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Weekly Update: February 9, 2018

Superintendent Dr. Janet Stutz
 
Weekly Update: February 9, 2018
 
Dear Board of Education, Staff, Families and Friends,
 
Whew- we were fortunate to have the snow miss Grinnell today.  Please know that in the event of a delay or cancellation, I will be sending out a voice reach to all of our families and staff.   During these snow events, please allow yourself plenty of extra travel time to get to school.   Once I hear notification that our buses are good to go, and our maintenance crew is ready at each school, then I know that Grinnell can be on time for students.  
 
Grinnell-Newburg School District Bond Results and Next Steps:
I would like to thank all of our families, staff and community members for heading to the polls this past Tuesday.  Although the bond did not pass with a 60% +1, it was evident that a simple majority of the community is in favor of our new plan.  The bond did not pass by 214 votes.  Please know that I will be making a recommendation to the board to go to the polls again later in the year with the same plan and the same ballot questions.  It is what our district needs: a PreK-5 new elementary school, completely gut and renovate the middle school, and renovate parts of the high school.   Currently, the district does not have funds to fix all 5 of our schools major systems such as HVAC, electrical, and plumbing.    
 
It is evident that I have some work to do to clarify the two question ballot such as what does $2.60 next increase mean for taxpayers when the ballot stated $2.70?  What does the $4.05 mean?  Please know that currently we have zero debt.  By raising the debt levy to $4.05 in two steps, the first question on the ballot for the project allowable under the law, $2.70, and the second question to raise it to $4.05, if both questions pass the district has the ability to access the necessary bond capacity to do all of the work that necessary.  Once we have this authority, the district will lower other parts of the levy by $1.45, resulting in the $2.60 net tax increase.  I am working on a graph to that will help our community to see a visual.  I hope this will help.    
 
I will be meeting with our Board of Education to discuss timeline for the next bond vote.  The district is required, under the law, to wait six months before bringing this back to our voters.  I look forward to the continued work with our community.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.   

 
Board Meeting February 14, 2018:
There will be a regularly scheduled Board meeting next Wednesday at 6:00 PM at the high school in the boardroom.  There are recommendations to the Board for approving Clayton Harrold, middle school principal beginning the 2018-19 school year, the 2018-19 calendar, above and beyond recognitions, and the recognition of our GHS Band for being selected to perform at the Iowa Bandmasters Association Conference in May.  
 
The 2018-19 school calendar has had some tweaks since the last Board meeting.  In order for all of our students and staff to complete the school year by May of 2019, we have scheduled the start of school for students on August 22, 2018. We have also added Martin Luther King Day as a Holiday to the calendar.  
 
The August 22 start date for students is tentative pending legislation change.  We are anticipating that the legislators will adjust the law to state that districts may begin school following the state fair rather than a hard date of August 23.  If this is not approved then we will adjust the September PD day to be a student day. We will keep you posted.  
 
There will be a recommendation for our overall Full Time Employees (FTE) for next school year.  Please know that our FTE will see an overall increase of .5 in the regular education budget.  There will be some shuffling throughout the district to accommodate enrollment at various grade levels, however at this time there are no additional reductions as recommended from last year’s plan.  Building principals will be working with their staff regarding staffing needs at each building.  
 
 
Congratulations to Claire Baechtel!
Congratulations to 8th grader Claire Baechtel, who wrote several poems for her language arts class, and then submitted them to the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing contest.  Claire will be recognized for her poetry writing at the University of Iowa on March 10th. She received a Silver Key award for her poem "Audacity, Diffidence and a Decision" and an Honorable Mention for her poem "Ode to Hope".
 
Claire Baechtel, winner of the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Contest

 
Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) Workshop
Aaron Rossini from the New York-based Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) organization conducted a workshop for GHS concert choir students and other arts students on January 26. ASTEP was created to transform the lives of youth using the most powerful tool they had: their art.  It connects performing and visual artists with underserved youth in the U.S. and around the world to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty.  
HS Students participating in an Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) Workshop

 
Upcoming Events: To view more details click to view the full calendar
February 10 - MS Music Contest
February 10 - Large Group Speech Showcase
February 13 - GHS Variety Show
February 19 - No School, Presidents Day
February 23 - Tiger Paws Winter Showcase
March 8-10 - The Little Mermaid Performance
March 26-30 - Spring Break

 
Have a safe and wonderful weekend!
 
Sincerely,
 
Janet