Wills discusses budget with SO school board | Gazette-tribune


SIBLEY — The Sibley-Ocheyedan ​​School District School Board covered a lot of ground in three successive meetings held on November 15th.

State Representative John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) joined the board members for their annual meeting to discuss legislative updates affecting education.

“I think it’s going to be a good year,” Wills said. “Right now we’re about a billion dollars in the dark, and next year we’re forecasting surpluses of another billion dollars. So I think we’re really looking at a good year financially.

Wills, a native of Sibley, noted that the Iowa House of Representatives publishes its annual bill for school expenses during this time of year.

“We are going to follow the law so that all of you can budget and put yourself in a good position to have good financial planning,” he said.

The finalized spending program was an increase of 2.4% over last year.

“There are other priorities that we are looking at as well, so there has to be some give and take,” he said. “In total, we have provided nearly $ 1 billion in new funding over the past 10 years. We have exceeded inflation rates until this year.

Transportation equity, charter schools, education savings accounts, labor shortages, mental health services and funding were other topics of discussion.

Wills has expressed disappointment that with the recent redistribution he will no longer represent Osceola County after next year’s election.

Elementary and secondary school principals Cory Jenness and Stan De Zeeuw provided an update on parent-teacher conferences, interventions and professional development, and were pleased with the participation of the staff who has been so far equal to or greater than 90 percent throughout the year.

Elementary lectures were well attended, with 277 families enrolled out of 294 students, or 92 percent. Participation was 36.7% in middle school and 27.5% in high school. Most parents and staff expressed positive feedback about the planning of the conferences and the possibility of meeting in person.

Jenness recalled that Sibley-Ocheyedan ​​Elementary School ranked 13th out of 614 schools in Iowa, according to US News Education.

Superintendent Jamie Craig reviewed his career development goals, as well as the line item budgeting that has been completed for this year.

Craig also reviewed the district’s financial report. The main takeaways from the document were a credit equity ratio of 2.00, which means the district has $ 2 to pay off every dollar of debt; a 191-day net cash ratio so the district can pay its bills without having to borrow money; a stable salary expense ratio; an unspent balance ratio of 32.8%; and lower tax rates for the fifth consecutive year.

“All of the key metrics are in the green,” Craig said. “Financially, we are very solid.

However, with the number of registrations declining and approximately $ 400,000 in annual ESSER funding ending by fiscal 2025, the board must maintain financial responsibility while budgeting.

Craig read his “Recognition of Excellence,” sharing recent student accomplishments for cross country, all state music, the honor band and the National Honor Society.

The organizational meeting began with the oath of office of newly elected board members Jamie Arend, Greg Atherton and Laurel Klaassen, followed by the re-election by motion of board chairman Kyle Grimes and Atherton as as vice president. Kindra Reiter has been reappointed as secretary and treasurer of the board of directors.

During the regular meeting, Business Instructor Matt Vermeer gave a presentation on literacy on behalf of the Vocational and Technical Education (CTE) team.

He shared their goals and goals, including contributing to a college and career preparation plan, curriculum plans, close reading, Google Classroom, and other goals.

“Something we have different with the CTE area is a curriculum,” Vermeer said. “We don’t have a state-issued curriculum, so the state is forcing us to align with local community colleges and their programs,” he said.

Teachers complete this process every five years. This also qualifies the district for Perkins funding for specialty articles to improve school programs.

Due to the staff training schedule, several changes have been approved for the school schedule. January 3 is now a vacation day and professional development will take place on January 4. Students will resume classes for the first day of the second semester on Wednesday January 5th.

May 13 is now the last day of school for seniors. There will be a one-hour early layoff on May 18, with May 20 now being the students’ last day. May 23 will be a professional development day for staff.

“It all depends on the weather because this year we can’t just do virtual learning for snowy days to make it count,” said Craig.


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