Saturday, March 19, 2016

School board agenda for March 22

Some of the items on the agenda for Tuesday’s board meeting:

The administration is asking the board to approve three high-level administrative hires: Diane Schumacher as Director of Curriculum/Instruction/Assessment, Adam Kurth as Director of Technology/Innovation, and Scott Kibby as principal of Liberty High. News coverage here. Agenda item here.

I asked that we put our community comment policy on the agenda. The current policy allows up to one hour of community comment at the beginning of each board meeting, with each speaker allowed to speak for up to four minutes; after an hour, any further speakers are put off until the end of the meeting, which might be hours later. By that time, the board may already have acted on the topic the speakers came to address. I know we can’t allow an infinite number of speakers, but I’d rather hear from more people at the beginning of the meeting. I raised the issue now because as we go into the redistricting process, we could see an increase in the number of speakers.

We’ll also be asked to approve the 2017 Operations Life Cycle budget. This budget allocates money from the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) and the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) fund. Both PPEL and SAVE funds can be used to maintain, repair, and upgrade physical facilities and grounds. Those funds cannot be spent on operational expenses such as teacher salaries. More info here.

After the board meeting, we’ll have a work session to continue our discussion about redistricting. Info here. There are not yet any scenarios on the table; so far, we’ve still been asking for information about “building blocks”—that is, how many students live in particular areas.

All that and more. The full agendas are here and here. Please chime in on anything that catches your attention.


Karen W said...

I hope the principal hire is pulled from the consent agenda for discussion. Kibby might be a great choice, but you wouldn't know it from the declined to comment until after the school board votes coverage in the P-C. Compare to the article on Shoultz being recommended as new West High principal or this article on the recommendation for Kibby to be hired as AD at West. So it seems like a pretty big missed opportunity to make the case for recommending Kibby.

By the way, The Gazette article on his hire as AD at West says Kibby taught math and coached basketball and baseball at Jefferson in Cedar Rapids for about ten years or so, before becoming an AD in 2002.

Question: am I wrong, or have all the other new schools in the district been opened with experienced principals at the helm?

Anonymous said...

Chris - curious as to your thoughts on the announced development plans for Scanlon farms and its impact on the districts desire for balance and equity. Seems like the developer and City essentially told the district to "bugger off."

Anonymous said...

The Scanlon area will have a mix of single family homes, duplexes, townhouses and multifamily buildings. Will the area being developed around New Hoover also have a mix of housing?

What's the deal? said...

I agree with all of Karen W's comments above about the credentials of the Liberty principal. Please inquire to the hiring committee as to why an athletic director with nor prior principal experience is being hired. It seems like an unlikely choice.

What's the deal? said...

I would also like to know if any minorities or women were considered for the Liberty principal job. Why would the equity committee want three white males leading all three high schools? Where is the diversity in the workplace?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2

Great point about Scanlon Farms and the question regarding New Hoover. Would love to hear Chris's thoughts and how many of those "multi family" residences will truly be affordable or whether the development as a whole is setting the district up for more economically based segregation with North Lincoln likely being rezoned into Grant. Curious as to whether there has been any engagement with Coralville or the developer and how a balanced development could positively impact the schools and increase the likelihood of families in the area attending their "neighborhood" school. Ultimately, these are all questions that would need to be answered before a 2017 bond vote to build Grant.

Same questions as to New Hoover, though I suspect balance would be easier to achieve given the close proximity of existing multi-family residences in the area and mobile homes from which New Hoover would likely draw its attendance which, in turn, frees up seats at Lucas and other schools for Hoover kids and helping to balance that section of the community.

Anonymous #3 said...

The Scanlon farms development appears to be upscale no matter how its presented. Even the mixed use sounds upscale and will be low density. http://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/local/2016/03/17/liberty-high-school-construction-roadwork/81608340/

Will Liberty be a very wealthy high school compared to City and West?

Alexander Parent said...

It does look as though Liberty will be the wealthy high school. I'm becoming increasingly frustrated that no one has raised the obvious option to balance the low-socioeconomic status / FRL numbers: since it's clearly fine with the district to send children 10 miles from home to school, start shipping rich kids from North Liberty south. Their parents won't face barriers to getting to them like lack of transportation, a huge issue for some other parents at my children's school.

That it hasn't even been raised as a possibility speaks volumes. We've heard it loud and clear down here.

Karen W said...

Anyone know which secondary electives are being cut?

Katy D said...

I hadn't heard about the secondary elective cuts and I don't believe it was discussed in the board meeting or the board work session this week. Seems odd to me that we would talk about cutting secondary electives and still continue on with the secondary boundaries feeder system that will cost an estimated $240,000 annually in unnecessary bussing. We should be putting that $240,000 back into the schools especially when there is talk of cutting certain classes.

Focus on academics said...

How can they cut secondary elective classes but bring back 7th grade tackle? It seems like the cuts should be made away from the classroom. Has sports been seriously looked at for cuts? Maybe the sport with the least participation could be cut, one sport for each gender? I get the sports is important but is it more important the academics? Cuts in the classroom via increasing class size and reducing electives affects all students. Sports cuts only affect a fraction of the students. How much does our district spend on sports?