Public Meeting Minutes: March 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM - Work Session and Regular Meeting of the Board of Education

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March 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM - Work Session and Regular Meeting of the Board of Education Minutes

March 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM - Work Session and Regular Meeting of the Board of Education
I. Listening Session
II. Call to Oder - Work Session
III. Board Work Session
III.A. Columbus Middle School Presentation
Discussion:  Columbus Middle School Principal Amy Haynes introduced herself and talked about her first year as principal. Teachers use very innovative teaching styles and strategies. Haynes said they are starting to see improvement and are tracking data. From the data, they are developing SMART goals and making changes to help students. Ninety-seven percent of students are in attendance at CMS every day. Assistant Principal Jordon Anderson said there has been a decrease in referrals for lunch violations. He attributes a lot of this to a change that allows students to sit where they want at lunch and allowing students to walk outside after eating lunch. Anderson said the staff is also more visible in the cafeteria. Classroom behavior problems have also dropped. Anderson said there is a lot more communication with parents. He said at the beginning of the year, Sandi Seckel presented the Boys Town Model, Well Managed Classrooms. Anderson said the administration is trying many things to reduce discipline issues. Haynes said overall students and parent satisfaction is high. NeSA is one data point that drives decisions. Last year, 88% of seventh graders were reading at proficiency, which is very good, but other areas need to see some growth. She said the writing scores have seen some growth. In language arts, the teachers have not made many changes because it is working. They do focus on direct vocabulary instruction; improving the traits of ideas in writing; and improving collaboration and common assessments. In vocabulary, Anita Archer strategies are used. The writing is now tighter than in the past. Students are scored by a group of middle school teachers, similar to how it is scored at the state level. They have been focusing on the process of writing. Math intervention – There are two sections for each grade level with a maximum in the class of 12 students. The MAP and NeSA scores are looked at to see who needs the most help. Each block has two sections, one on targeted activities and another on Thinking Through Math, which is done on a computer. In the targeted activities, the teacher works on specific skills. A lot of what is done is game based because students seem to learn better and are more engaged. The Thinking Through Math has an online teacher to help with questions. To exit the math skills program, students must have three data points fromSTAR Math tests that are at or above grade level. There are also some new math interventions being done during anchor time. The intervention is based off the NWEA data. The teachers are starting to close the gaps. They are ranking students from the lowest to highest and looking at the lowest ranking students to see what interventions can be done. The teachers are digging deeper into the MAP data and breaking it apart to see what strand students are struggling on the most. Each time a math intervention is done, one of the low strands is focused on, and the students struggling in that area get extra help. Some interventions by sixth grade teachers are creating a rap on how to divide long division. The seventh grade did a dice activity where a game was played and students had the opportunity to practice negatives. The teachers also try to bring in projects that have real life application in terms of math. Some of these examples are the sixth graders building bridges and having to find different types of angles within the bridges. There was also a guest speaker from ADM who brought in blueprints to show the students what he was working on at work. In this situation, the teacher was able to cover 11 math standards in one lesson. The SMART goals for science have changed. Teachers are still focusing on explicit instruction, but they have also added science vocabulary. Some things that have been done include: word walls are used to help vocabulary, and tracking progress is measured throughout the building. The new SMART goal is for the lowest strand.
III.B. Executive Session
IV. Dinner at ESU7/CPS Student Center, 2563 44th Avenue - No business will be discussed
V. Call to Order - Board Meeting
VI. Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call
VII. Open Meeting Notice of Posted Law
VII.A. President insures that all can hear the proceedings
VIII. Mission Statement
Discussion:  Francis Kuehler read the Mission Statement.
IX. Opportunity For Public To Be Heard
Discussion:  No one spoke to the Board.
X. Recognitions
Discussion:  There were no recognitions.
XI. Consent Agenda
XI.A. Approval of minutes for the meetings of February 17, 2014 and February 27, 2014
XI.B. Certified Personnel
XI.C. Classified Personnel
XI.D. Professional Travel Report
XII. Items removed from the Consent Agenda
Discussion:  No items were removed from the Consent Agenda.
XIII. Financial Reports 2, 3, 4a
Discussion:  Executive Director of Business Operations and Human Relations Dave Melick said there will be 36 people going to the PLC training in Minneapolis and six in the spring to a PLC leadership conference. The cost to do the survey was approximately $18,000.
XIV. Financial Report 4b
XV. Special Administrative Functions
XV.A. Approval of Administrative Salaries and Benefits Package
XV.B. Approval of Classified Salaries and Benefits
Discussion:  This motion does not include the technology department because their salaries are being looked at in a comparability study and an amount will be determined at a later date. The building secretaries and elementary health aids will get a 3.75 percent increase, which include both salary and benefits.
XV.C. Superintendent's Contract Salary, and Benefit Package
Discussion:  Alan Dostal said he appreciates all the energy Dr. Loeffelholz brings to this institution and his willingness to work numerous hours. Theresa Seipel said being a superintendent is a huge time commitment. She said he has put in a lot of time already, and there will be even more with the bond issue. Candy Becher said the amount of time Dr. Loeffelholz puts in is more than almost everybody she knows. Mike Goos said Dr. Loeffelholz is a strong leader who is very passionate about kids. Francis Kuehler said he is glad to get him on board and hopes to keep him in the district a long time. Dostal said good talent is hard to find; and after you find them, you need to keep them and let them do what they do best.
XV.D. Acceptance of Gifts/Donations
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz said every month there is $9,000 to $10,000 being given back to the schools, and this month there was $9,457.43 accepted.
XV.E. Proposed 2015 Close-Up Trip to Washington D.C.
Discussion:  CHS Principal Steven Woodside said each year a group of students go on the Close-Up trip; and since it is out of state, the board must give approval a year in advance. CHS Social Studies teacher Dave Hiebner said the opportunities the students have on this trip are amazing. He said many are first generation people to go to school here and get a chance to see why they came to this country. Heibner said the trip is also good professional development for the teachers as well. He said he uses many things from the trip in his classroom. On the trip that is leaving this year in March, there are 10 students going. He said they expected more kids, but there are several other trips this year including one to Spain. Close-Up is open to juniors and seniors. Heibner said there has never been a student who has gone who has regretted going. There was some money left in the dual credit fund, so this year a middle school teacher is going as well.
XVI. Superintendent's Report
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz thanked the board for their kind words about the job he is going. He said nothing he has done would have been possible if it was not for all the other talented staff members at CPS. Dr. Loeffelholz shared some information with the board regarding the survey results and bond issue. He said the largest concerns about the bond were the $58 million cost and levy increase of 7 cents. He said a group did meet last Thursday to start talking about the campaign. He said there have been 90 names generated, and now the group will be narrowed down to determine the leadership. Another key focus will be finding campaign funds. The schedule is very tight. Dr. Loeffelholz said what he has heard the most from the community is get the bond under $50 million and get the levy rate under 5 cents. He said parents received an information sheet last week about how to figure the taxes to show what the increase will mean. He said there is a web page being develop so people can click to find out how much their taxes will increase. Dr. Loeffelholz said people are concerned about what is being cut from the high school. He said nothing has been cut, but the auditorium will not be as big and will seat only 750 people. Dr. Loeffelholz said he has done a few presentations; and so far, there have been positive responses based on $49,915,000 price tag. He said the average home in the district is $111,754, which would amount to an additional $53.08 a year, $4.42 per month and 15 cents per day. He said as valuations have gone up, this board has lowered levy. Some school districts like Kearney and Lincoln did not lower the levy as valuations went up. Dr. Loeffelholz said this is how they were able to build new schools and make improvements without raising the levy. He said CPS has been responsible by lowering the levy. He said the district is now asking people to agree to a total levy of 18 cents, which is four cents less than 10 years ago. In the past 10 years, CPS has been one of the 10 lowest spending districts in the state in cost per student. He said the district at many times is in the bottom three. The old middle school will be used for administrative offices and preschool classrooms. Dr. Loeffelholz said he would like to double the size of the preschool by moving it into the middle school increasing to eight classrooms. It was decided to leave the 1924 section there for 18-24 months to see if there is any interest in the community for using it. Dr. Loeffelholz said after 18 months, the board must decide what to do. He said by going with a site adapt plan the district was able to save $1.5 million. He said staff and board members visited Elkhorn South High School and Aberdeen Central High School because both were built for a core student body of 1,500. He said CPS has not gone down in enrollment, but it is dropping to Class B because other schools are growing faster. The square footage from the Aberdeen school was used to figure the guaranteed maximum price. Dr. Loeffelholz also said the surveys showed that the STEM Academy belonged at the high school and not at the middle school. Alan Dostal said the board and administration have tried to be thoughtful about this process, and they have learned a lot from last time. He said this is really all about the future of Columbus. The opportunities are good right now because of low interest. Dostal said there is a time to do this, and he thinks it is now. He said he hopes people will see this as an opportunity. Dr. Loeffelholz said a one percent increase in interest will increase the cost of the project by 10 cents.
XVII. Board Sharing
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz thanked the board for their kind words about the job he is going. He said nothing he has done would have been possible if it was not for all the other talented staff members at CPS. Dr. Loeffelholz shared some information with the board regarding the survey results and bond issue. He said the largest concerns about the bond were the $58 million cost and levy increase of 7 cents. He said a group did meet last Thursday to start talking about the campaign. He said there have been 90 names generated, and now the group will be narrowed down to determine the leadership. Another key focus will be finding campaign funds. The schedule is very tight. Dr. Loeffelholz said what he has heard the most from the community is get the bond under $50 million and get the levy rate under 5 cents. He said parents received an information sheet last week about how to figure the taxes to show what the increase will mean. He said there is a web page being develop so people can click to find out how much their taxes will increase. Dr. Loeffelholz said people are concerned about what is being cut from the high school. He said nothing has been cut, but the auditorium will not be as big and will seat only 750 people. Dr. Loeffelholz said he has done a few presentations; and so far, there have been positive responses based on $49,915,000 price tag. He said the average home in the district is $111,754, which would amount to an additional $53.08 a year, $4.42 per month and 15 cents per day. He said as valuations have gone up, this board has lowered levy. Some school districts like Kearney and Lincoln did not lower the levy as valuations went up. Dr. Loeffelholz said this is how they were able to build new schools and make improvements without raising the levy. He said CPS has been responsible by lowering the levy. He said the district is now asking people to agree to a total levy of 18 cents, which is four cents less than 10 years ago. In the past 10 years, CPS has been one of the 10 lowest spending districts in the state in cost per student. He said the district at many times is in the bottom three. The old middle school will be used for administrative offices and preschool classrooms. Dr. Loeffelholz said he would like to double the size of the preschool by moving it into the middle school increasing to eight classrooms. It was decided to leave the 1924 section there for 18-24 months to see if there is any interest in the community for using it. Dr. Loeffelholz said after 18 months, the board must decide what to do. He said by going with a site adapt plan the district was able to save $1.5 million. He said staff and board members visited Elkhorn South High School and Aberdeen Central High School because both were built for a core student body of 1,500. He said CPS has not gone down in enrollment, but it is dropping to Class B because other schools are growing faster. The square footage from the Aberdeen school was used to figure the guaranteed maximum price. Dr. Loeffelholz also said the surveys showed that the STEM Academy belonged at the high school and not at the middle school. Alan Dostal said the board and administration have tried to be thoughtful about this process, and they have learned a lot from last time. He said this is really all about the future of Columbus. The opportunities are good right now because of low interest. Dostal said there is a time to do this, and he thinks it is now. He said he hopes people will see this as an opportunity. Dr. Loeffelholz said a one percent increase in interest will increase the cost of the project by 10 cents.
XVIII. Executive Session
XIX. Adjourn
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