Levy down, enrollment up
Thursday, September 26, 2013 10:37 AM
Spring Grove Public School directors set the 2014 "proposed" property tax levy on Monday, Sept. 16. At $542,154, the levy is 2.47 percent less than last year.
Superintendent Rachel Udstuen told the board that the amount represents the maximum allowable under state guidelines. "Out levy is determined by a number of factors," she reminded members. "Those include foundation formula, enrollment, operating referendum, and allocations for health and safety, community education, and Q Comp."
The "certified" levy (which will actually appear on property taxes) will be set at a future meeting. That was done in December last year.
Udstuen reported that enrollment is now 30 students higher than anticipated last spring when the district set a preliminary budget for 2013-14. Kindergarten through third grade is 13 higher, fourth through sixth grade is increased by eight, and grades seven to 12 have grown by nine.
In a related vote, the board unanimously accepted five open enrollment requests. They included Heidi Jo Buxengard of Caledonia (12th grade), Marley and Ezra Sherbon of the same city (fourth and first grades, respectively), and Joseph and Kendall Sullivan of La Crescent. Joseph will be in third grade, while Kendall joins the kindergarten class.
Several contract offers were approved. Kandice Hammel will teach full-time, third and fifth grades. Megan Miller was approved as fall musical director, one-act play director, and speech coach. Jennifer Wedmann will fill a fall opening for a secondary paraprofessional position.
Director Christian Myrah is back in the United States following his posting to Afghanistan, Udstuen reported. Myrah frequently took part in school board meetings by teleconferencing during his recent deployment.
With Main Street closed, the district has set up three bus stops in strategic areas in town to help students get to and from school, Udstuen said. The program has been a resounding success, she added, with far fewer cars trying to make use of somewhat limited access to the building to pick up kids than planners originally feared.
Principal Nancy Gulbranson briefed the board on student and new teacher orientations. Homecoming will be affected by road construction as well, she said.
"I've done this job for 19 years, and for the first time we're not going to go down Main Street for our Homecoming parade..." Gulbranson stated. "We've been talking about it and we've got a plan. We'll actually be working down by the football field and the tour will go from the parking lot past Trollskogen (Park). We'll put all the kids on the hillside, K-12 plus all the community and the full-sized wagons will drive around with all the floats."
The board later approved the 2012-13 annual report on curriculum, instruction, and student performance. The data-packed report delineates testing goals and results for the past few years in science, writing, reading, and math. Directors were told that upon approval, it will be available for viewing in it's entirety on the district website. www.springgrove.k12.mn.us/
Udstuen said that Q Comp district goals will focus on growth in math during the 2013-14 school year. Those goals are for students in grades three to six to meet or exceed their spring to spring individual growth projection on the Northwest Evaluation Association Measure of Academic Performance (NWEA MAP) from 55.3 percent in spring 2013 to 57.8 percent in spring 2014. For grades seven to nine, NWEA MAP measures are to go from 40.3 percent to 43.8 percent during the same timeframe.
The board once again approved an annual grant application to the Minnesota State High School League Foundation to offset student activity fees for those in need.
The purchase of a protective floor mat for the new gymnasium floor was tabled so that Udstuen can meet with other districts and find out what has worked for them. The item would probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $9,000, she said. No bids were revealed for the item, since only two of the three expected have so far been received.
The next meeting of the board will be Monday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m.