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Highlights From the April 10th Board of Education Meeting

Below are highlights from the April 10th Board of Education meeting. Please remember these are only highlights and do not reflect the official minutes.

The work session included a lot of great information on elementary learning and Multi-Tier Systems of Support (MTSS). The Iowa Department of Education shares that, “MTSS is a decision-making framework of evidence-based practices in instruction and assessment that addresses the needs of all students. MTSS allows educators to judge the overall health of their educational system by examining data on the educational system as well as identifying students who need additional supports. The supports are then provided in both small group and individual settings, and are monitored to ensure they support all learners demonstrate proficiency in the Iowa Core standards.” The elementary principals were joined by Kelly Kretschmar, Director of Elementary Teaching & Learning, and Jessica Quandahl, GWAEA Curriculum Consultant, to present the journey the elementary buildings have taken to develop and build the five key components the Department of Ed requires of schools: 1) assessments, 2) data-based decision-making, 3) core instruction, 4) intervention to help all students excel, and 5) progress monitoring. The group also shared the six building blocks of core instruction: 1) instructional time, 2) standards & enacted curriculum, 3) instructional practices, 4) instructional materials, 5) assessment for learning, and 6) collaborative literacy support. The development of MTSS at the elementary level focuses around the desired outcomes which are based on four questions from the collaborative work of teacher Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and the goals of the district’s Strategic Plan. For a full overview of the presentation view exhibit 301.1 included in the exhibit packet.

During the regular meeting Karla Christian, Chief Officer of Human Resources and Executive Director of Public Relations, announced the 2016-17 LIONS Award and Volunteer Recognition winners. Congratulations to the following:

LIONS Award Winners:

  • Legend: Keith Ponto
  • Innovators: Karla Koenen and Sara Hofer
  • Optimizer: Rachelle Haker
  • Newcomer: Brian Johnson
  • Service: Nadine Grieder

Volunteer Recognition Winners:

  • Above & Beyond: Beth Graves and Rachael Kumoto
  • Making a Difference Award: Jessi Pfaff
  • Unsung Hero: Sue Harkness

Dr. Shepherd also shared a bit of history and an update on the district restructure process. Due to the dedication of OPN Architects, the Restructure Steering Committee, and the Restructure Facilities Committee it was determined and shared at the February 20th board meeting that repurposing the Excelsior building into an 8-9 center was not financially feasible for the district and community. The Steering Committee, with the aid of OPN Architects, developed a variety of scenarios that would be fiscally sound for the district and presented them to the Facilities Committee on March 8th to gather their feedback; which was presented to the Board at last night’s meeting. The current scenario under consideration would include:

  • High School remains 9-12 grade center and repurpose district offices (LRC) as high school classrooms/building
  • Excelsior and Oak Ridge become 7-8 grade centers
  • Construction of two new 5-6 grade centers
  • Updates to three historic elementary buildings: Bowman Woods, Indian Creek, and Wilkins
  • Potential for future construction of a district recital hall only after other restructure issues are complete

Dr. Shepherd shared the next steps of the process will be for the Facilities Committee to: 1) prioritize the needs of the three historic elementary buildings on April 12th, 2) finalize a recommendation on April 26th, 3) present the final recommendation to the Board in May, 4) host community meetings from May to September, and 5) present the bond vote to the community in September.

Please remember that the restructure plan is still fluid and in process, no definite decisions have been made and all avenues are being pursued to address building enrollment, increase space needs in all buildings, have a positive and direct impact on all schools, ensure facilities restructure plan is fiscally sound, and explore grade restructuring.


JT Anderson, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, presented information on the 2017-18 proposed certified budget. The purpose of the certified budget is to establish a maximum tax rate and an estimate of budget-year expenditures for all funds. The proposed FY18 budget is based on the state-approved, 1.11% State Supplemental Aid (SSA) growth. Anderson’s recommendation to the Board was a $0.24 increase to levy related to the general fund, no change to levy pertaining to the management fund, continued use of the $.33 board-approved levy plus the $1.34 voter-approved levy for the Physical Plant and Equipment fund (PPEL), continued use of the $.135 voter-approved levy for the Public Education Recreation fund (PERL), and a decrease of $0.24 for the debt service fund. Refer to Exhibits 701.1 and 702.1 in the board packet for additional details. The Board voted to approve the Certified Budget for 2017-18 as presented.


Additional items of interest during the regular meeting were:

  1. Approval of fundraising requests
  2. Approval of several open enrollment requests for 2017-18
  3. Approval of overnight field trip requests for Robotics to attend Regionals and, if they qualify, World Championships…good luck Robotics Teams!!!


To view the full agenda, exhibits, and previous meeting minutes be sure to visit the School Board/Policy website.