NORTH CRAWFORD - There was a lot of business taken up by the North Crawford School Board at their meeting on Thursday, Oct. 26. After waiting on the state legislature to adopt a biennial budget and confirm state aid amounts for local school districts, district staff were more than prepared to get the budget and tax levy passed, and get on with the school year.
Business Manger Demetri Andrews explained to the board about how amounts of state aid and property taxes work together to fund the school district.
Andrews pointed out that at the School District Annual Meeting the prior month, they were predicting the total levy to be $1,777,857 (0.56 percent increase over 2016- 17).
He said that after getting the September 2017 enrollment count, and the final numbers for 2017 state equalized aid, the actual total levy is now $1,866,991 (5.6 percent increase over 2016-17).
Andrews explained that the district’s equalized aid was less than predicted at the annual meeting and the district saw an increase in September 2017 enrollment. The district’s full time equivalency (FTE) of students, which is a three-year average, rose by 8 FTEs this year. The combination of more students and less state aid, results in an increase in the total tax levy for 2017-18. The total Mil Rate is 9.31, compared to 9.13 last year, an increase of 18 cents.
The Board went on to approve a final budget with the following changes since the September 2017 annual meeting:
Increase in the Fund 10 (general fund) levy due to an increase in district enrollment and lower state aid (+ $88,134)
Sparsity Aid actual amount is $3,180 higher than expected
Rural Education Initiative Grant funding $9,617 higher than expected
State High Poverty Aid actual funding $7,493 higher than expected
SAGE Program Aid estimated funding $21,214 higher than expected
Per Pupil Aid actual funding $3,600 higher than expected
Leasing the Dell Server over 3 years at 0% interest saves $24,000
Hiring an additional special education paraprofessional due to an increase of 10 new students with IEPssince school started ($45,000 increased expense estimated).
Andrews explained that at the annual meeting, the district had projected to see a general fund loss of -$160,859. Due to increases in several revenue areas, they are now projecting a lower general fund loss of $67,506.
School Board goals
The board also went on to approve North Crawford School District 2017-18 School Board Goals:
1. During the 2017-18 school year, the North Crawford School Board will continue to work towards PK-12 Curriculum alignment, by supporting the implementation of the K-5 Reading Curriculum. The Board will examine baseline, mid-year, and end-of-year assessment data to determine growth.
2. During the 2017-18 school year, the North Crawford School Board will continue to refine our current facilities and maintenance long-range plan. The Board will continue to prioritize district needs, determine their placement in the plan, and account for the financial obligations that accompany those needs.
3. During the 2017-18 school year, the North Crawford School Board will assist in the planning and implementation of Community Engagement Sessions two times during the school year. The Board and Administration will utilize community feedback towards the initial development stages of a district strategic plan.
Goals were also presented by Elementary and Special Education Principal Julie Kruizenga, and Middle/High School Principal Toby Tripalin.
Empower families and the community to be full partners in students’ educational success by providing opportunities for families to support their children in the learning process; and communicating effectively with families and the community regarding school activities and volunteer opportunities;
Improve student learning and preparation for the future through technology-enriched programs and experience;
Improve student learning and student performance for all students as measured by multiple and varied assessements.
Middle School goals
Build a community and culture of empathy and acceptance with middle school students;
Strengthen usage of Standards Based Grading to fuel instruction in the middle school.
High School goals
Utilize homeroom, where one teacher will follow students through all four years of high school, to build relationships through guided conversations and project based activities;
Implement a comprehensive Academic and Career Plan for high school students by the end of the school year, and for upcoming years for underclassmen, to include college and career planning;
Effectively utilize data to inform instruction and make educational decisions based on data inquiries and academic conversations with teaching colleagues during early release sessions;
Principal Kruizenga reported that participation in parent teacher conferences had been stellar – at 90-100 percent. She reported that elementary teachers have expressed interest in an initiative to make report cards more user-friendly for parents.
She reported that her team has reviewed SEEDS, a special education software application that was written by special education teachers. She said that with the software, it will take staff half as much time to write IEPs, and that the staff enjoyed using it.
Principal Tripalin reported that one focus for the year will be to reach out to community leaders for more activities options outside of the school.
He reported that on November 15, five students from each grade will attend a leadership in sportsmanship conference in De Soto. He hopes to obtain the ‘student perspective of things’ through the process.
Last, he reported that fall sports are wrapping up. He commended the football team for playing a good last game against what he characterized as a ‘really good team.’ He commended the volleyball team for playing a good season, and congratulated freshman Helen Karstens for her win at the cross county sectional meet in Fennimore, wishing her well at the upcoming state competetion.
Superintendent Brandon Munson reported that Holly Jones has been hard at work with elementary staff, helping them adjust to use of the new Journeys reading curriculum. He said it had been a very time consuming project for Jones, but that teachers were ‘beginning to settle in.’ Munson reported that Jones’ next big project will be the K-12 Curriculum Map.
Munson worked with board members to put plans in place for the first of two community engagement sessions to be held this school year. The sessions are included in the goals the board adopted at the meeting, and are intended to help guide the district in a strategic planning process.
The board decided to hold the first session in January. Each board member will suggest 10 names of community members to be invited to the session, with expected total attendance of between 70-80 people.
Resignations and hires
Superintendent Munson reported three staff resignations to the board: busdriver Eric Stein who accepted full time employment outside the district; Angela Visgar, special education paraprofessional; and Kyle Oldenburg in his role as junior varsity basketball coach.
Munson also sought approval for two new hires – both in the special education paraprofessional area to replace Angela Visgar. They are hiring two individuals to reflect the increased special education case load for the current school year. The new hires approve are for Erin Sanders and Jaclyn Pettit.
Munson also sought and obtained approval for hiring of winter sports coaching staff:
Boys basketball: Chris Wettstein will be head coach, and Dominic McCormick will be his assistant; Jeremy Fradette will be the middle school head coach, and an assistant coach is being sought;
Girls basketball: Mike Allbaugh will be head coach, and is assistant coach will be Michael DiPadova. Ritch Stevenson will be the middle school coach, assisted by Tyler Patzner; Brian Thaldorf will serve as a volunteer.
Wrestling: Eric Hady will serve as head coach, assisted by Adam Hady; Russ Torgerson will coach the middle school team; Tyler Finnell will serve as a volunteer.
In other business, the board:
Heard a report from Jim Chellevold about the newly formed North Crawford Trapshooting team, and approved a $500 donation to help get the club off the ground. The club has averaged 20 students per week participation for fall shooting season;
Approved a cooperative transportation agreement with Seneca School District to transport students to New Frontier in Prairie du Chien;
Approved the 8th grade field trip to Washington DC.