Mt Pleasant News
http://mt-pleasant-ia.villagesoup.com/p/mt-pleasant-school-board-members-say-they-are-listening/1235378

Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 8, 2016

Mt. Pleasant School Board members say they are listening

To the editor:

A recent letter to the editor ends with the statement, “The school district community is talking to the board and it’s time the board began listening.” The MPCSD Board is listening to all stakeholders.

Concerns brought forth regarding low morale are being addressed. Specific areas have been defined, and we will continue to seek resolution. As with any organization, it is best for parties involved to deal with issues from the inside and for procedures to be followed.

The board has taken concerns regarding Dr. Wells’ credentials very seriously, and has closely reviewed accusations in a closed session. The Iowa Board of Education Examiners, a state agency responsible for enforcing Iowa’s educator licensure and ethics laws, has dismissed a claim filed against Dr. Wells.

Board members have worked hard with past and present administration to build a solid framework for student achievement. To continue to move forward as a top school district, we must take care of our teachers and students, as well as provide top notch learning environments and facilities.

Professional development is provided throughout our district at no cost to teachers, and often enables teachers the ability to earn additional college credit towards a master’s degree. Valuable resources are being provided for instructional coaching and teacher leadership. Data Teams, developed three years ago, provide the foundation for highly successful teacher collaboration. Student achievement has increased thanks to the hard work and dedication of all employees.

Opportunities for students have expanded throughout our district. Preschool and Junior kindergarten are now being offered. Partnerships with area colleges and local businesses have increased college credits and work experience opportunities for students. Three ILC classrooms are being piloted this year, utilizing technology to provide collaborative learning opportunities.

Facilities are heavily used and in constant need of upgrading. Through professional analysis of our buildings and strategic planning, the primary needs of our school district have been identified as safety, technology and climate control. This includes safe and secure entries and drop-off sites, improved parking, remedied structural issues and increased technology. The board has closely and carefully examined all options to fund these improvements.

The board has been challenged to do this project without a bond referendum. Current funding from the penny sales tax is being used towards the middle school renovations, bus leases and technology. Further use of this funding source would tie our hands towards any emergency repairs or routine maintenance. Utilizing the PPEL would increase property tax more than what is proposed with the bond referendum. By asking for a bond referendum, the board will ensure property tax increases are minimized and facilities are renovated to best serve the needs of the students.

In conclusion, board members are listening. We are listening to students, teachers, parents, and community members. Thank you for reaching out to us, attending meetings and considering the needs of students. We believe great things are happening at MPCSD.

 

Brad Holtkamp

Regina Erickson

Lon Morrow

Michelle Skubal

Lyle Murray

Ken Feldmann