Monday, November 12, 2018

November Board Matters

School has been in session for several months now, and there is much work in progress.  It was great to have a few different staff members present at the Board meeting tonight about the positive strides that are being made.

Mrs. Trowbridge, the High School World Languages teacher for Spanish, shared information on the Biliteracy Seal that the Iowa Department of Education is encouraging schools to offer. Mrs. Trowbridge has agreed to coordinate this effort for the High School. This will be an excellent opportunity for the District.

Mrs. Andrew, Mrs. Johnson, and Mrs. Martin presented information about the Illustrated Math curriculum that is being implemented at the Middle School. This team of teachers is doing very good work. I appreciate their efforts to implement a new curriculum, try different methods, and make a positive contribution. On an additional note, Sarah Martin, one of the Middle School Math Teachers, was recently recognized by the Open Up Resources as Teacher of the Month for her online leadership efforts using social media to help other teachers implement this curriculum, and was also selected to serve on the statewide Mathematics Leadership Team. 

Mr. Shaffer talked about the potential use of a trained drug dog at the High School and how this will be approached. There was a good discussion about the procedures, process and consequences that will be used if the drug dogs identify an illegal substance on campus. 

District financial matters are on the agenda each month and are published on a regular basis. Mrs. Ruzek provided a comprehensive presentation tonight about the financial status of the district. Our unspent budget authority has increased by over 1.5 million the past three years.  This is a positive trend and something that was necessary to do for the overall financial health of the district.

There were several items on the consent agenda that were approved.  Additionally, there was a closed session that was held.

The Board approved hiring Aaron Burdorf and Jon Weinrich as interim softball coaches. The Board fully supports both Mr. Burdorf and Mr. Weinrich as administrators and also recognizes they are both very talented athletes and coaches. So why interim?  There was a discussion about the amount of time and impact coaching has on administrative job functions and whether or not it should be something the District does. The Board agreed to approve it with interim status so the coaches and team can move forward planning for the season. I appreciate both Mr. Burdorf (Head Coach- Interim) and Mr. Weinrich's (Assistant Coach-Interim) willingness to step forward to coach our athletes.

The series of policies related to Education Records Access and Student Directory Information were both approved on the third (final) reading. The School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) request for budget authority was approved for the open enrollment out ($79,968) and for limited English proficient ($1,481).  The Board also agreed to replace the scrolling ad in the high school gym with an LCD Sign.

Last month, Mr. Wienrich presented about different transportation department related needs.  He consulted with two different firms and received quotes for radio systems from Electronic Engineering and Bi-State Electronics. The purchase from Electronic Engineering for $14,916.46 was approved.

The fire alarm systems at the High School and JK-8 schools need to be replaced.  Mr. Rogers presented two different bids that were very different in price.  It was noted that the District did seek out additional guidance from the District's architects about the differences in the bids, and there were no concerns mentioned about the quality of the proposed work in the bids. There was some conversation about whether or not we should wait to complete the high school until after the HVAC work is complete.  After some discussion about the bid, the difference in price, the timing of the work, and the budget it was agreed to move forward with the bid from FELD for $190,132 for both the K-8 Building and High School.

Once again, there was a lot of action that occurred tonight. I appreciate all of the time and energy the staff put behind making the presentations meaningful and providing information to the Board so they could make appropriate decisions.

Joining Our Team & Some Board News

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