Special Board Meetings
Sept. 23, 30
Oct. 7, Nov. 19
Jan. 6, April 7

Monday, September 23, 2002

The South Hamilton School Board met in special session on Monday evening, September 23. Two agenda items were addressed. The board approved a request from the South Hamilton School District Foundation Board to conduct a fundraising campaign to finance a new mini-grant program to support innovative teaching strategies and activities in the classroom and to secure field trip funding for students. 

The board agreed to invite the public to a community meeting on Monday evening, October 7 at 8:00 p.m. in the MS/HS auditorium for the purpose of discussing future educational options for the district. The board desires input and feedback from the community as it explores possible options and develops plans for the future.

The board recessed and traveled to Radcliffe and Hubbard for the purpose of touring the facilities in the Hubbard-Radcliffe School District. A similar tour of the Northeast Hamilton school facilities is set for Monday evening, September 30.

South Hamilton Board Tours NEH
Monday, September 30, 2002

The South Hamilton Board of Directors met in special session on Monday evening, September 30. The board approved a request for a temporary transfer of $10,000 in PPEL funds to the General Fund to pay IPERS for the September payroll.  Supt. John Kinley reported that the district's certified enrollment will be 20 students fewer than a year ago. The board recessed to travel to Blairsburg, where it reconvened and received a tour of the Northeast Hamilton school facilities from Supt. Roark Horn and board president Jan Heiden. The board then returned to Jewell and the district's boardroom and resumed its meeting.

The board discussed plans for its upcoming community meeting to be held next Monday, October 7 at 8:00 p.m. in the MS/HS auditorium. At that time, the board will review the findings and recommendations from the feasibility study received earlier this fall from the state department of education, report on its recent tours of the Hubbard-Radcliffe and Northeast Hamilton school facilities and seek input from the community about the next steps to take in exploring future educational opportunities. The public is encouraged to attend and participate in this dialogue with the board about possible options to consider as the board plans for the future of the district.

Special Board Meeting
Monday, October 7, 2002

Approximately 45 people were in attendance as the South Hamilton School Board of Directors met in special session Monday evening, October 7 in the MS/HS auditorium. Superintendent John Kinley provided an overview of the findings from the Iowa Department of Education's feasibility study completed for the district this past summer. Board president Tom Bell commented on the board's recent tours of the facilities at the Hubbard-Radcliffe and Northeast Hamilton districts.

The board sought input from those in attendance regarding the future steps the board should take in pursuing sharing options with neighboring districts. The board was encouraged to be proactive and to pursue a regional high school program. The possibility of sending students to another district was also discussed and received general support from those in attendance. The board was encouraged to examine many potential options and develop a plan that will expand the program opportunities and best meet the educational needs for all students. The board was also encouraged to work hard to involve all three districts in mutual conversation. It was suggested that community interest and involvement will increase once the board brings a specific proposal forward and parents and community members have the opportunity to respond to those ideas.

The board will discuss the input received at its regular monthly meeting on Monday, October 14.

Special Board Meeting
Tuesday, November 19, 2002

The South Hamilton School Board held a special board meeting on Tuesday evening, November 19. The board members of the Northeast Hamilton and Hubbard-Radcliffe districts were invited to attend. Each district was represented by two board members and its superintendent.

The purpose of the meeting was to present a concept proposal that considered the future educational program for students. The proposal outlined the concept of a whole grade sharing arrangement involving the three districts. The key components of the proposal included:

Creating a Regional High School  (grades 9-12) located at the current South Hamilton MS/HS facility.
Creating a Regional Middle School (grades 7-8) at a location to be determined. Maintaining Grades PreK - 6  in elementary schools in each of the respective districts.

South Hamilton Supt. John Kinley outlined a preliminary timeline for this plan. Planning for the program would occur during the 2003-04 school year with July 1, 2004 serving as the starting date for an initial three-year whole grade sharing agreement to take effect. In doing so, the districts would be eligible to receive supplemental weighting for students for 2004-05 and 2005-06. The proposal also asked the districts to agree to study the issues surrounding reorganization with a goal to successfully complete reorganization by July 1, 2006. That is the current deadline established by the state for financial incentives, including a reduction in the uniform property tax levy for 3 years and eligibility for an additional three years of supplemental weighting for students.

Kinley summarized several reasons or advantages to forming a new regional high school program for the three districts. They included:
* Creates a new 9-12 high school program at one site.
* Provides opportunities to expand, in breadth and depth, academic and extra-curricular opportunities for all students.
* Minimizes (or eliminates) the need for students to travel to other school sites for coursework during the school day, thus resulting in an increase of student time in school.
* Makes excellent use of existing facilities and school sites. No new construction would be needed for any of the identified components. More than adequate space exists at the present South Hamilton MS/HS to house the 9-12 program.
* Creates a new dynamic for teaching staff at the secondary level, building upon the quality, personal strengths and expertise of the teachers within all of the districts, resulting in new opportunities for students and new ideas for the educational program.
* The location/proximity of the three districts to each other is reasonable.
* The backgrounds and interests of the students are similar.

Kinley outlined several other advantages as they pertain to the middle school and elementary components of the proposal. The regional middle school could provide a specific program designed to address the developmental needs of early adolescents. The program could be located in an educational space dedicated to supporting the student learning experiences appropriate for this age group. Program opportunities could include expanding the academic and exploratory course offerings for students as well as the co-curricular program to include activities such as drama, mock trial, publications, etc. The reorganization of staff assignments could provide for improved efficiencies and potential expansion of exploratory course offerings for middle school age students.

A middle school program could establish multiple athletic teams and/or intramural program to promote student participation and skill development.  Social interaction opportunities for students that are age-appropriate would be promoted. Students would be able to get to know each other and build relationships in the years prior to entering high school.

In this proposal, the PreK-6 educational programs would remain in each resident district, thereby maintaining the identity of each district and keeping the younger students closer to home. All schools (preK-12) would be located in a community where emergency and other support services would be available.
Kinley noted that the collective strengths and assets of the three districts would be powerful. Those assets include a strong commitment by all three districts to providing quality educational opportunities for all students and to encouraging a high level of student participation in a wide variety of academic, athletic and fine arts programs.

Enrollments for a 9-12 high school and a 7-8 middle school, beginning in the fall off 2004 and based on the current student enrollment figures from the three districts in grade 5-10 this school year, were projected to reflect a high school enrollment of 486 students and a 7-8 grade enrollment of 225 students. These figures do not reflect potential gains/losses due to family transitions, open enrollment requests or other reasons.

Kinley explained that the proposal did not include many details as many questions would need to be addressed through mutual discussion. He indicated that the financial terms of such an agreement would need to be negotiated to insure that the educational and transportation costs for such a program would be adequately provided through the resources of the three districts. He suggested that during whole grade sharing, the school name should be reflective of all three schools. Kinley also indicated that the current debt on the South Hamilton Elementary School would not be the responsibility of the patrons of the other two districts as their students would not be attending classes in that facility and would not derive any direct benefit from it.

The representatives of the two boards will now return to their respective districts and discuss the proposal as a full board before responding to South Hamilton.

Special Board Meeting
January 6, 2003

The South Hamilton Board of Education held a special meeting on January 6, 2003.
The board held a public hearing on its recently adopted resolution to consider continued participation in an instructional support program.

At the conclusion of the public hearing, the board unanimously approved a resolution to continue the instructional support program for an additional five-year period. The instructional support program has been in effect in the district since 1991. The Board's adopted resolution would increase the funding rate from 3% to no more than 4% of the regular program district cost. The increase will generate approximately $30,000 for any general fund purpose and will help to offset the elimination of state technology funds that was implemented this year.

In other business, the board heard a presentation from Jolene Hibbing from the Hamilton County Public Health Department on a human growth and development curriculum entitled No Apologies that is available through the County Public Health office. The curriculum focuses on abstinence and would be presented in a series of three class sessions. The target audience would include middle school age students. The board took no action on the curriculum proposal. It will be placed on the January 13 board agenda for action.

The board received the 2002 district audit report and will review it at the January 13 meeting.

The board held a brief negotiations strategy session at the conclusion of the meeting.

Special Board Meeting
April 7, 2003

 Held a public hearing on the proposed district budget for 2003-04 and a proposed amendment to the 2002-03 Certified Budget. Hearing no objections, the board approved the 2003-04 budget and the amendment to the current budget.
Approved the following recommendations for employment:

  • Jennifer White: middle/high school science teacher and high school cheerleading sponsor
  • Kecia Goodman: middle/high school science teacher
  • Gary Gorman: junior high softball coach
  • Kelly Wirtz and Sam Hake: part-time assistant high school softball coaches.
  • Tracy Chandler and Dawn Chally were approved as volunteer softball coaches.
Activities director Todd Coy reviewed the implementation of the 7th grade athletic season schedule this past winter with the board. He shared feedback from the coaching staff, discussed the district's philosophy on participation, and outlined concerns that emerged throughout the season. Mr. Coy reviewed a proposed schedule for 2003-04 that makes some adjustments, including allowing 7th grade boy's basketball to begin earlier than this past year. The board approved the continuation of the program with adjustments/refinements to be made based on the Mr. Coy's recommendations. 

Approved a request from girls basketball coach Kathi Fisher to host a Sunday night summer basketball league at South Hamilton this June. Six schools will participate in the league that will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Sunday nights during the month of June.

Approved the nomination of the nine state individual speech contestants for Board Recognition Awards. Those students are Ellen Wagner, Ross Schumaker, Afton Holt, Lynsey Carlson, Val Krumm, Matt Sigmund, Rachel Krumm, Ariana Wolf, and Jodi Petrie.

Received a report from elementary principal Paul Hemphill regarding projected elementary school enrollment for 2003-04. From a high enrollment of 412 students a few years ago, enrollment has dropped to a current level of 367 students. Projected enrollment in grades K-6 for next fall is 343 students. After discussion, the board directed the administration to proceed with the reduction of two certified staff positions due to declining enrollment and budgetary considerations.

The board set Friday, April 18 as the make-up date for the snow vacation day that occurred on Monday. School will be dismissed 2 hours early on April 18.

The board directed the administration to address parking concerns near the athletic complex and to develop plans to direct parking to the available lots and minimize traffic and congestion near the track and ball fields. Parking near the fields will be reserved for those fans requiring handicap accessibility to the facilities.

The board discussed an inquiry from the Hubbard-Radcliffe board to explore any interest in the possibility of sharing the position of superintendent between districts. The board indicated a willingness to further explore and discuss this possibility with the Hubbard-Radcliffe board.