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Highlights from the June 12th Board of Education Meeting

Here are the highlights from the June 12th Board of Education meeting.

Please remember these are just highlights and do not reflect the official minutes.

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Volunteer Program: Karla Terry, Coordinator of Community Relations, shared some of the achievements of the Volunteer Program during the 2016-17 school year. Community volunteers from Christ Community Church and the Titans Arena Football Team shared their time reading to students at Novak Elementary. Encourage A Reader (EAR) volunteers served 218 students. The district had 1,714 active volunteers who logged a record number of 26,402 volunteer hours; these numbers included 400 new volunteers that were vetted by Mrs. Terry. Dr. Shepherd thanked Mrs. Terry for her devotion to the district’s Volunteer Program.


School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC): During the May 25th SIAC meeting a variety of topics were discussed including but not limited to: updates from the Department of Education and Legislators, Early Literacy, the transition from No Child Left Behind to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Differentiated Accountability, new Social Studies standards for K-12 grades, Junior Achievement, Iowa BIG, Student Achievement data, and Blended Learning.


Finance/Audit Committee: During the June 1st committee meeting the members enjoyed hearing updates from Rick Ironside, Executive Director of Support Services, regarding the various projects happening throughout the district. Many of the projects (High School renovation, Westfield parking lot reconstruction, etc.) are in the punch list phase; which could continue for several weeks. The installation of a sprinkler system at the Learning Resource Center did not receive any bids, so further options are being considered. The district’s insurance bill was down $120,000 due to the lowering of Worker’s Compensation claims.


Marion City Council: The only item covered relating to the district was the possibility of an increase in storm water rates which could have a large impact on the district’s cost (potentially another $40K) if the City does increase rates comparable to what the city of Cedar Rapids recently approved.


Board Book: Dr. Shepherd covered the bond communications plan that was included on page 13 of the June 12th Board Book and provided the board members with a packet of handouts President Isenberg has been using to help communicate the modified restructure plan and bond vote. Isenberg’s packet of information included a graph of the modified restructure plan, historical and projected tax levy trends, housing price levy expectations, certified enrollment trends, and local tax information. Dr. Shepherd also went over the Vote2017 web page. The board suggested communication options to be considered and members of OPN Architects shared information on some of the communication items currently in the design stage. The board agreed that during the 4:30 PM work session on June 26th they would focus on board do’s and don’ts during a bond campaign and sharing a summary of the June 13th special session regarding the initial building design thoughts relating to the modified restructure plan.


Items Approved:

  • The board approved the petitions calling for a bond vote setting the special election for September 12, 2017. The board authorized the district to issue General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $80,000,000 to provide funds to construct, build, furnish, and equip two 5th-6th grade intermediate buildings and a new elementary building, and to improve those sites; to remodel, renovate, improve, furnish, and equip Bowman Woods, Indian Creek, and Wilkins elementary buildings; and to remodel, renovate, improve, furnish and equip, and to construct, build, and furnish an addition to Excelsior Middle School and to improve the site.
  • Open enrollments: There were three approved into the district, one denied in, and three denied out.
  • Consent agenda: personnel, minutes, bills, various contracts, and a fieldtrip request for the High School FBLA to attend a Nat’l Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California at the end of June 2017.


During the work session’s open meeting, the board approved Superintendent Shepherd’s salary and contract extension: Superintendent Shepherd’s salary will increase from the current salary of $222,375 to $222,799 for the 2017-18 school year and his contract will be extended for three years through 2019-20.


The board will host a work session only on Monday, June 26th beginning at 4:30 PM in the boardroom of the LRC.  The next full board meeting will be held on Monday, July 10th beginning at 5:00 PM with the work session, followed by the regular meeting at 7:00 PM.


Visit the board/policy website for agendas, exhibits, and past minutes.