Informaline March 30, 2015

View in PDF

en español

Proposed Tax Rate to Remain Steady West Des Moines Community Schools Chief Financial Officer presented a draft of the 2015-16 certified budget at a School Board workshop on Monday, March 23, proposing to maintain the district’s property tax rate at $13.27 per $1,000 valuation.

This keeps the district’s tax rate the lowest in the metro area, with, for example, Waukee $3.30 higher, Ankeny $6.91 higher, and Southeast Polk $8.39 higher.

The tax rate is determined through the certified budget, which is not the district’s line-item budget but an estimated budget maximum that the district cannot exceed. It also calculates spending authority and the revenue sources that finance the spending authority. In Iowa, the state not only provides money to schools to operate, it also tells school districts how much money they are allowed to spend. The concept is called “spending authority.”

Iowa Code Section 24.9 and 24.17 requires the district adopt a certified budget on or before April 15 each year. Currently, the state legislature has not yet finalized its funding for the 2015-16 school year, this is why the certified budget is an estimate.

The district is also required to hold a public hearing on the certified budget. The hearing will be held on Monday, April 13 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the Learning Resources Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, in West Des Moines. The Certified Budget is available to review at

Kindergarten Roundup and Story Time Dates Mark your calendar for the Kindergarten Roundup date at your school. Your new kindergartner will have a chance to come visit the school during Kindergarten Story Time or a welcome event.

  • Clive Elementary
    • Roundup: April 9 at 7 p.m.
    • Story Time: April 15 at 10 a.m./2 p.m.
  • Crestview Elementary
    • Roundup: April 21 at 6 p.m.
    • Story Time: TBD
  • Crossroads Park Elementary
    • Roundup: April 2 at 7 p.m.
    • Story Time: April 2 at 10 a.m.
  • Fairmeadows Elementary
    • Roundup: April 9 at 6:30 p.m.
    • Story Time: April 16 at 2:30 p.m.
  • Hillside Elementary
    • Roundup: April 16 at 7 p.m.
    • Story Time: April 20 at 10:30 a.m.
  • Jordan Creek Elementary
    • Roundup: April 2 at 6 p.m.
    • Story Time: April 16 at 10:30 a.m./1:30 p.m.
  • Western Hills Elementary
    • Roundup: April 7 at 7 p.m.
    • Story Time: April 22 at 10 a.m./2 p.m.
  • Westridge Elementary
    • Roundup: March 31 at 6:30 p.m.
    • Welcome Event: TBD

District Offers Educational Summer Fun Get ready for a change of seasons. It’s time to look ahead to summer and all it has to offer! In addition to enjoying the warmer weather, you can plan some fun, enriching, and affordable learning opportunities for your children. Whether your kids need a little extra help in reading, writing, or math, or simply a fun way to expand their knowledge,

WDMCS Community Education provides a wide variety of activities to choose from. The Summer of Learning programs are:

  • Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL)
  • Art Adventures
  • Baking Academy
  • Band Bash
  • Be the Boss! – Youth Entrepreneur Camp
  • Bricks 4 Kidz
  • Computer Programming
  • Jazz Jam
  • Jump Start
  • Safety Town
  • Safety Town Volunteering
  • Science Exploration
  • Show Choir Camp
  • Sneak Peek
  • Summer Strings
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Youth Tech Inc.

To learn more about the Summer of Learning, visit our department at the Community Education website, hover over the ‘Programs’ tab, and click on ‘Summer of Learning.’ Help your child find a program that sounds interesting, fun, or rewarding, and register today! Please call 515-633-5002 with questions.

Looking for Junior High Summer Camps? Finding summer activities can be a challenge, especially when students are in junior high. They may want to try new things or use summer to further the skills they already have. Community Education’s Summer of Learning has several opportunities for junior high students this summer. Along with Youth Tech Inc. and instrumental music programs for a wide range of ages, seventh- through ninth-graders can participate in the Baking Academy and Computer Programming.

Baking Academy – for students entering seventh-ninth grade

Students who are passionate about baking and want to improve their skills with benefit from the Baking Academy. The class will begin with basic sanitation and baking skills, then move on to preparing pies, cookies, breads, muffins, coffee cake, and crepes. Students will be able to take a new baked good every day of the camp. No experience is necessary. Bakers should wear long pants and comfortable, closed-to shoes and tie back long hair.

This Summer of Learning class is taught by Peri Halma, family and consumer science teacher, and will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on June 22-26 at Stilwell Junior High. Class costs $98, and registration is due by Monday, June 15. Registrations after this time will be charged a $25 late fee.

Computer Programming – for students entering seventh-ninth grade

Learn about how computers know to follow commands in this programming class. Students will explore the basics of computer programming and learn to provide a computer with instructions to make interactive programs that play games, animate pictures, or tell stories.

Taught by Clint Gentry, computer science teacher at Valley High School, the Computer Programming class will be held from 1-4 p.m. on June 22-26 at Stilwell Junior High School. The class cost is $80.

Interested students can register for either of these junior high summer classes on the Community Education website, or by calling 633-5001.

Top Four Tips for Summer Planning Keeping summertime educational is an important part of preventing summer learning loss, or summer slide. Students who do not continue to learn during the summer often return to school a full year behind where they were at the end of the school year in June.

Keeping summer fun is also important. For many families, summer is a time for the whole family to be together, to travel and take on activities it is not possible to participate in during the school year.

The key to planning a summer that is fun and educational is balancing the two. Learning during the summer does not have to follow the same format as learning in the classroom.

Here are some tips for parents on planning their own summer of learning:

Start planning early.

It is never too early to start planning for summer learning. Keep track of what your child is learning in class, so you know which skills you will want to review. If you can, talk to your child’s teacher for next year about what you can do to keep them up to speed during the summer. Register for classes early, so your student will be able to attend the programs they need or are interested in..

Keep learning fun.

Summer is an ideal time to mix up the format of learning for students. Try different experiments — especially ones that rely on good weather — to boost science skills; let kids help in the kitchen or at the store to keep math skills from getting rusty. Word games for the family can keep vocabulary skills high for the next year. Tailor activities around each students’ interests to get their attention.

Make time for reading.

One of the more significant areas of summer learning loss is reading. Make time to read each day to keep reading stamina up for the school year. Fun ways to keep kids interested in books during the summer are enrolling in library programs, or starting a family program.

Utilize family travel.

Many families travel during the summer, so tie your trips into learning. Learn about the places you visit, talk about geography and wildlife in the area, do travel-themed exercises, and have students write about their experiences.

(Sources:, U.S. Dept. of Ed. blog)

Virtual Backpack
Flyers on community and district events, activities and programs from the Boy Scouts of America, Two Rivers Martial Arts, and more!

Virtual Backpack