ALTA - Two of the items of new business at Monday's monthly Alta-Aurelia School Board meeting involved the High School's Driver Education program. Former instructor Jerry Sandine has chosen not to teach the course this year, so the boards approved Superintendent Evans' recommendation for Kevin Hammer to teach the course this spring. The boards then approved setting the instructor's compensation for the job at $175/student, a $5/student increase over last year's compensation. The boards also set a fee of $235/student for the course, which is also a $5/student increase from last year.
High School Principal Ryherd reported that he has one student who has requested early graduation. Ryherd said that the student, Keith Logan, will have met all graduation requirements at the end of the first semester. He plans to enter the military service immediately after graduation. The early graduation date was approved, providing the student does indeed meet all graduation requirements.
The boards also approved applying for the Early Start Waiver for next school year. If the application is accepted, it gives the District the option to start the 2013-14 school year prior to the legislated start date of September 2. The District's past preference has been to start early so that the first semester ends with the Christmas break.
The boards also approved applying to the state for the maximum amount of Allowable Growth funds for drop-out prevention. The Alta District is requesting $150,865 in total funds, while the Aurelia District is requesting $78,004. Superintendent Evans said that the amount received will be less than the amount requested, as any "carry over" funds are deducted from the maximum amount. He also said that there is no guarantee the districts will receive any of the requested funds.
Curriculum director Stacey Cole reported that students will have early dismissal on Wednesday, December 12, because the PK - 2nd grade teachers have a training session. Cole, who also serves as the Elementary Principal, said that the process of getting the Alta and Aurelia elementary students together occasionally as a means of transitioning them into their future roles in the combined Middle School is ongoing.
Middle School Principal Ann Sandine reported that each home room group is studying a service organization in depth or creating their own service organization, with reports back to the other groups. Sandine also reminded everyone that the Middle School band and vocal concerts will be held in Aurelia on Monday December 17th, beginning at 7 p.m.
High School Principal Tom Ryherd reported that students will be taking Semester testa the last three days of the semester. He also said that the High School Music Concert will be this Thursday, December 13, at the High School gym in Alta, starting at 7 p.m.
Ryherd also reported that four students have been selected to sing in the 1200 member Dorian Honor Choir in Decorah, Iowa, in January. The students - Taler Stanton, Alicia Turnquist, Spencer Bezoni and Josh Baxter - will rehearse on January 13 and perform in concert on January 14.
The Boards reviewed their Early Retirement Policies, and neither board had any recommendations for changes in the policies. No action was taken, as this was the first reading. The second reading will be at the January meeting, and Evans reminded Board members to contact him before that meeting if they have any further suggestions for changes to the policy.
The Aurelia Board approved the hiring of Bradley Gustafson as Middle School wrestling coach at a salary of $1630.
Superintendent Evans also reported that the State Fire Marshall stated that the doors on the new elevator in the Aurelia building need to be "smoke doors," and he stated that he located three doors for three doors, one each for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors, which met the Marshall's requirements and can be purchased for $15,951.
Evans then discussed the kindergarten enrollment in Alta, which was originally projected to be 49 students. Since that time, the projected number has risen, then dropped again. Current projections are for a class of 53 next fall. The current plan is to divide these students into two sections, but Evans said that he will most likely be recommending the addition of one staff member to help manage that class.
The meeting ended with a brief discussion of Board members' impressions of the November IASB meeting and the December 6th Alta Board workshop regarding the future of the old Alta High School building. All board and administration members who attended the IASB meetings felt it was one of the better meetings of recent years, and the consensus of Alta Board members regarding the December 6th meeting was that need to do some further investigation into projected future enrollments and the costs involved with demolition of the old building before making any decisions regarding the building's future.