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G-R School Board By Marcy Knaack

February 28, 2014
Northern-Sun Print
The Gladbrook-Reinbeck School Board met Wednesday evening with many G-R staff members and concerned citizens wanting to hear how the board would decide to make $300,000 cuts for fiscal year 2014-15. At an earlier work session meeting this month, Supt. Shawn Holloway explained how the district reached the point where expenditures have been exceeding the current year spending authority. At the current rate, projections are showing the district’s unspent balance reaching a negative amount in two years. School districts are not allowed to maintain negative unspent balances and will come under the scrutiny of the Department of Education. Holloway said the district does not have a cash issue; it’s a spending authority issue and only reflects the general fund. He explained to those in attendance how the district came to this point. Some of those items were that revenue decreased because of fewer students, supported weighting calculations changed, budget guarantees didn’t come through as the district didn’t lose enough students to get a larger budget guarantee, and operational sharing dollars were phased out, salaries and benefits increased and there was a final special education pool reconciliation. He said $300,000 reduction is a great start but won’t solve the problem. Holloway’s recommendation for Tier 1 cuts included: 1 FTE FCS employee which will mean less class offerings at the middle school and high school; 1 FTE middle school reading specialist; 1 FTE tech integration, currently have two half time positions; 1 6 hour custodial position; 1 FTE At Risk Coordinator; change modified allowable growth coding for benefits and insurance; non-educational software coding to PPEL; reduce overtime for business manager and lawn care options. Tier 2 Option A was to eliminate 2 FTE K-6 teachers; and Option B was to reduce to half time the Ag, Industrial Tech and Foreign Language instructors. After many questions from those attending and the board, the board approved Tier 1 in full and Tier 2 Option A. At the March meeting the board will vote on specific personnel. The board accepted Kayla Benda’s resignation. She was a 2nd grade instructor at the Reinbeck campus. The 2014-15 calendar was tabled until the March special meeting on March 3rd. Board member Doug Rowe felt it would be more cost savings for the district if professional development were a full day once a month rather than a half day twice a month as it would eliminate running buses and providing lunch. Rowe asked Supt. Holloway to talk to other districts in the Cedar Valley West to see if this was an option for them. After many months of looking at new math curriculum, the board voted to adopt and purchase Connected Math for 7th and 8th grade and Everyday Math for K-6. Approximate cost is $42,000. Supt. Holloway gave FY13 audit report highlights. General Fund revenues decreased from $6,584,873 in FY 12 to $6,275,861 in FY 13 while expenditures increased from $6,224,896 to $6,436,917. The solvency rate is very good, 21.7%. Target range is 5% to 15%. The dollar amount of property tax generated by the general fund was $2,610,371. The board acknowledged the first reading of Series 800 – Buildings and Sites and Series 900 – Community Relations board policies. Two temporary summer employees will be hired to assist at Gladbrook and Reinbeck. A bid from APS to resand and stain the high school gym floor for $15,900 was accepted. The bid from D & W Flooring was accepted to replace the high school stair treads and the landing area. Artisan Ceiling Systems was awarded the bid to remove and dispose of existing acoustical ceilings at the high school which includes work on the top floor and the office level classrooms. Gladbrook Campus Principal Brian Williams updated the board on a 3-year proficiency trend for Iowa Assessments. District wide math scores increased 4% and reading increased by 10%. Since implementing an intensive reading program, Second Chance Reading, at the middle school last fall 23 out of 24 students have grown more than a year on their Iowa Assessments and some have made a 2-year growth. Fifteen out of 24 students have made the proficient mark and were exited from the program. Williams thanked his staff for the work they have done to help students. The format for the spring parent/teacher conferences will be different for a student on the D or F list. Those conferences will be scheduled on the first conference day with the grade level team. This will allow parents to talk with all teachers instead of their homeroom teacher. For those students performing well, parents will have the opportunity to visit with teachers in a non-scheduled setting in the gymnasium during the second conference day. Gladbrook elementary will continue to schedule conferences with parents. Reinbeck campus Principal Matt Leeman said he continues to work on scheduling for FY 14/15 and has met with high school principals from the CVW to discuss the Western Outreach Center next year. As of now, the same courses will be offered again next year. Leeman along with Williams met with elementary principals from Grundy Center and A-P to discuss what areas of need/focus each of their schools will have at the elementary level. G-R will have a strong focus on mathematics and GC and A-P will focus more on literacy. Under the consent agenda, a contract was offered to John Dinsdale for Assistant Boys’ Soccer Coach. The budget hearing was scheduled for April 2nd, prior to the work session. The next regular meeting will be Thursday, March 19th, at Reinbeck, at 6:30 p.m.



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