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Newspaper Archive of
N. Warren Town and County News
Norwalk, Iowa
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January 1, 2015     N. Warren Town and County News
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January 1, 2015
 

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OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER FOR NORWALK COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT ...... LL, (D,I,IP,--,, ,..N 2i7 v%;ET GOTA ST. ....... 985v4-....b.., ,il;,,ii,q,l,l,lli,;iih;iiil,,li,llll"!"l,ll'hl'll!ll'wl I  ..................... Warren Town and County WS Norwalk Warriors Vol. 46 No. 33 Norwalk, Iowa 50211 USPS No. 395-120 Phone 981-0406 email: news@ norwalknewspaper.com Thursday, January 1,2015 ,imm The Director of the Iowa Department of Education sent this letter out to schools at the end of last week. It outlines some changes that may impact Iowa school cal- endars for next year. Norwalk traditionally does not start until after the fair concludes. We have usually asked for a "waiver" to the law to allow a school start after the fair, but prior to September. These "waivers" may be more difficult to obtain as explained in Dr. Buck's letter: Dear Iowa school leaders, In recent years, the Department has received numer- ous complaints from parents and other community members alike about waivers of the school start date law. As such, the Department has reviewed its current practice and will be implementing a new procedure that more accurately reflects the legal authority the Depart- ment has to grant these waiver requests. Effective im- mediately, the Department will no longer automatically gvers of the school start date requested under Iowa Code section 279.10(4) for the 2015-2016 school year. Moving forward, the director or director's desig- nee will only consider a school or school districfs re- quest for a waiver of the school start date if the school or school district has adequately demonstrated that start- ing on or after the earliest start date specified would have a significant negative educational impact. Each request will be individually reviewed and approved or denied by the director or the director's designee. These requests will be considered in light of the new flexibil- ity allowed under the law, which is outlined below. As of July 1, 2014, districts and accredited nonpublic schools have the option to choose between 180 days or 1,080 hours of instruction when setting their school calendars, Iowa Code § 256.7(19). This change in the law has pro- vided new flexibility to schools and school districts to set their school calendars in a manner consistent with the requirements of Iowa Code section 279.10(1) which requires that "school shall begin no sooner than a day during the calendar week in which the first day of Sep- tember falls.., if the first day falls on a Sunday, school may begin on a day during the calendar week which immediately precedes the first day of September." Id. Please plan accordingly for the 2015-2016 school year. The Department will issue guidance on implementation of current law in early 2015. Respectfully, Brad A. Buck Director Norwalk staff will work to better understand the re- quirements as they emerge from the Department of Education in January. Also, I was recently asked by a new SIAC "Legislative Action Subcommittee" regard- ing some needs that I would priorifize as the superin- tendent. I would ask the legislature to consider these immediate needs: 1. Continued support of the State Supplemental fund- ing (formerly known as "allowable growth"). Much conversation occurred at the innovation of the Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) Grant regarding a hope that TLC dollars would not be carved from the "stay alive costs" that schools need each year. Schools still have many obligations to their communities, par- ents and students. We must still buy gas and run trans- portation systems. We must still buy text books and test tubes. Salaries must be paid and we must accommo- date additional staff in the growing communities of .... notes from Dr. Denny Wulf Superintendent of Norwalk Schools Warren County. We hope that state revenues allow a traditional funding of 4% growth to match increasing expenditures. An allocation of 2% growth or less would result in reductions of services for Norwalk students. An interactive map of school districts across America compares the results on state achievement tests to per- pupil spending in schools. Norwalk can be found at https://interactives.americanprogress.org/projects/edu- roi/2011/Main.swf. The results indicate that Norwalk is in the top quadrant of Iowa Schools in Iowa test results and toward the bottom of per-pupil expenditures. In other words, the mathematic ratio identified "Norwalk as a very efficient district. Any expectation that Norwalk can simply become "more efficient" is disputed by the data. Norwalk Schools already have a high return on investment in terms of student achievement. Reduced funding in efficient schools like Norwalk cannot sim- ply be absorbed. Reduced funding will reduce achieve- ment and opportunities. 2. Continued support of the TLC Grants mentioned in #1. Much time and effort has been put into this initia- five. Norwalk was an early innovator in the process and the system holds much promise for increasing student achievement in Norwalk and across Iowa. This year, one third of Iowa schools were granted the TLC dollars. Next year, Carlisle, Indianola and another third of all Iowa students join in the funding. The following year, the remaining Warren County schools will probably receive the benefits of TLC coaches, as will the remaining Iowa schools and students. 3. All school districts suffer from unfunded mandates from the Iowa legislature, Department of Education, federal government and other entities. Discussions should occur at the legislative level about special edu- cation "overages" around the state of Iowa. The Indi- vidual Education Program (IEP) team makes decisions based on the identified needs of each special education student. Fortunately, that system is designed to provide free and appropriate services for each student with spe- Find These Legal Notices Inside This Issue. CITY OF NORWALK • Minutes of December 18, 2014 Meeting NORWALK COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT • Notice of Public Hearing 6 p.m. January 12, 2015 in re: Conveyance of Real Property CITY OF CUMMING • Minutes of December 22, 2014 Meeting WARREN COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT • Public Hearing 5:30 p.m. January 13, 2015 in re: Proposed Budget Fiscal Year July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016 WARREN COUNTY SHERIFF • Seven Sheriff's Sales WARREN COUNTY SUPERVISORS • Minutes of December 16, 2014 Meeting • Minutes of December 23, 2014 Meeting cial needs. Unfortunatel) those services often exceed the state dollars generated for that student. These added expenses are not covered in the present funding system for special education. As a result, school districts must either spend dollars that are intended for the rest of the general education population or pass those expenses to the local taxpayers. Neither of these options seems fit- ting, especially when the district cannot control these overage expenses. The state should take full responsi- bility for the special education system it has created. Our special education students deserve the most appro- priate services available and local districts deserve the funding to make those services happen for kids. So much for my list for Santa! Have a happy holiday season. Blue Santa Comes to Norwalk on Christmas Eve, a "Blue" Santa visited 20 lucky members of the community and, as a gesture of good will each of these individuals received a $50 bill. Christ- mas can be a tough time for many and the objective of the Blue Santa Project was to hopefully make their Christmas a little more special: The idea for the police to give cash to unsuspecting people during a police contact is not new. Many depart- ments across the nation have done similar things. News reports have shown the wide range of emotions ex- pressed by both the officers and the citizens they helped. This year however, a Norwalk Officer decided he wanted to bring the joy he was seeing on TV to his com- munity. The officer and his friend donated $500 apiece to the Blue Santa Project. Armed with 20 $50 bills, Norwalk Officers began playing Santa by giving out the money. Officer Melco, a 12 year veteran of the Norwalk Police Department, ex- pressed that this made working the holiday a little more special.'Sometimes there were tears and sometimes screams of jo} but always there were genuine expres- sions of gratitude that won't be easy to forget," he said. "Playing 'Blue" Santa on Christmas Eve is probably the most rewarding thing I have done in my career." It's not every day that officers have only good news to deliver, but during this season of hope, things were a little bit different.