Sunday, February 12, 2017

Board meeting 2-14-17

Mission Statement
To create a positive learning environment that promotes high achievement, responsible citizenship, and success for all.

North Butler Community Schools
Regular Board Meeting Tuesday February 14, 2017, 6:00 PM
North Butler Elementary- Media Center, Allison

1.     Call to Order
2.     Review and Approve Agenda
3.     Review and Approve Minutes from January 11 and 18, 2016
4.     Review and Approve Financial reports
5.     Public Items of Discussion
a.     Travel Softball
6.     Board Items of Discussion
a.     Testing results
7.     Approve 17-18 Calendar
8.     Update on Job Descriptions
9.     Discuss/Approve Travel Softball use of facilities
10.  Approve Technology purchase for 17-18 (Laptops)
11.  Approve Office Computer upgrades for 17-18
12.  Approve bid on roof project for summer 17
13.  Approve Drivers Ed fees/contract
14.  Approve sharing agreements (HR/Ag/Bus. MGR/Library)
15.  Personnel Recommendations
16.  Admin Reports
17.  Board Reflections of Meeting

18.  Adjournment

Next Meeting March 13, 2017, 6:00 PM NB JH/HS Media Center, Greene.

It’s Great to Be A Bearcat!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Is Public Education Under Attack?

Where is the future of public education in Iowa? As Superintendent of North Butler Community Schools, I can tell you that the staff and students here are doing fabulous things! The staff starts early and stays late to ensure that they are giving the students everything that they can. We also have FANTASTIC kids here! In the 2.5 years that I have been here, not one politician has been present in any of our buildings during school hours to see what we are doing! Yet they are deciding how much funding we get, and how we can and cannot expend those funds.

With the things that I am seeing on a daily basis within both of our buildings, I can’t help but wonder; Why are our politicians playing political games and spending so much time working to dismantle public education, when the future of our state and the education of our future leaders rely on our public education system? Are they telling us that our kids in public education are disposable, and the ones that matter are in private schools and being home schooled? I will let you look at some of the legislation that has been introduced already this session and let you make your own determination on that.

With the passage of current legislation, Iowa public schools will get 1.11% growth in Supplementary State Aid (SSA) for the next school year. 1.11% does not even keep up with the changing costs of doing business for us, let alone let us expand to meet the requirements set in place by the legislature in previous sessions. 2017-18 now marks what I believe is the 7th straight year that education has taken a backseat to other things in the legislature. Rural districts continue to eliminate programs, close buildings, and reduce staff to make ends meet.

Tax incentives and tax rebates to business in that time have more than doubled. When businesses are allowed these tax rebates, it also takes away from our funding sources. If they are sales tax rebates it takes away from our infrastructure funds. If they are property tax rebates it takes away from our general fund.

We now have a group pushing for a voucher system and Educational Savings Accounts for those who CHOOSE to home school or send their children to private schools. I guess for them it is nice to have that choice, but what about those that cannot make that choice? Where would the money come from to put such a system in place? We already do not fund public education properly-which is a right that is granted to every child in the state of Iowa, but now people who have made a personal choice on how they educate their children who are demanding that OUR taxpayer dollars fund that choice. I see no alternative place where those funds would come from than education, and our legislators and Governor Branstad continually tell us that we cannot afford to fund public education appropriately! Where does this add up?

Politics along party lines seems to have replaced common sense in the state house. Our politicians seem to be more worried about voting along their parties predetermined platform than doing what is right for the future of our state. Both John Adams and George Washington warned against a 2 party system nearly 250 years ago, as Adams stated There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”

Washington stated in his farewell address The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”

If you take a solid look at what is happening in our country and our state at this time, their fears seem to be coming to fruition!

It seems that no matter what we say as educators, our professional opinions and expertise seem to fall on deaf ears. We have been asked for our opinions at times, then decisions go directly against the information given! I believe it is time for all of us to call on our elected officials to do what is right for our children, and not worry about their parties predetermined agenda. These officials need to get out and see what is actually happening in our schools, and see the effects of recent legislation. We have worked for several years toward implementation of a new assessment system, and that is now on hold. Educators work tirelessly to provide the best we can for our kids and our communities, and get little to no respect as professionals. We are training tomorrow’s doctors, lawyers, and nurses who will be caring for us as we age! I don’t know about you, but I think we should be putting everything that we can into our future!