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Highlights from the February 20th Linn-Mar Board of Education Meeting

 Below are highlights from the February 20th Board of Education meeting. Please remember these are not the official minutes.

During the work session the Board discussed the restructure plan that would create two 5-7 buildings, one 8-9 building, and updating the three historic elementary buildings. The district enlisted the help of OPN Architects to assess the various facilities to develop a deeper financial understanding of the proposed plan. Dr. Shepherd shared that with the additional expertise of OPN Architects, and after further consideration of student needs, facility needs, and funding, it became clear that we need to take a moment to pause and re-evaluate what is most equitable and fiscally responsible for the district. So, the district will be taking a minute to regroup, consider additional options, and gain additional input from the Facilities Committee addressing the restructure plan. Dr. Shepherd shared, “This is not a stop to the restructure plan, but a pause to ensure the district has time to delve deeper into finding the best way to leverage our current facilities to help us achieve our vision, not just as a solution to immediate space needs, but anticipating growth 5 and 10 years into the future.”

The Board also engaged in additional discussion of the Board Operations Manual. The Board has been updating the manual to remove redundant information, prepare it as a resource for future board members, and clarify their roles and responsibilities. It is the Board’s goal to use the manual as a way to recommit and re-engage board members during their annual organizational meetings wherein they will sign the manual as part of their annual oath. Dr. Shepherd also shared a committee charge document that the Board discussed which would have the Board committees/advisories outline their purpose, membership, and goals. It was decided that the committee charge would be completed for the Finance/Audit Committee, Policy Committee, Career & Technical Education Committee, and School Improvement Advisory Committee. Once the charge is complete for each of these groups they will be approved by the Board and included as appendices to the Board Operations Manual.

The final discussion during the work session focused on the Boards’ thoughts regarding their involvement as PBIS champions in the elementary buildings. Board members shared their thoughts about the program in general and highlighted several exciting things the various buildings are doing. One topic that was shared by several board members was the suggestion that buildings share their PBIS ideas with each other because there are many great things happening in the buildings that would be helpful across the district.

TProject Lead The Way Recognized during School Board meetinghe regular meeting had an exciting beginning with the recognition of Mr. Patterson, High School Industrial Technology Teacher, and the students that helped organize the Project Lead the Night held at the High School in February. President Tim Isenberg presented the group with a certificate of recognition and thanked them for their dedication to PLTW and the students. Project Lead the Way introduces hands-on learning that focuses on STEM initiatives (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) for middle school and high school students. Thanks to Mr. Patterson and the students for their dedication to PLTW!

Another highlight of the regular meeting was hearing Zach Bohannon, an alum of Linn-Mar and YMCA Project Coordinator, present information on the Marion YMCA and City of Marion partnership to build a new facility for the community. Mr. Bohannon was joined by Sarah Mentzer, Cedar Rapids Metro YMCA Director of Development, and Robert Carlson, President & CEO of the Cedar Rapids Metro YMCA. The new facility will be twice the size of the current Marion YMCA and will be located along the new sections of Tower Terrace and Winslow Road. The facility will offer several meeting spaces, racquetball courts, a pool with zero-entry, outdoor children spaces, snack bar, four basketball courts, locker rooms, an indoor running track, on-site personal trainers and dietitian, and more. The YMCA is excited to move forward with the project with a $6.5 million partnership committed by the City of Marion. It is hoped to begin the project in the spring of 2017.

The regular meeting also shared several reports of various committees and meetings. Additional details can be found in the Board Book. The Board also approved several resolutions regarding the issuance of $14,125,000 General Obligation School Refunding Bonds, Series 2017. It is the goal of the Board to have a community vote on the refunding bonds in September as part of the funding for the restructure plan.

Remember, you can access the board agendas, exhibits, minutes, Board Books, and more on the Board/Policy website.