Tuesday, June 13, 2017

School board agenda for Tuesday, June 13

I’m late posting this week because I was on the road. Some of the topics on the board’s agenda tonight:

We’ll meet in an exempt (non-public) session to discuss the renewal and extension of the superintendent’s contract, as well as any possible changes in the contract language. This meeting is one step in the annual cycle of reviewing the superintendent’s contract. (More information on that process here.)

At our board meeting, we’ll discuss the report of the task force considering the district’s use of seclusion enclosures. (See posts here and here.) Two weeks ago, the state Department of Education issued a decision on a complaint about the district’s use of those enclosures; the task force apparently completed its report before that decision was issued.  News coverage of the state’s decision is here. Additional information on the use of seclusion enclosures is here.

We’ll also vote on whether to reapprove (and possibly amend) some of the district’s policies, including policies on good conduct, corporal punishment, student records access, the responsibilities of the superintendent, and on community comment at board meetings. This review is part of a scheduled cycle of policy reviews.

At our work session, we’ll discuss setting the district’s legislative priorities for next year.

We’ll also review a report from the administration’s transportation committee about busing in the district. The committee makes recommendations that include (1) increasing “attendance support” transportation at the elementary level, and (2) adding morning and evening activities busing at Northwest and North Central junior highs. One controversial point is the lack of any activities busing recommendation at the high school level for students in the Kirkwood neighborhood, who are now assigned to Liberty High, which cannot be reached from that neighborhood by public transportation. Related information here.

We’ll discuss the possibility of supporting a Future Farmers of America chapter in the district.

As usual, our work session also includes agenda items for the district’s bond proposal and facilities master plan.

All that and more! The full agendas are here and here. Please chime in with a comment about anything that catches your attention.


Karen W said...

How are modulars, preschool, and WRAM factored into the work session capacity v. enrollment charts? It doesn't make sense to show Alexander as under capacity when they had to move modulars in, does it?

Anonymous said...

Karen W...agreed. Alexander has 1 modular, one classroom being held in the library and they are repurposing their computer lab for classroom space and were told there are no modulars available for them next year. It's hard to maintain the WRAM model that they benefit greatly from when they've run out of intended classroom space. Student registrations received so far I believe put them at 450.

Anonymous said...

Will superintendent Murley ever be held accountable for the proven violations of state and federal law with regard to special education and seclusion rooms?

Anonymous said...

I still can't believe that anyone can look at the Alexander situation and feel confident that this administration has a clue about how to spend money.
They could. not. build. one. elemenatary. school. to. the. proper. capacity.

How in the hell are they going to manage almost $200 million? Let me tell you.


"The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior."

Anonymous said...

Alexander could be a 500 capacity school as planned if they hadn't opened up their doors at a 74% FRL population and then realized the extensive issues they were having thus implementing the WRAM model. Don't get me wrong, the WRAM model has been amazing for Alexander but they could have looked at ways to balance out the elementary FRL numbers much like they did with secondary in 2016.

Anonymous said...

I know that once spent money spent is gone forever, but Alexander because of its location was doomed to have a too-high FRL percentage from the beginning. It will get worse when/if Hills Elementary closes.

A far better solution would have been to build Alexander at a location where it could have had a chance to draw more non-FRL students and/or to keep Hoover open.

Barring more funds from the legislature, I doubt if WRAM is sustainable long term.

If anyone thinks that passing the bond issue will help this problem, I think they are naive. Given that the bond proposal as written puts no constraints (other than an overall $190 million spending cap) on what projects get funded and to what amount there is going to be a further decline in the balance between schools if it passes.

amy said...

Question about this bond proposal: how does it not turn into kickback city?

I mean look at this setup: it gives Steve, essentially, control over nearly $200M in spending. It's a lot of money. He doesn't have to spend the money. But he can if he wants to. (Yes, the board ultimately votes, but Steve is the board's primary advisor, and it's difficult for a board to work chronically against the will of its supe, unless it means to replace the supe.) Given that power, he could recommend this project first and wait on that one, or do that one and sideline the other, etc. Why would this not turn into a situation in which people are lobbying him to get rolling on their favorite projects? And given that everybody's favorite habitual liar is still his friend and neighbor, why should we not expect that he'll be a middleman for lobbying?

Given the retaliatory culture in the district, why should we not expect that bond-drawdown discretion would be used to silence teachers or other staff? "If you make trouble, he won't fund our _______."

Again, if Steve and others involved were models of probity, I'd worry less about this, though it'd still leave the door open for the same thing if we had a change in personnel. But given the unsavory histories of the people involved, and given some of the dysfunction that already exists in the district, I'm looking at the possibilty of handing this kind of favor-dispensing/withholding control to Steve and a few others, and wondering why we'd expect that...well, that things wouldn't go as they usually do when you're dealing with liars and people who defend working for fraud artists.

I'm just failing to see why we need a bond with all this built-in long-range discretion.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:58AM, don't you realize that is exactly what the East Side voting powers/people want? Very segregated elementary schools and then "balanced" secondary schools. (AKA throw out the blacks, Latinos and the poor by sending them on long tortuous bus rides to schools up to 7 miles away instead of to one 1-2 miles away.

All to help property value and to keep single family home building going in the most "desirable"/"expensive" part of East Iowa City in particular.

All that for a 3-5% drop in FRL. All for the Best interests of the poor kids - yeah right! Anyone that believes that is deluding themselves. It is for the best interests of property values of rich people. And their kids.