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Glenwood City Board of Education approves 2017-2018 school budget

By Cara L. Dempski

GLENWOOD CITY — The Glenwood City Board of Education gave the go-ahead on the budget for the current school year at its Monday night meeting.

The board unanimously approved a total budget of $8,449,722 for 2017-2018 during the November 13 regular meeting. Superintendent Tim Johnson said the budget does balance, and there is some sparsity aid that is still unaccounted for.

He has placed those funds in the Fund 46 long-term account to be shifted back into the general fund as necessary for unforeseen expenses such as replacement or repair of school district equipment and facilities.

For example, Johnson said district transportation supervisor Ben DeGross had approached him with a issue regarding one of the buses.

“Ben DeGross came to me Friday and said we have an engine out on bus number eight,” Johnson explained. “Our preliminary estimate is a little over $15,000. It’s one of our older buses, and we’re going to have a $15,000 bill we didn’t budget for. Those are the types of things we still need to actually adjust.”

Another administrator, Patrick Gretzlock, provided the board with updates on first quarter pass/fail data in the middle and high school. According to information he provided, there are currently 20 high school students and two middle school students with failing grades, and 41 classes failed in the high school and two in the middle school.

Gretzlock, the middle and high school principal, discussed his plans to keep students engaged and on track to decrease the number of students failing, and classes failed, in both schools.

Elementary principal Betsy Haltinner was joined by several of her Kindergarten teachers and students to explain the Kindergarten Alphabet Project the classes were involved in this fall.

According to the program description, each GCE classroom was connected with 25 other kindergarten classrooms around the United States, and some in Mexico and Canada, forming a group of 26 classes – one for each letter of the alphabet. Each classroom was assigned a specific letter, and had to come up with designs based on words starting with that particular letter.

For instance, the letter “J” was designed to look like a jellyfish, and the letter “K” was designed to look like a kite. Once 25 copies of the assigned letter were made, the decorated letters were sent – along with written letters about the classroom, school, and community from which the letter arrived – to the 25 other classes in the group.

The result was each classroom in the group of 26 received the same decorations for their alphabet, and the participating students learned more about not just the alphabet, but about other children like them.

Haltinner also updated the board on current events at GCE, and reminded everyone Grandparents’ Day is scheduled for November 17, with a concert at 10 a.m., and notified the board Holiday Family Fun Night will be December 14 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Nicole Brite, Director of Special Education and Student Services, spoke to the board about a mental health summit she recently attended, and found beneficial, and Johnson later addressed recent staff requests for training in Mental Health First Aid.

The district superintendent is supportive of the program, but expressed hesitation over the cost of training and the number of continuing education credits necessary for participating staff to maintain certification.

In other business, the board:

• Approved Shane Strong and Jim Celt as co-head coaches for the baseball team. The board also approved Tom Stack as an assistant coach.

• Approved a donation from the Basketball Booster Club.

• Approved Glenwood City police chief Bob Darwin as a substitute bus driver.

• Scheduled meetings for December 11, 2017, (5:30 committee, 6:30 regular) and January 8, 2018, (5:30 committee, 6:30 regular).