Friday, December 19, 2014

JCC Dec. 19, 2014

Happy Holidays!

District Perspective
Superintendent John Carver  
Office 563 547 2762
Twitter: johnccarver 
SKYPE: johnccarver

Happy Holidays
I am excited to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! As we enter into this special time of year, I encourage you to take a moment to look back and reflect on 2014. For me, excitement, challenges and accomplishments come to mind when thinking about the last 12 months.  

As a school District we provided every child access to a digital device, connected them to the world and inspired innovation and creativity. Along with reading, writing, and arithmetic, 3D printers, coding, robotics, and collaborating globally was added. Howard-Winn moved forward implementing the vision: "to discover, develop and expand passions, creativity and strengths", and the mission: "to prepare and empower our students to think creatively, serve, contribute and succeed locally and globally". Our students and teachers are ROCK STARS!

Knowing that every cycle has a beginning, middle, and an end, lets celebrate and move through the end of the present cycle and run towards the beginning of the next cycle, seeking new opportunities. The future has unlimited potential! 

Happy Holidays!
John Carver, Superintendent  
Howard-Winneshiek Community School District     

Keeping Kids safe
Last Friday, December 12, at approximately 9 a.m., Howard-Winneshiek Community School District was contacted by law enforcement and advised, as a precautionary measure, to go into “Shelter in Place” protocols. The Shelter in Place safety procedures were activated at the Howard-Winneshiek Crestwood Campuses, including at the High School, K-8 facilities and Kessel Kids.

These actions were precautionary with the purpose of keeping students and staff safe as law enforcement conducted business in the neighborhood adjacent to the schools. The event lasted a little over an hour. At 10:40 a.m. the District released an informational statement about the event to media, posted on the web page, Facebook, and Twitter. It is important to remember two things when an event like this happens: 1. parents will not be able to talk to their children during the event.  2. at the conclusion of the event, and law enforcement has given the all clear, the District will issue a statement to patrons via media and social media in regard to the event.  

Monday, December 15 classes were delayed for 2 hours due to fog. District staff begin checking roads around 4 a.m. when weather conditions may be a factor for traveling. Keep in mind the District is 462 square miles. It may be "clear" in part of the District but not throughout. With 1,200+ students and 200+ employees on the road each day, safe travel conditions are a priority.    

Board Work Session: BUDGET 
The Board met in a work session last Monday, December 15 to discuss the Budget and continue the discussion on the direction forward. The bottom line is under current conditions, $750,000 in reductions need to be made. The emerging thinking is that these reductions, if possible, would be spread over two years. Crucial items, out of our control, are Allowable Growth (State Aid) and enrollment. The Legislature sets the Allowable Growth. With enrollment, Howard-Winn is committed to providing the BEST world class education to our students. Parents have the choice as to where to send their kids to school and Howard-Winn wants to be that choice. The challenge is where that can be done with the resources we have. Education and schools in IOWA are approaching the crossroads. 

In keeping with the "bucket concept" and knowing that it is the General Fund that needs to be addressed, the question becomes if $750,000 needs to be cut, where can this come from?
  1. In the General Fund "bucket" from the Non-employee expenditures/Unrestricted is
    $2,416,063 (factoring out the "Open Enrollment out" of roughly $500,000) there is roughly $1,900,000 dollars in which reduction could be made.
  2. in the General Fund "bucket" from the unrestricted salaries and benefits there is $7,862,528 in which reductions could be made.  
  3. Adding the amounts together, there is roughly $9,762,528 from which we need to make reductions/cuts
  4. The other "take-away" is that in 2010-11 we had 220 employees with a student enrollment of 1,384 and in 2014-15 we had 219.5 employees with a student enrollment of 1244.01. My thinking is that if we are down 140 students we should have less staff to serve the kids.
  5. Clint's response to Doug's request to factor out $250,000 in savings from Lime Springs and Elma closing is also interesting. $250,000 is about a third of the amount Gary Sinclair's recommended and does not "move the needle" far enough.  
  6. $500,000 in additional cuts are needed. 
  7. Variables to the equation: Allowable Growth and Enrollment. 
I think it is very important to remember that making cuts/reductions is a process/journey. The first step is where the kids are going to be taught/learn. Next step is what are staff needs to support the mission. Simultaneously to staff needs, what can be shared? 

Actions going forward:
  • Review all staffing needs for the organization.
  • Decide the question to close Lime Springs and completely close Elma. This is something that is "time sensitive" and needs to be decided at the January Board meeting.
  • Items to be worked through AFTER Decision/Ramification of closing: fate of the Preschool in Elma, what to do with the Elma building itself,  Lime Springs pre-school can move into space in day care (of which the District owns the building). What to do with the old Lime Springs building.
  • Meet with Neighboring School Districts for focused conversations on collaboration. Determine who "wants to fish". What can we share?
  • Use the Housing report to recruit families into the region. Housing, jobs, education.  
  • Grow relationships with business and industry. 
  • Visit Central Academy in Des Moines. Could that concept work in NE IOWA?
  • Work to upgrade/deploy BROADBAND! Education Business
Additionally it needs to be said that with any of the buildings we go forward with, construction/remodeling will be needed. The question then becomes: what is the most strategic use of funding for buildings? The bigger question is: what is K-12 education going to look like in IOWA? Schools like Howard-Winn, Turkey Valley, Osage, Charles City, South Winn, rural IOWA, what is the system of education going to look like? We need to gain control of our destiny. We are ALL in this together.  

  • District Advisory Meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday, January 7, 2015
  • Area Board Presidents / Superintendents meeting 9 a.m. Saturday, January 10, 2015 site TBA Focus: CHANGE
  • Howard-Winn School Board Meeting 7 p.m. Monday, January 12, 2015. 
More information and updates will follow!

"Shout OUTS"
  • GOOD LUCK to the Wrestlers as they enter competition in Waterloo! 
  • It was a wonderful evening last weekend at the Madrigal Dinner! IT ROCKED!
  • Check out the 5th grade concert Fantastic Young Musicians! 
  • What EXCITEMENT! CADET Boys and Girls Basketball is ROCKIN! Keep moving forward!
What Learning at HOWARD-WINN looked like this past week! 

Happy Holidays
and we will see you in 2015!

NEXT Regular Update will be published Friday January 9, 2015.

Watch for a "Special Update" Friday, January 2, 2015

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