Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A Lot of News

Don and I went on vacation last week.  It was really good to take some time together to relax and enjoy nature.  I thought about posting several photos from our vacation, but had second thoughts about turning this into the ultimate Facebook page.  Instead, I would just encourage you to take time this summer to find some space for you and your family to connect and refresh.  It is beneficial for all of us to do from time to time.

Fantastic things are happening on and off-campus this summer.  We have had all kinds of extended learning camps, athletic events and camps, open gyms, and free meals available.

It was quite rewarding to have the Pella staff work with our students to provide a STEM camp this summer. This school business partnership is making a large impact on our students. Pella's contribution of time, expertise, and resources add a lot of value to what our system can offer.

I am delighted to share information about four of our new staff members. If you look closely, some of them look quite familiar.  Jennifer Chapa will be teaching High School Language Arts this next year. She has been teaching in Alaska. Natalie Denton is returning to the district to serve as a Home School Liaison at our High School next year as well. Robynn Manley teaching in the district's preschool program. She has been on our staff as an associate for several years. It is great to see her advance in her career within the system. Jennifer Housman has been serving the district as a member of the Green Hills AEA staff for quite some time and will now serve the district as a school counselor. We are very excited to have each of them back on our staff and part of the Shenandoah CSD family.

We have had a few board work sessions this summer to discuss facility planning and how we might be able to finance some of our needs. This week the board reviewed a fairly comprehensive list of general projects that can be financed using SAVE funds that will improve the overall condition of the building. Additionally, the board discussed the need to repurpose part of the existing high school to create classrooms to support STEM instruction and build two additions. One addition would include space for the Career Technical Education programs, and the second would consist of an auxiliary gym. It is anticipated the cost of the STEM renovation and two additions will require a bond issue. The board is carefully reviewing the steps that are necessary to borrow against the district's SAVE funds and also what is required to have a bond election.

We are continuing to work on refining the plan, budgeting, and reviewing potential sources of revenue with the hopes to have accurate information pulled together within a short amount of time to share with the public. Creating this plan has been a lengthy process, but I am pleased with the efforts of everyone who has been involved in continuing to work and commit their time.   

This is not something the Board can decide on their own merit. Issuing General Obligation Bonds for the STEM Renovation, CTE Addition, and Gym addition will require a public vote. We anticipate continuing to discuss, seek feedback, and refine the budget as we move toward a general obligation bond election in November.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Joining Our Team & Some Board News


Some Board News...

The last two board meetings and work sessions representatives from Carl A. Nelson Group and DLR, have been present and actively participating in discussion relevant to our facility planning and anticipated projects.  Travis Squires a representative from Piper Jaffray joined us last night to discuss financing options the district can leverage. He reviewed with the Board the current state of the district's finances, the use of SAVE funds and ability to borrow against these funds, and the various scenarios of how a bond issue might affect the tax levy.  These are critical conversations in the planning process. We want to make sure that the projects we move forward are clearly needed and helpful for our students, that the district will remain in a healthy financial position, and a solid and reasonable financial plan is in place.

The natural question at this point for everyone is how much is this going to cost.  Over the last several months we have made strong progress toward developing a consensus on the project and concept drawings. Now that we are at this point, they can work on the schematic design and we will be able to develop a more concrete budget and begin the process of soliciting addition feedback on the proposed work. It is anticipated we will have a preliminary budget prepared within the next two to three weeks.

The Board also approved the consent agenda, the District's emergency operations plan, the contract with the Shenandoah Medical Center for the Wellness Plan, awarded the milk bid to Anderson Erickson and bread bid to Bimbo Bakeries, a contract with Boys Town for professional development services at our last two meetings.

The Board is doing good work by engaging in the right conversations at the right time to meet the needs of our students. I appreciate their time and effort.

Learning & Leading

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