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A public hearing on the athletic complex lighting project and details about current enrollment numbers were main items of discussion at the Monday, November 11 meeting of the Mount Ayr Community Schools board of directors.
Due to a new state law, a public hearing was required before the district could use any portion of SAVE (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education) revenue toward the athletic complex lighting project.
Before SAVE funds can be used for other purposes, school districts must ensure all access points to their attendance centers are secure.
During the public hearing, district superintendent Joe Drake reviewed the need for lighting upgrades at the football, baseball, and softball fields, costs of the project (estimated at $710,000), and revenues available to pay for the project.
Electrician Ed Rotert shared with the board pictures he had taken from a boom truck at various existing lighting fixtures in the complex. The pictures revealed leading capacitors, rusting transformers, decaying conductors, and other evidence that the fixtures were nearing the end of their serviceable life.
“It’s not a matter of if the lights will fail but when,” he said. “And they will fail during a game because that’s the time when they are in use.”
At the end of the public hearing at which no one from the public spoke for or against the project, on a 4-1 vote the board approved a resolution to move forward with the project. The lone dissenting vote was cast by board member Craig Winemiller.
The public now has 14 days to gather approximately 100 names on a petition objecting to the project. After that time the project can move forward, with work to begin in the spring at the baseball and softball fields and during the summer at the football field.
Superintendent Drake shared the latest enrollment figures for the 2019-2020 school year.
Mount Ayr recorded modest growth in both certified and served enrollment.
Mount Ayr’s 2019 certified enrollment increased by one student – 608.0 vs. 607.4 – as compared to 2018. Total students being served in Mount Ayr increased from 599.8 in 2018 to 605.8 in 2019.
(Fractional numbers are the result of different funding levels calculated by the state.)
“Certified” students are resident students in each district that generate funding through the state formula. This number would include any student who open enrolls out to a different district.
“Served” students would include resident students minus any open enrolled out students plus any students from other districts who tuition in or open enrolled in. In other words, served students represent a grand total of all students served by each district.
Depending on the number of students who choose to open enroll in or out, a district likely will serve a different number of students from what its certified enrollment indicates.
Drake shared the numbers of students who open enroll in and out of the Mount Ayr district.
In all, Mount Ayr receives 48 students who open enroll into the district but loses 67 who open enroll out.
Of those who open enroll in to attend school in Mount Ayr, 17 come from Diagonal, 10 come from Central Decatur, eight come from Bedford, six come from East Union, five come from Lenox, and one each come from Creston and Lamoni.
Of the Mount Ayr resident students who enroll out to other districts, 20 go to Lamoni, 19 go to Lenox, 17 go to Diagonal, seven go to East Union, and one each go to CAM (Cumberland, Anita, Massena), Central Decatur, Creston, and Clayton Ridge in Guttenburg. The CAM and Clayton Ridge students are enrolled in online high school programs.
In addition, a total of nine students pay tuition to attend classes in Mount Ayr while only one Mount Ayr student pays tuition to attend classes elsewhere. The majority of these students require special services.
In other business the board:
• received results from last year’s Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress at both the elementary and middle/high school. It was reported Mount Ayr students performed above state averages in all areas except seventh grade English/language arts.
The tests were administered last spring.
(See chart on front page.)
• renewed the early notification retirement policy for classified and non-classified staff.
• approved an early graduation request from Alexis Main.
• accepted the resignations of Heidi Allbaugh as an instructional aide, Melissa Shields as middle school volleyball coach and Amy Shields as middle school girls basketball coach.
The board voted to hire Sarah Clark as middle school girls basketball coach.
• approved the purchase of a pre-owned 2018 Chevy Malibu from Glendenning Motors in Mount Ayr at a cost of $17,900.
• approved an out-of-state trip for the high school choir to attend a production of “Les Miserable” at the Orpheum Theater in Omaha.