G-R School Board By Marcy Knaack-G-R Special Meeting
March 14, 2014
Tuesday evening staff members, students and community members attended the special meeting of the Gladbrook-Reinbeck School Board to hear what action the board was going to take on additional cuts to their budget for 2014-15. Cuts being considered were reducing .5 FTE Agriculture, .5 FTE Industrial Technology and .5 FTE Foreign Language positions, with a savings of approximately $73,000. Sally Lennard, high school Spanish instructor said that this year 61% of the students were enrolled in a Spanish class. Several former FFA students spoke on behalf of the agriculture program at G-R and how it has impacted their life and felt strongly about keeping a full time ag instructor. After much discussion, it was the consensus of the board to not take action on these cuts. At their February meeting the board made approximately $250,000 cuts in the 2014-15 budget by eliminating staff positions. Supt. Shawn Holloway explained that enrollment has been down 2.5% every year for the past 10-12 years. He is basing the 2014-15 budget on a stable enrollment. The budget is based on 601.5 students with each student being worth $6,200. The district does not have a cash problem but a problem with spending authority and by the year 2016 the district could have a negative spending authority which is not acceptable by the State Department of Education. The board gave Supt. Holloway the authority to advertise for a Director of Dropout Prevention and Dean of Students. Modified allowable growth money would be used to fund this position. High School Principal Matt Leeman said G-R has a 92% graduation rate. Last year nine students dropped out of school and this year there could possibly be 4 students. The individual hired for this position would have guidance from the building level principals and would serve as an instructional leader that builds and maintains a positive and safe school climate where all students are successful. This director position oversees all guidance counselors, and at-risk associates. Supt. Holloway made some changes to the 2014-15 calendar which now has a full day of professional development each month rather than two half days, thus saving money by eliminating bus routes for a day and cook and food expenses. Holloway said students will be in school less days than previous years, but will be in school for more “full” days. This calendar option currently provides more hours of school when compared to the 2013-14 year calendar. At the work session that followed the special meeting, the board voted to not hire anyone for the 2nd grade position that was vacated by Kayla Benda at the February meeting when she resigned. Holloway gave the following number projections for K, 1st and 2nd grade for 2014-15. Kindergarten – 18 at Gladbrook and 33 at Reinbeck; 1st – 14 at Gladbrook and 26 and Reinbeck; 2nd – 15 at Gladbrook and 19 at Reinbeck. Holloway asked the board what the magical number was as to when to split a class. The board recommended that parents be given an option to transfer their student to another attendance center to even out the class size. This option will be discussed at Parent-Teacher Conferences and at Kindergarten roundup. Holloway outlined the procedures to be followed for termination documents for the positions that were terminated in February. Also discussed was the organization of future administration but the board did not feel it was feasible at this time to make any changes. The board said they would favor going along with building improvements for those projects that have already been approved but to only address maintenance and safety issues for the remainder of the summer.
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