Newspaper Archive of
N. Warren Town and County News
Norwalk, Iowa
April 12, 2012     N. Warren Town and County News
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April 12, 2012

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Page Ten NVarren Town and County News Thursday, April 12, 2012 DENNY WULF Concluded from p.l trator may conduct "wa]kthroughs" or other mecha- nisms to track progress. At the end of the year, they discuss progress and goals for the following year. Ev- ery three years, a "full evaluation" of the teacher oc- curs. Many meetings and a portfolio presentation. Whether or not this system is sufficient to ensure stu- dent achievement is the crux of the conversation at the Iowa Legislature. Another bone of contention is the retention of third grade students who are not proficient readers. As you might imagine, there were many testimonials, some were factually-based and some were emotionally-based. This is a hard call and both sides had plenty of data. One group mentioned research that students that are held back are more likely to drop out of school later. Conversely, the other group mentioned that non-read- ers are more likely to drop out of school later. Both have a point. If the legislature decides to retain non- readers, proponents would hope that an alternate pro- gram would be researched and developed. Sending those children through the same program a second time makes very little sense. Sending them through a more intensive or some type of alternate programming may make sense. A final topic is the setting of allowable growth. As you know, Iowa Schools have traditionally received three or four percent allowable growth. This assists dis- tricts in coping with the inflation of transportation, maintenance, salaries, textbooks, computers and other aspects of the school business. However, the economic downturn has caused a 0% allowable growth to Iowa schools this year and perhaps 2% growth into the fu- ture. As is true with your budgets at home, this will cause some changes in our business. As we did our problem solving to address this issue, we used two pieces of information from our yearly par- ent surveys. As always, hundreds of parents responded to the survey. As an example of how we use this data in the past, I offer the discussion over the penny sales tax. When the penny sales tax became available through the Iowa Legislature, we surveyed our public. They over- whelmingly supported the stadium, auditorium and parking lot as our greatest needs among a sizeable list of possibilities. Since those dollars could not be used for salaries or many other day-to-day operating ex- penses, we moved ahead with these public priorities while construction costs were at historic lows. The first chart from this year's survey reveals the public percep- tion of how we have used public dollars in the past. Eighty-eight percent of parents agree or strongly agree that the Norwalk District has used public funds effec- tively. Ten percent disagree and two percent strongly disagree. Unfortunately, now we are on the flipside of that economic situation. We need to consider how to deal with a decreasing general fund budget. So, again, we asked our parents how to proceed. The second chart reveals their preferences. The survey question asked parents whether they would prefer that we address the funding reductions by 1) Increasing local property taxes. 2) Reduce the cur- rent expenditure to match the reductions in state aid or 3) An equal combination of tax increases and spending reductions. The second chart reveals that the majority of parents (51%) want an equal mix of cuts and tax in- creases. Thirty-seven percent of parents want spending reductions only and no tax increase. Twelve percent wanted all reductions covered by property tax increases with no cuts. Valuing those survey inputs, the district has devel- oped a 2012-13 budget that cuts expenditures, delays implementation and hiring of some positions or adjusts non-classroom staffing by over five hundred thousand dollars. Some examples include the reduction of a trans- portation secretary and a maintenance position, reduc- tions in curriculum purchasing and technology, delay- ing some maintenance into the future and other cuts. In addition, we requested an increase in taxes by ap- proximately two hundred thousand dollars. We regret any tax increases, since the district has such a history of reducing taxes, but we believed five hundred thousand dollars of reduced spending and two.hundred thousand dollars of tax increase honor the public sentiment found in the survey. Since the governor has continued to propose 2% al- lowable growth into the future to address state short- falls, the district is preparing for more cuts in the fu- ture. As always, we will attempt to keep these cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. But, as you imagine, at some point, that becomes impossible. Ex- pect to see future articles addressing the cuts from the 2013-14 proposed school budget, once the legislature sets allowable growth and we have some solid num- bers to discuss. We appreciate your input on our sur- veys and strategic planning group (SIAC), and your patience as we all struggle through these tough eco- nomic times together. Katy Blomgren and Tammy Sodeen received an award for volunteering at Oviatt. 70% Using Public Funding Efficiently 2% 18% Strongly Agree II Agree [] Disagree Strongly Disagree To Maintain a Balanced Budget 12% Maintaining Current Expenditures by Increasing Local Property Taxes A Reduction in Current Expenditures Equal tothe Reduction of State Aid A Equal Combination of Loca! Property Tax Increases and Reduction, of Expenditures Natalie Geyer and Josie Innis demonstrating Oviatt's technology to the school board. Photos submitted. Boys Varsity Track Results Thursday, March 29, the Norwalk Boys Track team traveled to Johnston to compete in the 10 team invita- tional. No team score was kept, but the Warriors com- peted hard and had several very high performances and a lot of very strong individual performances. A new school record was set by Garrett Gillen in the Discus- 145'3", and also a new 4x400 Sophomore Class Record was set by Jared Riter, Caleb Klocko, Nate Johnston and Josh Lippert, in 3:47.44. Norwalk place winners are as follows: 1st place- Garrett Gillen-Discus 145'3" - new school record; 1st Place-4 x 100 Relay team of Kolbv Greenslade, Carson Klocko, Kenny Floyd, Chase Onken 45.23; 1st Place- Weightmans 4 x 100 Relay team of Gillen, Devin Verwers, Alex Landgrebe, Aaron Westphalen 51.43; 2nd place -Landgrebe- Discus 134'5"; 2nd Place-4x200 Re- lay team of Greenslade, Carson Klocko, Floyd, Onken 1:34.75; 2nd Place-Brandon Pevestorf-400 Low Hurdles 1:00.68; 2nd Place-ll0 Shuttle Hurdle relay team of Collin Schlitz, Pevestorf, Caleb Klocko, Carson Klocko 1:02.40; 3rd Place-Westphalen-Discus 134-3"; 3rd Place- Onken-High Jump 5'10"; 4th Place-Gillen-Shot Put 47'10". Friday, March 30, the Warrior Track team traveled to compete in the very competitive 18 team Winterset Boy Invitational. Norwalk finished in the 4th position, scor'- ing 43 points. Conference foe Pella won the meet scor- ing 142 points. Norwalk Place winners were as follows: 1st Place- High Jump-Onken 5'10"; 2nd Place-Shot Put-Gillen 48'7"; 2nd Place-Shuttle Hurdle Relay team of Schiltz, Pevestorf, Caleb Klocko, Carson Klocko 1:01.75; 3rd Place-Shot Put-Trey Mateer 48'4"; 4th Place-110 High Hurdles-Carson Klocko 16.33; 5th Place-Discus- Landgrebe 134'8"; 5th Place-4 x 200 Relay team of Sam George, Westphalen, Pevestorf, Caleb Klocko 1:37.88; 5th Place-4x400 Relay team of Nate Johnston, Carson Klocko, Onken, Josh Lippert 3:37.96; 6th Place-400 Low Hurdles-Pevestorf 59.46. Did You Know? (NAPS)--The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) sponsors the We Can! (Ways to En- hance Children's Activity & Nutrition) program, which offers plenty of tips to help families become more active. For more information, visit wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov. Students who score a 3 or higher on an AP Exam may be eligible for college credit or advanced placement. This has the potential to accelerate the graduation process and thus reduce or offset the cost of tuition. To learn more, visit www.collegeboard.org/ap. Becoming a member of the Army National Guard, a 375- year-old branch of the U.S. military, gives soldiers a chance to accomplish great things in addition to serving their country and state. For more informatiori, visit www. nationalguard.com. Syngenta researr2mrs have contributed to Golden Rico, which is genetically engi- neered to contain carotenoid& It's expected to contribute significantly to an effective, inexpensive and simple solu- tion to vitamin A deficiency. Johnsons Bedtime prod- ucts for babies and toddlers are now formulated with NaturalCalm, a unique blend of patent-pending essences that had been tested and proven to have relaxing prep- erties. You can learn more online at www.johnsonsbaby. corn/bedtime. If you are moving to take a new job, make sure to research the weather patterns in your new location to plan accord- ingly for clothing and getting about. You may also want to examine cost of living indexes. To learn more, visit www. CareerRelocate.com.