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G-R Happenings

November 25, 2011
Northern-Sun Print
Technology: G-R has made a commitment to equipping our staff and students with modern technology in order to improve instruction and prepare our students for success after their academic careers here. Take some time and visit with your student about how they are utilizing technology in school. Our students use a variety of technological resources, including desktop computers, laptop computers, iPads, and iPods. I’m not going to attempt to list the software and websites that are utilized by our students, but that would be a good topic to visit with your student about. We are also working to utilize technology in communicating with parents, alumni, and patrons. Hopefully you are aware of my blog, the link is at the bottom right of the G-R website. Parents of middle and high school students have access to their students academic progress via JMC. Some newer items on our website include a Twitter feed along the right hand side, and a G-R Facebook page. The Facebook page is being maintained by the Student Technology Committee at the high school. We’re hoping this will be an effective way parents, patrons, and alumni to stay in touch with G-R. I invite you to check these items out at Cedar Valley West: Last spring a group of about 40 people, 10 each from Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Aplington-Parkersburg, Grundy Center, and Dike-New Hartford had their first meeting. Two primary goal areas came forth from that meeting. The first is to establish a productive school-to-work program for students of the districts. The goal is to create the opportunity for seniors to explore careers by working with an area business. The students will work for either a half, or whole day for up to 12 weeks. This program is being piloted currently and a full-scale rollout is planned for the 12-13 school year. The second goal is to gain regional recognition for our area. The Cedar Valley West, CVW, name came from this work. A sub-committee is working on marketing our four districts and the communities that comprise them. We believe we live in a fantastic area to work, live, and raise a family. We will be working to make sure that people coming to the area hear about us too. Unspent Balance: The graph above shows the Unspent Balance history for G-R and the estimated unspent balance at the end of this year, FY 12. As you can see the Board’s diligent work to keep expenses in line with revenues has paid off over the last few years. But, we will need to remain fiscally conservative in order to maintain a reasonable unspent balance. The district will continue to monitor class sizes K-8 and course enrollment 9-12 to ensure efficiency in staffing. Maintaining an unspent balance of approximately $1 million leaves the district in a strong position in the event of another across the board cut from the State level, or in case of an emergency need within the district. Enrollment: District revenues in Iowa are driven primarily by student population. The above graph represents the enrollment history at G-R, down 228.4 students, on the certified enrollment, over that time period. The loss of 19 students for the FY 13 budget represents a loss of approximately $114,000. For this reason the district will need to continue to work to control expenditures. I anticipate our enrollment stabilizing at about 580 students. At the current level of funding, about $6,000/student, the drop of 48 students, 628 to 580, represents an additional $288,000 in lost revenues over the next two years. So, how is G-R doing? I can honestly say I’m more confident in the long-term future of G-R than I have ever been. While we will need to continue to be frugal, we are in a stronger financial position than we have been in a number of years. Our students are receiving a truly great education. The G-R staff is committed to working with each child to achieve academic and personal success. Our Board has shown a commitment to fiscal responsibility, and to offering our students the resources for an exemplary educational experience. While these are challenging times in education and for G-R, they are truly exciting times! Educationally yours, Tim Kuehl, Superintendent


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