AURELIA - At their monthly meeting here Monday night, the Aurelia and Alta Boards of Education heard a report from Superintendent Lynn Evans on the district's 2013-14 Master Schedule, and learned that three different schedules are under consideration.
Board members offered their opinions of all three schedules, which vary the start and end times for both the first and second semesters, and Evans indicated that he would take these comments under consideration when the final schedule is set.
Athletic Director Terri Zimmerman talked to Board members about applications from four school districts to join the Twin Lakes Conference. The pros and cons on adding some, or all, of the schools was discussed at length. All the schools are smaller schools, and Zimmerman didn't feel there would be any great benefit to adding any of the applying schools to the Twin Lakes Conference and, could actually have a negative effect, as victories over smaller schools count less on the point system used to determine post-season participation.
Neither she nor Superintendent Evans favor adding any new schools, although both said that adding one school would allow the conference divisions to have the same number of teams in each division.
Conference ADs meet on January 23rd to vote on the applications, and Evans felt that it was likely that West Bend-Mallard, which is the largest of the four districts who have applied, would be voted in.
In other new business, it was reported that the Community Betterment organization The Alta Horizons has been awarded a Buena Vista County Foundation Grant for a new marquee message board that they plan to install on the Community Center sign. The organization states that they are still in need of another $4000 to finish the project, and they approached Evans about the district donating towards the project.
The Athletic Boosters have donated $1000, and Evans recommended that the district make a donation, since school events will be consistently posted on the board throughout the year. The Board approved a $500 donation to the Alta Horizons for their project.
A request was also approved for the Middle School Jazz Band to attend an out-of-state contest at Augustana College in Sioux Falls on March 4, 2013. The band has 21 members, and there will not be the need for an overnight stay.
The Board also approved $500 for student Joe Napierala for his travel to India to participate in a competition next summer. Teacher Will Dible will be going along, but the school will not be paying for his travel expenses.
After a second reading of each District's Early Retirement policy, the Alta Board approved extending the district's current policy language through June 30, 2013. Staff have until March 1st to apply for early retirement benefits, and the board may restrict applications to the first three applicants. The Aurelia Board also approved extending their policy language through June 30, 2013, with a March 1st deadline and the right to limit applications to the first three applicants.
The Alta Board also approved a contract offer to Allie Robbins for the position of Kindergarten teacher in the Alta Elementary school.
Curriculum Coordinator Stacey Cole reported that the data from the Iowa Assessments just came back, and she will review the results and report at the next Board meeting. She also stated that the District will start a continuous on-going review of its Safety Plan in light of the recent tragic incidents elsewhere. Cole, who is also the Elementary Principal, said that reading assessments are currently going on in the elementary schools in both the Alta and Aurelia districts. There has been some talk statewide about replacing the current Iowa Assessment with the "Smarter Balance Assessment," and Alta's 5th Grade class has been selected to try out the new assessment.
Middle School Principal Ann Sandine reported that teacher Tim Ireland will be fulfilling his military service commitment for the remainder of the school year, but another teacher has agreed to fill in for Ireland in his Industrial Technology classes, and has been training with that class's material recently.
High School Principal Tom Ryherd reported that the first semester grades are being finalized and released this week.
He also said that the school will be hosting a Pre-District Speech night at Alta's Roxy Theatre on Tuesday (Jan. 15th) for area school speech students to practice their pieces before a live audience. The District Speech contest will be held this Saturday in Spencer. Ryherd said he was extremely pleased with the excellent turnout for the Speech program at Alta-Aurelia this year.
Evans reported that he had recently worked with the Alta Kiwanis to write a Buena Vista County Foundation Grant for the High School music programs, and the grant of $5000 was awarded. Evans said the Alta Education Foundation has also donated $5000 to the High School music programs and the the Alta and Aurelia Kiwanis clubs have also each donated $1000.
Evans has also submitted a grant application for a Cherokee County Legacy Foundation grant for re-locating and upgrading the sound system in the Aurelia gymnasium, necessitated by the demolition of the old permanent bleachers.
Evans also reviewed enrollment numbers with the Boards and discussed enrollment's relationship to finances. He said that predictions for future funding are difficult at this time, given the potential jeopardizing of federal funds and the state legislature not yet setting an allowable growth figure for next year, but he distributed charts to Board members illustrating some potential future funding figures, based on different allowable growth percentages.