Wc schoolboard meeting april 7
Wc schoolboard meeting april 7
By Rich Holm
It was the first school board meeting after a successful bond issue vote in which the communities in the West Central school district voted overwhelmingly to build a new $9 million school.
Readers can go to page 5 of today’s issue to see the vote tallies.
On Monday, the West Central school board used the word “awesome,” openly thanking the voters for sharing in their beliefs of giving the West Central kids the best education possible in what will now be the newest facilities in northeastern Iowa.
Plaudits also went to the students, staff, and administration. The WC Class of 2025, this year’s kindergarten class, even wrote letters, as did all students in K-6, as excitement spread throughout the district.
But it was back to business as usual Monday as the board held a public hearing on WC’s 2013-14 school budget. There were no objections.
The new budget is a $6.1 million proposal, which will mean a tax increase of $4.41, up to $14.66, based on a 4 percent allowable-growth increase from the state. Last year’s tax rate was $10.25.
Guidance counselor Steve Milder shared with the board feedback from past graduating classes that gave West Central some high grading marks.
The most impressive returns were from graduates from the past five years; those students were part of the new charter school movement that went into effect in 2006.
West Central allows students to take college credit courses to better prepare the boys and girls for the four-year colleges in which they enrolled.
Milder said, “Prior to being a charter school, students wrote to us saying that they didn’t have a chance to take classes that other students took from other schools who they had met in college.
“Now we don’t hear that anymore. Our students feel they are now better prepared for college with the classes we offer here. Of the 16 students that responded, nine earned BA degrees and another six were presented two-year AA degrees.”
Milder pointed out that technology is up at West Central, and student feedback shows it. Overall, both the school and teaching staff earned a B+ from all the graduates who sent back letters.”
It was also noted that the feedback received from former students was above the state average for similar surveys returned at other schools.
West Central’s charter is up for renewal on May 9, when West Central will send a delegation to Des Moines seeking a seventh charter year.
It was noted that this year’s graduating class of 23 seniors has earned more college credits as a whole than any of the previous five senior classes.
Several members of the senior class were in attendance Monday, seeking board approval for a senior trip to Six Flags near Chicago on May 21-22. There are three teacher chaperones.
Senior class president Cheyanne Nicole Brickman said the total cost for the trip was $1,928. The class has raised $2,490 to cover expenses.
When a board member asked her why the trip was necessary, Brickman got emotional saying it would be the last time the class would be together.
The board unanimously approved the trip with the stipulation that students would sign waivers agreeing that the entire group would make an immediate return to Maynard if any student stepped out of line.
The last senior class trip at West Central was in 2009 when the seniors went to the Wisconsin Dells.
In other action, the board:
• Learned that the West Central football program was chosen to be part of the new football safety film being made by the IHSAA. Filming will be done at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, and two Blue Devil gridders will be participating in that honor.
• Accepted letters of resignation from head boys’ basketball coach Brad Wild and his assistant, David Milder.
• Approved a 3.39 percent increase in employees’ health insurance benefits. The district is under a Wellmark plan with 17 other schools.
• Approved a levy of $7.6 million in general-obligation bonds so bids can be let for the construction of the new school.
• Learned that only eight of the district’s nine school buses are being used. The oldest one only has 109,000 miles. Supt. Fuhs suggested that the district not buy a new bus for next year, but possibly trade in two buses when a new bus is purchased down the road.
• Learned that the spring dinner theater will be held April 19-20 with 100 spots open for each presentation of the play “Death by Dessert.”
• Learned that the school prom will be held on April, 27.
• Learned that the middle school students will be taking a field trip to Des Moines to visit the Capitol and the Hall of Pride.
• Music instructors Melissa Hageman and Stacy Larson addressed the board, asking for a replacement of the department’s 35-year-old acoustical sound shell. The cost is $10,533, but $1,000 of that amount could be saved if the school could pick up the new equipment in Owatonna, Minn. The request was tabled, pending contributions from the West Central Boosters for such a purchase.
• Received a favorable audit report from Keith Oltrogge, CPA, from Denver, Ia. The lengthy report said that the district’s financial statements “are free of material misstatement.”