hearing on the proposed FY 2012 budget for the Aurelia School District for FY 2012 was held on Monday night.
One guest was present and he expressed some concerns about the increase reliance on property tax for school finance and increased transportation costs. Business Manager Vicki Kolpin explained that the figures in the proposed budget were not actual line-item figures but just a "guesstimate," and that many figures were over-estimates of what the final figures will actually be.
The Board approved the FY12 budget for certification. The $5.974 million budget includes a proposed tax levy rate of 11.55, up slightly from FY11's rate of $11.48.
Following the adjourning of the Certified Budget Hearing, the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Directors was called to order.
The meeting began with a Showcase on Education presentation by teacher Jennifer Wittmaack, who demonstrated a documentation reader which was recently purchased with PPEL funds. The reader is basically an overhead projector, but unlike the standard overhead, the teacher does not have to make transparencies to project. The reader can project regular pieces of paper or even books or magazines, and is also capable of projecting in 3-D mode. In addition, the documentation reader is smaller than the old-style overhead projector and can be attached to a television monitor if so desired.
In other business, Superintendent Jack Johnson reported that he and Principal Ann Sandine are working on the District's response to the Department of Education regarding the DOE's compliance and equity reviews. The responses are due in by May 3.
The Board also approved the hiring of Vicki Kolpin as Shared Business Manager/Board Secretary for next school year. Sixty percent of her salary will be paid by the Alta District and 40 percent by the Aurelia District, as agreed upon at last week's Joint Board meeting.
The Board also approved offering a contract as Shared Elementary Principal, at an annual salary of $70,000 and a $4000 tax-sheltered annuity, in lieu of a family insurance plan, to Stacey Cole. Cole had said she did not need the Family Health Insurance package , which was originally offered, because her husband already has such a family policy.
Aurelia Board President Dan Winterhof was in touch with Alta Board President Bruce Glienke during the meeting, and the Alta Board also gave their approval of the contract offer. Aurelia will hold the contract for the Elementary Principal, which will be paid on the same 60/40 basis as the shared districts' other shared positions.
Cole was selected following interviews last weekend by separate teams of teachers, parents and administrators from both Districts. Board members from each District also sat in on the interviews. Stacey Cole is currently the Principal of the Early Childhood Learning Center in the Storm Lake District.
Principal Ann Sandine reported that Alison Buechler, a Buena Vista University student, is student teaching with Band Director Ryan Meyer during the 4th quarter. Sandine also said the annual "See What You Can Do Night" for students in grades 4-12 was held recently in the school gym, and it was a success. Kindergarten Roundup was also held on April 8, and Sandine anticipates a class of 17 next fall, which will be divided into a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten class.
Weather permitting, high school students will participate in a community cleanup on Monday April 18, working in the city park. Middle School students will clean up the school grounds at a later date.
Sandine also said that Wednesday, April 20 will be a "Transition Day" for next year's high school students, who will be spending roughly half the day in Alta, becoming familiar with the Alta school building, students and teachers. There will be Homeroom/Team Building activities, a building tour, walking through a mock schedule of classes, lunch and group activities.
At the same time, next year's 6-8 grade students from Alta will be spending half a day in the Aurelia building taking part in the same type of activities. On April 27, both the Alta and Aurelia School Districts will be holding Open Houses for parents and students from both districts from 5 - 7 p.m.
Sandine also noted that the Aurelia Jazz Choir performed at Wartburg College in the State Jazz Choir Championship on March 28 and received 3rd place. The jazz choir was one of five choirs in each class who were selected to attend the state contest based on audition tapes.
The Jazz Band performed at their State contest in Des Moines on Tuesday April 12.
The School has been notified that Aurelia was selected to receive $8,000 as part of a Healthy Iowans Grant, sponsored by the Iowa Department of Public Health, and they plan to use the funds for the outdoor classroom/garden project on the school lot across the street from the school. Board member Myron Radke and teacher Will Dible have been in touch with Duane Kent from Del's Garden Center and Kent will be delivering several trees to be planted on the lot and also on school grounds. The three will work together to coordinate the location fro the tree plantings, and students will be helping with the plantings and upkeep.
Other upcoming events include the Junior/Senior Prom on Saturday, April 16, the Puppy Relays and High School Spring Concert on May 3, Middle School Spring Concert on May 9, Baccalaureate/Awards Night on Tuesday May 10, TK/K Parents Day on May 12, and "Come Play and Stay Day" for next year's TK/K students on May 13.
Commencement ceremonies will take place in the school gymnasium at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 15. The last day of classes for students will be May 25, and teachers will have in-service days on May 26-27.
Sandine also announced that teachers Shanda Reilly and Deena Jones have handed in early retirement applications, and the Board accepted the applications, thanking and acknowledging the teachers for their years of dedicated service to the students of the Aurelia School District. Shanda Reilly is completing her 39th year in the Aurelia District and Deena Jones her 34th year in the District.
The School will advertise the retired teachers' positions "in-house" for one week to give current staff a chance to apply before posting the positions elsewhere if necessary.
The Board also approved a list of 12 graduates, all of whom are "on track to graduate," in Principal Sandine's words. In a related manner, Sandine said that next year's senior class will have the same credit requirement (46 credits) as previous graduating classes from Aurelia, while next year's junior class members from Aurelia will be required to have 48 credits to graduate, which should be no problem, she said, because they will have an extra period next year, as required by the Alta District.
Next year's sophomores and freshmen will be required to have 54 credits to graduate, which has been the long-standing policy in the Alta District because of the nine period day.
In other business, Middle School Activity Director Grant Peckenschneider reported that the District has received a $4,800 grant from the Cherokee County Legacy Foundation to purchase equipment for the weight room in the Fitness Center. Peckenschneider is proposing the purchase of one new elliptical, one Smith machine, and an inner/outer thigh weight stack machine. He said that the three machines may cost more than the $4,800, because prices can change a lot over five months, and he wondered about the possibility of the school or perhaps the Booster Club making up any possible additional cost.
Peckenschnedier also discussed maintenance items on the the treadmills, which don't need Board approval, and also requested purchasing new gym pads and painting the gym over the summer to reflect the school's change to the Alta-Aurelia Warriors. He will have a more exact cost estimate on all of these items for the Board at their May meeting.
Peckenschneider also requested that the Board consider hiring a third coach for Junior High football next year as more than 40 students are expected to participate.