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IV school year will end May 28

By NICK NARIGON

The breakdown

The Iowa Valley School Board voted 3-2 to end the school year at its original date of May 28 despite missing seven days due to weather cancellations. This is how they did it:

• Spring break will be two days shorter. Students will go to school March 23 and March 24.

• April 5, which was scheduled as a teacher in-service day, will now be a full school day.

• Beginning March 1, the school day will be extended 30 minutes. Ten minutes will be added to the start of the day, and 20 minutes will be added to the end of the day.

The Iowa Valley School Board voted 3-2 to end the school year at its original date of May 28.

At this point, the school district has missed seven days of school due to weather-related cancellations. If all the days were made up at the end of the year, as originally planned, the last day of school would be June 9.

IV Superintendent Alan Jensen said June 9 is an unusually late date for the school and has raised some concerns among parents, students and teachers.

Several parents, students and teachers in fact did attend the Feb. 22 school board meeting to support the idea of using spring break days and extending the school day 30 minutes in order to end the school year at its original date.

Jensen told the board the Iowa Department of Education mandated that school districts are allowed to extend the school day a minimum of 30 minutes in order to make up for school cancellations. He said this is only the second time in history the department has allowed school districts to make this accommodation, the other time being two years ago.

It would take 11 days to make up one missed day if the school district decides to extend the school day by 30 minutes, Jensen said.

Ultimately, the school board decided to extend the school day by 30 minutes beginning March 1 for a total of 44 school days in order to make up four of the seven missed days.

Class at the Iowa Valley Elementary School will begin at 8:15 a.m. and the school day will end at 3:30 p.m.

At the high school, the school day will start at 8:15 a.m. and end at 3:32 p.m.

In addition, spring break will be shortened by two days. Originally, spring break was scheduled for March 22-24. However, students will now attend school on March 23 and 24 in order to make up two of the snow days.

The school board also decided to use April 5, which was scheduled as a teacher in-service day, as a snow make up day, effectively covering all seven missed days.

School board members Frank Davis, Dennis Roberts and Dale Slaymaker voted in favor of the package. School board members Jane Fry and Mark Swift voted against the idea.

Iowa Valley Athletic Director Ray Cooling said the more days that are tacked on at the end of the school year, the harder it is to keep students focused in the classroom.

“The kids have the mindset that they are not supposed to be in school,” Cooling said.

Slaymaker said he does not want to extend the school year past May 28 because the school year begins to affect summer sports programs. He said the Pony League begins playing baseball games June 1 at 10 a.m.

Davis said his only concern is that students who are gone during March 23 and 24, the former spring break days, be excused from school, and still be eligible for perfect attendance awards.

School board president Fry said she is wary of the extended school days. She said adding a few minutes to each period does not allow the students to learn everything they would in a normal semester.

“I’m not sure what you gain by doing that,” Fry said.

Swift said the school board had a calendar in place, and they should stick to it.

“We are backpedaling just because there are a bunch of people here,” he said.

EARLY RETIREMENT

Two Iowa Valley teachers will participate in the school district’s early retirement incentive program this year.

• Beverly Wagner submitted a request to participate in the district’s early retirement incentive plan and turned in a letter of resignation. Her resignation will be effective at the end of the school year. Wagner has taught language arts at Iowa Valley since the 1977-1978 school year. During her tenure, she also served as director of the high school plays and musicals, Thespians sponsor and has been the speech director or assisted with speech contests.

• Iowa Valley agricultural education teacher Andy Rowe also submitted a request to participate in the early retirement incentive program. Jensen noted that during Rowe’s tenure, the school’s FFA program has won numerous awards and accomplishments. He noted Rowe has seven days to pull his resignation request out.

IV School Board President Jane Fry extended a thank you from the school board to Wagner and Rowe for their years of dedication to the school district.

TEACHER SALARY SUPPLEMENT PAYMENTS

Jensen said since the State of Iowa made 10 percent across the board cuts this year, the Iowa Department of Education issued a declaratory ruling that teacher salary supplement funds will receive a 10 percent cut. If fully funded, Jensen said Iowa Valley would have received $309,791 for the current fiscal year. With the 10 percent across the board cut, the funding will be reduced by $30,979 to a total of $278,812. The Iowa Valley School Board voted to reduce teacher salary payments by a total of $30,979.

BUDGET HEARING

The Iowa Valley School Board will review the proposed fiscal year 2011 budget at its next meeting March 15. The board will hold a special meeting April 7 at 6 p.m. to hold a public hearing for the FY11 budget.

UPDATED February 24, 2010 10:16 AM

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