The July 11 meeting of the W-SR School Board included an in-depth discussion of 2023 legislative priorities, construction updates, and approval of textbooks for students, teachers, and support staff. The High School Wilderness Studies trip to Colorado led by science teacher Rene Borglum has been approved for June 12-23, 2023.

Legislative priorities reflect district values. Four priorities were chosen by the Council, including state funding for early childhood education, now state funded at only 50% of actual costs.

“A big part of kindergarten is about building community. Preschool is a great opportunity to bring our little humans together to build community,” said Board Member Charlene Wyatt Sauer in advocating for this priority.

Three other priorities include increasing additional state assistance and better funding for special education and dropout/at-risk programs.

“Additional state support is always important, and quit/at-risk programs create equity,” Superintendent Klamfoth remarked when discussing priorities. “The state reports that the COVID year has been like falling off an academic cliff. We used COVID money to hire interventionists.

“We want to pass resolutions that focus on people’s needs and the benefits they provide,” said Board Chairman Dennis Epley.

Summer construction progress includes earthworks at the two new elementary school sites, with footing work due to begin this week at the Horton Road site. Construction change orders brought another round of savings, this time to the tune of $373,380.

Baker Concrete’s bid won the $35,975 contract for the sidewalk and steps north of the high school, slated for construction this fall. Supt. Klamfoth said secondary school HVAC tenders will be launched in September for work done next spring. The asbestos removal was concluded on this site. Klamfoth also reported that discussion continues to determine W-SR’s athletic conference affiliation for 2023-24.

Business Manager Joan Loew presented a proposal to approve the addition of the Iowa Schools Joint Investment Trust as an additional custodian of school funds. As approved, ISJIT will hold proceeds from the W-SR School Bonds up to $35 million. Invested in treasury bills at a higher rate, this account will earn approximately $500,000 in interest and allow the district to raise funds as needed for school building projects.

The next W-SR School Board meeting is Monday. August 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the District Business Office. The Council agenda lists a Zoom link for public viewing.