AURELIA - In a special meeting prior to Monday evening's regular monthly School Board meeting, the Aurelia School Board held a public hearing for comments on the FY 2013 Certified Budget. There were no comments, and the Board approved the $6.9 million budget, with a tax levy rate of 10.8-cents per $1,000 property evaluation.
Following adjournment, the monthly meeting of the Aurelia and Alta School Boards was called to order when the Alta Board members arrived.
In old business, the Aurelia Board reviewed two bids on updating the electrical service at the bus garage at the Aurelia school, which has not had any new service added or updated for several years. The Board voted to acept a bid of $7,900 from Gaes Electric for new electrical service to include a breaker panel, outlets, service for a future air compressor and upgrading lights to high efficiency T-8 lighting.
The costs for the fledgling soccer program were discussed. Superintendent Lynn Evans said that the costs were not as high as anticipated. They discovered two goals which were in storage, so there will be no cost for that item, soccer balls were purchased for $400, students are providing their own shorts and socks, and tee shirts were purchased for $400. A request is going to be submitted to the Booster club to consider purchasing nets for the goals. Evans announced that the team would be playing the first soccer game in the history of either school the following day (Tuesday) at Storm Lake High School.
Aurelia Athletic Director Grant Peckenschneider was present to discuss the needs of the Fitness Center at Aurelia. The treadmills are getting heavy use and two of them are in need of replacement. Peckenschneider distributed information about specific bids on equipment and following Board discussion, the Aurelia Board approved the purchase of two heavy-duty Cybex commercial model treadmills and one stationary bike to replace current equipment. The estimated cost of the treadmills is $4750 apiece.
The Aurelia Board also discussed establishing a position of a Fitness Center attendant to look over the center, keep track of equipment use, take inventory and do occasional clean-up work. The Board approved hiring someone from current staff for the position, and Superintendent Evans recommended Peckenschneider and teacher/coach Mike Fry for this position.
In new business, the Aurelia Board approved the purchase of a low mileage used vehicle to replace the 1996 Suburban, which is in need of a new transmission.
Evans presented the official results of the April 3rd vote on the Revenue Purpose Statement. 98% of the voters voted in favor, and the Board formally accepted the result at Monday's meeting.
Both Boards approved the hiring of summer custodial help, with the Alta Board approving Evans' recommendation to hire three helpers at the same rate as last summer. They will work six hour days, and their main work will be in helping clean out the old high school in Alta. The Aurelia Board approved hiring two workers, with the same pay and hours. Their main duty will be preparing the Aurelia facility for the construction projects this summer.
The Aurelia Board approved hiring a 0.5 Title I teacher, as Amy Rohwer will need to teach TK full-time this year due to the size of the incoming class. The Alta Board also approved reducing the ELL position from 1.0 to 0. 5. The Aurelia Board also approved out-of-state travel for the 6th grade to go to the Doorly Zoo in Omaha.
Curriculum Director Stacey Cole reported that the District Leadership Team members are receiving training in getting their students more engaged in their education, taking personal responsibility and not just passively listening to the teachers. Cole, who also serves as Elementary Principal, said that Alta will also be able to offer more early intervention for 3 year olds, due to openings in the Head Start program.
Cole said the 4th graders will be taking a Field Trip to the Science Center on April 20, and 5th graders will be going to Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge to get an idea of what that campus offers and looks like.
Middle School Principal Ann Sandine said that the 6th graders will be going on a Field Trip to the Omaha Zoo, the 7th graders will be taking a trip on the Boone Scenic Railway, and 8th Graders will be going to Des Moines on April 30 to visit the State Capitol and the Hall of Pride.
Sandine also reported that the after school program for "at risk" students is going well; that a group of Middle School students are learning about trees and will be planting some trees on the school grounds; and that she and Tim Ireland visited the Industrial Technology Program at Spirit Lake, which they found to be progressive and inspirational.
High School Principal Tom Ryherd reported that there are a lot of activities going on for High School students this spring and noted the Junior-Senior Prom on April 21, Community Service Day on April 27, the Spring Concert on April 30, and Graduation on May 20.
Ryherd also said that there will be a couple of new Science course offerings added next year to an already impressive number of science courses available to students.
Both Boards approved the policy on High School Graduation Requirements, following a second reading of the revised policy, which now allows for an Alternative Diploma under special circumstances not of their own making. The High School Principal will make such decisions, with consultation from other administrators. All cases will be handled on a case-to-case basis.
In personnel matters, the following resignations were accepted and approved : Colleen Schwanz as High School basketball cheerleading coach (she will still be working with the football cheerleaders); Dean Lietz as High School Head Boys' Basketball Coach, and Lu Ann Jacobson as Special Education Preschool teacher.
The following contracts were also approved : Tracy Johnson as High School Basketball Cheerleading coach; Corbet Butler as High School Instrumental Music teacher; Lesa Turnquist as 9th Grade Softball coach; and Marty Poulson as Custodian/Maintenace worker at the Aurelia school.
Evans recommended that both Districts plan a summer sale/auction of unused equipment. He felt that most of the Alta District's items would be outdated Audio Visual equipment and furniture left over from the High School move, along witha few other items which have been in storage.
In the Aurelia District, items would include things from under the bleachers and from the garage by the football concession stand, old tables, and some older shop equipment. The Boards will need to set tentative dates for these events and hire an auctioneer.
Evans also said that the Aurelia Board will have to hold a special session soon to determine how the school restoration project will be financed, and he suggested they arrange a meeting with a financial consultant, probably via skype.
Evans also said that the Aurelia District had received a $3000 Foundation Legacy Grant to be used for equipment for a pre-school playground, and that this will be installed over the summer.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the boards will be in Alta on Monday, May 14.