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School Board to Review Revised Cost-Saving Package Dec. 21

icon_financialThe district administration of the West Des Moines Community Schools will present a revised budget-reduction package to the School Board at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21, in the Community Room of the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines.

The administration presented an initial package with 15 proposed cost-saving measures to the School Board for its review on Nov. 23. The measures were developed through a Budget Advisory Committee representing employees, students, and community members.

The measures were then shared during six community feedback sessions and through an online feedback form.

The Budget Advisory Committee reconvened on Dec. 16 to review community feedback and develop a modified recommendation. The modified proposal was presented at superintendent advisory committee meetings, which subsequently further refined the recommendation.

The revised recommendation includes 13 proposed cost-saving measures totaling an estimated $559,214 in savings.

The Board will also hold a workshop at 5:15 p.m. in the Fairmeadows Room at the Learning Resource Center, during which it will review the district’s audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.

School Board Meeting Agenda and Materials

 

Budget Reduction Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2016-17 (Dec. 21, 2015)

Budget Reduction Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2016-17 (Dec. 21, 2015) PDF

1. Eliminate 360 feedback

  • Estimated Savings: $10,500
  • Details: The 360 Feedback is an HR-related tool through which employees receive confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around them, such as peers, managers, and direct reports. Iowa law requires teachers receive some type of feedback and a less expensive feedback tool would be sought.

2. Reduce China trip expenses

  • Estimated Savings: $70,000
  • Details: The district hosts visitors from a sister-school in Shijiazhuang, China and sends students and staff to China. The budgeted costs go toward hosting activities and pays for staff travel.

3. Eliminate printed school district activity calendar.

  • Estimated Savings: $7,000
  • Details: The printed activities calendar is currently provided to district parents and staff free of charge. The estimated savings is from printing costs only. All information is available online in the district’s online calendar. Possible options are to charge for the calendar.

4. Reduce printing budgets districtwide

  • Estimated Savings: $30,000
  • Details: The estimated savings is based on reduced printing budgets across the district.

5. Eliminate Gallup Teacher Insight screening tool & replace with Teacher Fit

  • Estimated Savings: $16,700
  • Details: Gallup Teacher Insight is an online assessment used as part of the application process. Teacher Fit and Job Fit are similar application process tools.

6. Pilot holding meetings after school hours. Hourly pay in lieu of a substitute teacher

  • Estimated Savings: $2,000
  • Details: There are meetings held during the school day in the district that teachers attend. When this occurs, a substitute teacher must be hired to cover classes. This option proposes holding one of these meetings after school outside the contracted hours and paying teachers an hourly amount to attend. This would be a pilot program.

7. Eliminate Des Moines Art Center Scholarships

  • Estimated Savings: $6,707
  • Details: The district provides funds for approximately 50 students to attend classes at the Des Moines Art Center during the summer.

8. Restructure Valley High School security contract

  • Estimated Savings: $20,682
  • Details: Valley High School currently contracts with the Conley Group for four security guards. This revised proposal keeps Conley security services, but at a reduced price. The restructured contract would save the district $20,682, which is an additional savings of $282 compared to the original proposed option.

9. Reduce summer days at secondary level – Flat percentage (10% = $4,600, exclusive of Counselors, non-categorical funds)

  • Estimated Savings: $4,600
  • Details: There are approximately eight certified staff members who work additional days in the summer due to position duties and who are paid for those days.

10. Eliminate Japanese language program

  • Estimated Savings: $38,600
  • Details: Valley Southwoods Freshman High School offers Japanese I and Valley High School offers Japanese I, II, III, and IV as full-year elective courses. Japanese is one of six world languages offered at Valley. Options would be provided for students currently taking Japanese to complete their studies. With this reduction, the number of world languages offered remains one of the largest in the Des Moines-metro area.

11. Eliminate 1st through 3rd grade FLES. Keep FLES in 4th through 6th grades.

  • Estimated Savings: $197,000
  • Details: The district’s current Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) program provides Spanish instruction for 60 minutes each week in grades one-six. This proposal would continue to offer 60 minutes of Spanish instruction each week in grades four-six. This would allow the district to provide additional time for reading instruction, which will assist in our efforts to have all students proficient in reading by the end of third grade as required by state law. The district would remain one of the few in the state to offer a world language at the elementary level.

12. Eliminate 3-year-old general education preschool

  • Estimated Savings: $120,000
  • Details: The district currently offers 3-year-old general education preschool at a subsidized cost to parents. This option would eliminate the 3-year-old general education preschool. The proposal would allow the district to expand the number of four-year-old preschoolers served, generating state funding. This option maintains current preschool teacher positions.

13. Eliminate Hanover Research contract

  • Estimated Savings: 35,425
  • Details:  The district has contracted with Hanover Research for the past four years to assist the administration with conducting research, administering surveys, and evaluating programs to determine effectiveness.

 

Estimated Total Savings: $559,214

 

Topics: Budget, School Board News

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School Board Sets 5 Boundary Criteria

On September 22, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education set criteria for determining School Boardpossible changes to school attendance boundaries in the district.

The criteria will be used by a committee made up of parents, teachers, administrators and community members charged with studying enrollment projections and recommending boundary adjustments for the district’s eight elementary and two junior high schools.

The criteria selected are:

  1. Neighborhoods Intact: Where possible, boundaries should be structured to maintain a neighborhood within one school’s attendance area. Neighborhoods should not be split between two schools. A neighborhood is defined as the smallest division of a residential planning area that can be subdivided by a natural line of demarcation, such as a stream or major traffic way. There should be logical limits to define a neighborhood.
  2. Contiguous Attendance Areas: When it is possible, attendance areas should share a common border or have borders that are touching. Compact grouping of residential subdivisions — or planning areas — should be maintained.
  3. Duration of Boundaries: Attendance areas should remain the same for as long as possible. This factor addresses the ability of an attendance area to accommodate the anticipated enrollments for a projected period of time. Where possible, attendance areas should be stabilized to limit the number of boundary changes experienced by students. In established areas with little or no demographic change projected, boundaries should be planned to last for a period of time.
  4. Projected Enrollment/Building Utilization: Attendance boundaries should have balanced, logical enrollment that works within the confines of the assigned school capacity. This factor considers building utilization, student enrollment, staffing needs and the educational program(s). Where possible, attendance boundaries should be created to anticipate the projected enrollment and the program/current capacity of the building. Efficient building utilization should attempt to maximize student population without exceeding capacity long-term.
  5. Impact: The retention and recruitment of district students should be considered when developing attendance boundaries.

 

The district is reviewing attendance boundaries because:

    • The cities it serves — West Des Moines and parts of Clive, Urbandale and Winsdor Heights — have continued to age and populations have changed.
    • Some schools have seen growing student enrollment, causing more students to be placed at buildings other than their neighborhood school in order to keep class sizes at 26-28 students.
    • Phenix Early Childhood Center was closed, which necessitates boundary adjustments to accommodate all resident Phenix students to be able to attend Hillside.

The boundary committee will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 30.

 

Topics: Boundary Study

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School Board Addresses Budget Reductions March 10

Budget Logo

 

 

 

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will address the final budget reduction proposal on Monday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m. The Board will also hold a work session at 5:15 p.m. during which they will review the 2014-15 certified budget.

Some of the items being proposed include closing Phenix Early Childhood Center, eliminating the district’s half-day kindergarten program, eliminating first grade assistants and reducing Level 1 special education program assistants.

The full proposal is available here: Final Budget Reduction Proposal

The proposal is being submitted after a four-month process, which included gathering reduction ideas and feedback from parents, community members and employees. This included holding several public meetings to provide information on the budget, the process being used to determine reductions and to gather feedback on possible reductions.

 

When will the School Board vote on the budget reductions?

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education will address the final budget reduction proposal on Monday, March 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the Community Room at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines.

School Board Meeting Agenda

School Board Meeting Information Packet

 

Where can I find the final list of items being proposed to cut?

The final budget reduction proposal being submitted to the School Board is available here:

Final Budget Reduction Proposal

 

Where can I find information about the district’s budget situation?

 

 

Topics: School Board News

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Board Approves Valley Phase 3 Base Bids

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved base bids for the last phase of the Valley High School project October 24, 2012, with a total contract amount of $25.4 million. This phase of the project primarily includes a new 1,140 seat auditorium, new performing arts practice space and a renovated north academic wing. (more…)

Topics: School Board News

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Advisory Board & “SAMs” Program Approved by Board

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education held a regular meeting on October 22, 2012, and took the following action:

  • approved the consent agenda including personnel resignations, recommendations, support staff new hires, certified staff initial contracts, minutes from the Oct. 8 workshop and meeting;
  • approved a minor modification application for Hillside Elementary for the addition of a 1,500 sq.ft. concrete pad and an 200 sq. ft. expansion of the existing wood mulched swing set area located on the south side of the facility with the use of Site funds; (more…)

Topics: School Board News

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WDMCS Board Approves Retirement Plan, Fresh Fruit Program and More

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education held its annual meeting Sept. 10, 2012, and took the following action:

  • approved the proposed 2013-2014 Early Retirement Plan, which has no changes from the previous year’s plans, to allow eligible district staff to have the opportunity to plan further in advance when making a decision concerning retirement; (more…)

Topics: Education

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WDMCS School Board Aug. 27 Meeting Summary

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education held a regular meeting on Monday, August 27, 2012, and took the following action: (more…)

Topics: Education

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WDMCS School Board Aug. 13 Meeting Summary

The West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education held a regular meeting on Monday, August 13, 2012, and took the following action:

(more…)

Topics: Education

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School Lunch Prices to Increase 10 Cents

Students who wish to each school lunch will pay $.10 more per meal next school year. The new lunch prices were approved by the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Board of Education Monday, June 25, 2012. (more…)

Topics: Education

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A Voice Raised

The voice of Valley High School student Samantha Greer rang out during the West Des Moines Community School District Board of Education meeting on May 14, 2012.

She wasn’t speaking on a specific board issue; she was singing.

The Watchman’s Daughter” by Samantha Greer

(more…)

Topics: Education, School Board News

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