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Weekly Update: February 3, 2017
Dear Board of Education, Family and Friends of the Grinnell-Newburg School District:
Earlier today, I sent this information to our staff in which the Union Leadership and I collaborated authored to hopefully clear up the budget shifts and its purpose.
This document is to explain the way budget reductions were approached and clarify what that means for each building.
  1. Reduce the budget for next year by $500,000.
  2. Prevent staff members from being pink slipped.
  3. Maintain as many programs and courses as possible.
  1. FTE at each building was documented. A teacher to student ratio needed to be considered to provide adequate staff at each level. Table 1 shows the current FTE at each building and the board approved FTE for next year. There will be less staff members across the board; however, the high school and the middle school have the biggest impact since their teacher to student ratios were lower.  (less students per teacher)
  2. Gaps that need to be filled were identified by the administrative team.
  3. A list of “openings” were posted January 26 to provide staff with the opportunity to voluntarily transfer. These positions were posted internally only. Some of these positions are for shifting purposes only and not “openings” for hire. To meet the 2nd goal of preventing staff members from being pink slipped, some staff members will need to shift positions to help cover areas that will not be rehired due to retirements. Refer to Table 2 for how some positions will be shifted in the district. Further explanation follows Table 2.
Table 1: FTE/Building (A more detailed table can be found here.)
FTE 2016-2017
FTE 2017-2018
Change in FTE
High School 71.6
Middle School
+ 0.2
Bailey Park

Table 2: Shift In Positions

Shifting to fill a retired position
High School
2 Core Teachers (Retirements)
.3 Spanish
.1 Library
.5 less course offerings due to course requests

Increase to full time Para for Library 

Middle School
1 Core (Transfer to Davis)
.5 Music (Shift to Bailey Park)
.5 PE (Shift to elementary)
.1 Library
.9 Spanish (HS Shared and ELL)
Increase to full time Para at Library
.2 PE
PE Classroom Teacher
(Shift from GMS)
.2 PE
PE classroom shift from GMS
Bailey Park
1 Core Teacher (Bailey Park)
.2 PE
.5 Music (GMS)
1st grade moves to 2nd grade
- - -

Shifting positions does not cover all the openings caused by retirements. These positions will be hired as need to replace positions.

  1. 1 High School Science Teacher (This will depend upon certification and requirements and two staff members may be hired to cover Chemistry and Physics).
  2. 1 Davis Teacher
Some of the posted positions listed last week are to give teachers a chance to voluntarily transfer where there is a shift in assignments. The postings were for “transfers” only. For example, the .5 music position will be filled by a middle school teacher in the music department. Of the GMS music teaching staff, one will be involuntarily assigned to the .5 BP music, if someone does not voluntarily choose to take it. Another example is the Davis opening. A middle school teacher can request to voluntarily transfer to Davis. If there isn’t a voluntary transfer to Davis, then an involuntary move will be made.
Please note that involuntary transfers do not have to occur before June 1. However, every effort will be made to inform teachers by March 1, 2017.  Involuntary transfers are not based on seniority. Seniority lists are for reduction only and not for involuntary transfers.
Here is a part of the contract that details involuntary transfers.

The district is waiting for the approval of the at risk state funding grant that will provide additional services for at-risk students. This funding would impact our district in the following ways.
In addition to the social worker, an elementary counselor/ success coach for Elementary.  
Attendance liaison and family engagement specialist for elementary and middle school grades.
Secondary school social worker.
Supplemental reading at middle school.
Please let us know if you have questions or concerns regarding the shifts that have occurred.   We are happy to assist you.
Janet and Allison
Allison Pease, Union President
Janet Stutz, District Superintendent

Advocacy Action of the Week & Update on Supplemental State Aid for Fiscal Year 2018
This past week 160 superintendents across the State had an opportunity to discuss educational concerns as we advocated for our students and staff with area legislators.   It was tough to learn that the Senate approved a 1.11 percent increase in supplemental state aid. According to SAI, “while this rate is far below the 2 percent recommended by Governor Branstad, legislators are considering a “total package” approach to funding. That approach is looking at other K-12 funding priorities, such as equity issues, to provide total spending of nearly $78 million; the amount in the Governor’s budget with the 2 percent SSA recommendation.”  With that said, I learned that FY 2018 will be the 7th out of 8 years in which the cost per pupil was set lower than the cost of doing business.   
I recognize that is disheartening.  Although this is not a done deal, many shared that this will more than likely be the reality.  Once again, PK-12 schools are not being funded as we had hoped for this school year.  The bottom line is that although it appears the State should have more to give, I learned that it is not possible due to their spending authority.  This will impact us now and into the future.  It is my belief that the time has come in which we must work with our legislators to discuss options regarding our revenues.  Although difficult, I am grateful that PK-12 was not cut in the de-appropriations for FY17, and that they are working on education funding now to meet the 30-day deadline for FY18, so we are able to plan.  It is my hope that we will be able to find some funding flexibility to meet the needs of our students now and into the future, and that every dollar that is invested in education nets a return on investment, our students.  
For more information and how you could hold a leadership role in advocating for our students please visit: http://parentsforgreatiowaschools.com/
Upcoming Board meeting
At the February 8, 2017 board meeting, the board will be asked to review and approve select policies regarding class sizes, fundraisers, etc.  Additionally, the board will be asked to approve an edit regarding the extension date on the Project Lead the Way signed agreement from 12/31/16 to 4/30/17.   Please remember to submit Above and Beyond recognitions for students, community members or staff:  aboveandbeyond@grinnell-k12.org
ESTES findings
The report from Estes Construction is available upon request at the District office.  It will be posted on the District website, and in the high school library, after a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) has been submitted, so as not to provide an advantage to any particular architectural firm, but to allow for fair and equal submissions from architects interested in submitting RFQ’s.  
Meningitis Vaccine
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Bureau of Immunization, has completed the the law to require meningococcal (A, C, W, Y) vaccine for students enrolling in 7th and 12th grades.  The law change was effective January 11, 2017, and will be implemented at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.  The Immunization Program has developed a variety of materials regarding the new requirement.  See the following attachments for more information.  School Requirement Q&A  Partner Letter
Virtual Backpack:
Check out new posts:
  • Send your teacher a special note on Valentine’s Day: sponsored by Grinnell-Newburg Foundation
  • SEG is sponsoring a pie contest and Dr. Stutz is a judge!  Make your favorite pies x 2 and see if you have the best tasting pie of the bunch
  • After Prom
  • Free Dental Clinic information
  • Americorp partnership opportunities
  • Arts Center Spring Catalog
  • Drake Library Teen Advisory Group
And much more!   Thank you to our Grinnell Community for hosting some wonderful events and activities for our students.  
Important Upcoming Events:
  • Little Hawkeye Conference Honor Band @ Grinnell HS, Feb. 6th
  • Tuesday, April 11, Davis Elementary Music Program
  • Thursday, April 13, Bailey Park spring music program
  • February 17 - Kindergarten to Civic Center
  • February 14 - Valentine’s Day parties
  • February 23 - Connected Family Night at Fairview
  • March 6 - Kindergarten registration
Have a great weekend!  
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