AURELIA - The Board of Directors of the Aurelia Community School District met at the school for their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday. Lynn Evans, who will assume his duties as the Shared Superintendent of the Alta and Aurelia districts on July 1, was in attendance at the meeting as a guest.
Board President Dan Winterhof thanked Jack Johnson, who has served the Aurelia District as Acting Superintendent for the last school year, for his service to the district. The meeting Wednesday was Johnson's last.
Johnson said that the district will be advertising to hire a 4th grade/Title I teacher. He also confirmed that the current high school library will serve as the K-8 library next year, when the shared Alta-Aurelia Middle School comes to Aurelia.
Board member Myron Radke presented the plan for the outdoor classroom/community garden, which was planned by Will Dible, Radke, and Duane Kent of Del's Garden Center, and will be funded by a grant the district received. The land involved is a lot across from the school on 4th Street which was given to the school last year. The plan calls for a circular area of five gardens - a small fruit garden, vegetable garden, butterfly garden, bird garden and prairie garden, divided by fieldstone boulders. A flagstone patio will be in the center of the area, providing an area for instruction surrounded by the five garden areas, and the entire circle area will be bordered with bullet edging. Several different kinds of perennial plants will be planted in the prairie, butterfly and bird gardens.
Athletic Director Grant Peckenschnider told the Board that all of the new equipment for the Wellness Center has arrived and will soon be unboxed and set up. He also reported that the end pads in the gym have been taken down and he plans to order new pads this summer when the Board approves the purchase. The Board also approved selling the old elliptical machines and Peckenschneider said he would talk to someone about setting up a rotation for replacement of treadmills. Some discussion also occurred concerning the possibility of raising membership fees for the Wellness Center slightly to help offset the cost of replacing machines, but no action was taken on this item at this time.
In other business, discussion of registration fees and lunch fees was tabled until the next Board meeting due to the absence of Principal Ann Sandine and the change in the Superintendent's position; The Board approved renewing their membership in the Iowa Association of School Boards; authorized Business Manager Vicki Kolpin to pay the final bills and claims from the 2010-11 school year; and adapted a resolution to commit 80% of the ending cash balance on June 30, 2011 for purposes of cash flow for both unforeseen as well as expected educational expenses of the whole grade sharing agreement; approved the early start date for school in the 2011-12 school year; and approved sharing agreements for the positions of Superintendent, Elementary Principal, and Business Manager, pending approval by the district's attorney.
Transportation Director John Hill presented information about the proposed schedule for transporting the Middle School students to and from Aurelia, and discussed his recommendations for salaries for the bus drivers. Hill presented salary figures from several surrounding districts and the Aurelia district salaries were considerably lower than the others. Also of concern was the discrepancy between the salary for regular route drivers and substitutes, a practice which has been in place for many years.
The Board was in agreement that substitute divers should receive the same amount as the regular route drivers since the tasks they perform, as well as the education, training and drug testing they are required to obtain, are the same as they are for the regular drivers.
The Board approved a rate of $30/route for both regular and substitute route drivers, an increase from the previous rates of $25 and $18, respectively. The rate for driving to and from activities was approved at $9/hour, with a $12 minimum. The activity rate would also apply to drivers traveling for off-site required education, training and drug testing.
In other business, the Board approved the addition of a level 3 salary for serving as Industrial Technology Director to the Middle School Principal's salary. Ann Sandine has been serving in this position without additional pay for the last two-three years, and Board members felt that she should be appropriately compensated. The additional pay would not be retroactive, but would commence with the upcoming school year.
The Board also discussed an application for Open Enrollment out of the District which was not submitted within the normal timelines, and approved the application due to extenuating circumstances.
The Board also approved the first reading of the Graduation Requirements policy, which states that Aurelia students graduating from the Alta-Aurelia Shared District in 2012 will be required to earn 46 credits (which is the current Aurelia graduation requirement), while students graduating in 2013 will be required to earn 48 credits, and all students thereafter will have a 54 credit requirement.
A second reading will take place at the July Board meeting and there will then be a Board vote on approval.
In personnel issues, the Board approved the offer of a contract for Middle School Band Instructor to Nicole Nuttel and also approved offering a contract as a 40 hour a week custodian to Deb Reed. The Board also approved the resignation of Cheryl Winterhof as an assistant cook, and thanked her for her six years of service to the District.
The Board will have a special Board Work Session at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28 at 3 p.m. to discuss recommendations on facility renovation and remodeling which were made at a recent meeting . The architect who made those suggestions will also be present at the June 28 meeting.