Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

November 22, 2013

Twin Cedars board discusses required days vs. required hours

The Journal Express

---- — The Twin Cedars School Board met in regular session Monday night, Nov. 11, and one of the topics discussed, but not acted upon, centered upon the 2014-15 school calendar. Legslation passed earlier this year now allows school districts to choose to be in session for 180 days or 1,080 hours.

“I think ‘minutes’ is way better simply for the flexibility it gives you in scheduling,” Superintendent Brian VanderSluis told the Journal-Express.

According to the new legislation, which goes into effect July 1, 2014, a school day will still equal six hours. There will be no waivers for districts, in regard to the number of hours. If a district chooses 1,080 hours of instruction per year, over the 180 days, that amount of time must be spent on instruction.

An informational summary document, provided by the Iowa Department of Education, accompanies this article online at VanderSluis intends to provide more documentation on the pros and cons of each scheduling option for discussion at future meetings. Districts are expected to submit their decisions and calendar requests to the state by March 1, 2014.

In other school board action, the board voted to purchase a 2014 Thomas, 65-passenger bus for $81,361. One of the district’s route buses blew a motor and a backup bus has been in use. VanderSluis presented the board with three options. This decision will make the new bus an activity bus and the current activity bus will be used for a route.

The district’s buses were also recently inspected. The inspection was perfect.

Other board notes:

• Kim Roby shared some results from the Annual Progress Report. The complete report can be found on the school website.

• VanderSluis reported that the Parent Teacher Conferences were well attended at the elementary school. The sixth grade held a Veterans Day celebration on Friday, Nov. 8. They did a nice job with this. The Christmas concert for elementary will be Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. All grades K-6 will perform in the high school gym. 7-12 will be the same night at 5:30. A snow date has been set for Dec. 19.

• The Department of Education site visit went well. A full report should be received in 4-6 weeks. There were a few issues that were found to be noncompliant but were corrected immediately. There wasn’t anything that seemed to be major issues. The district audit is complete and a complete report should be available after the first of the year.

• Director Gilkerson made a motion to approve Allowable Growth Request for Open Enrollment Out on Fall 2013 Certified Enrollment in the amount of $54,609. Supported by Director Carlson. Motion carried unanimously.

• The next Board Meeting will be Monday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m.