Wellness Center

I’ve been told there is some discussion occurring in our communities about the new Wellness Center, specifically about the financing used to build the facility.  At Monday’s (8-25-14) Board meeting, the following statement was read and subsequently posted on our school website:

There has been some chatter regarding financing of the new Wellness Center.  The entire Wellness Center project is being paid for from the SAVE fund (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education) – formerly known as the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) or School Infrastructure Local Option (SILO) – the state sales tax penny.  Each year the state takes all the revenue from the 1 cent sales tax for school infrastructure and disseminates it to every school district through a formula; last year the allotment for Interstate 35 was $727,197.81.  We anticipate our SAVE revenue for this year to be approximately $750,000.  As a district, we have used this money from the state penny (SAVE) to fully fund construction of the Wellness Center – there was no local tax money used to build the facility, e.g., tax rates did NOT go up – in fact the school’s overall tax rate decreased 12 cents this year.

I really don’t know where rumors or half-truths come from – I guess someone says something and it gets repeated, regardless whether it’s true or not – in the old days we called it gossip I guess.  The facts about the Wellness Center is that it is being paid totally from state penny money (SAVE fund).  If in the future anyone has a question, just ask and we’ll do everything we can to provide you with a straightforward, factual answer – that’s how a transparent system is supposed to work.

Also regarding the Wellness Center, our plan is to put together a program which makes the facility available for public use at specified times. Secondary Principal Steve Kaster asked for a committee of community volunteers to work through guidelines, policy, potential liability issues, etc. to make the Wellness Center open at designated times for community use; the committee met for the first time on Tuesday night (8-26-14).  Obviously the facility was built to benefit our kids and that is our first priority – it is being used as part of our physical education curriculum as well as by athletic teams – but we want to make times available so our patrons may also use the facility. There will be some additional costs to the district to do this so the committee will wade through user-fees/membership costs – please note the district has no intention of making money on this, we just want it to be revenue neutral as money should not be taken away from educating our students – that is our priority.  In any case, watch this blog, our district website, etc. in the coming weeks and months – should be pretty darn exciting!

Hug a loved one

As you are likely aware, before coming to Interstate 35 CSD I served four years as superintendent at East Sac County CSD – west central Iowa.  I went back to East Sac County yesterday – for a visitation of a 16 year old sophomore girl and the funeral of a 16 year old junior girl.  A week ago they buried a 16 year junior girl who open enrolled into the district.  Two students are still in the hospital from the accident; two others are home and trying to deal with unbelievable emotions.  As you can imagine, the impact of these tragedies is felt throughout the school and small communities.  Perhaps the only “positive” of this whole mess is the way good people band together to support each other, especially in tragic times.  However, as a parent and now grandparent, it absolutely pulled my heart out to see, visit with and hug the families of these kids. 

Tragic accidents occur – I refer to things like this as life throwing us curveballs – however, don’t ever take for granted what we have with our families and friends.  If you have kids – tell them you love them and give them a hug and don’t wait to do it.  If you don’t have kids, go to a loved one and tell them you love them and give them a hug and don’t wait to do it.  Life is too precious to allow all the craziness of the day-to-day lives we lead to get in the way of what really is important.

Also please allow me to go further up on my soapbox – there was both alcohol and texting involved in one of the two accidents – did both contribute to the tragedy – the official investigation continues but I don’t think you need an advanced degree to surmise the answer is yes, both contributed to the death of two 16 year old girls. As parents, do whatever you can to support our kids making wise, safe decisions – alcohol and texting do NOT classify as wise decisions.  As a school, we spend a great deal of time helping reinforce making positive decisions, as well as what happens when poor decisions are made – but it isn’t enough and frankly never will be.  The only way we slow down and hopefully stop tragedies like what happened at East Sac County is for EVERYONE to work together – for the safety and benefit of our children.

Please keep the families, East Sac County Schools, and the communities in your prayers as they face a tragic situation … and let’s all do everything we can to minimize the chance Interstate 35 is dealing with the same situation in the future.

Off and Running!

Hi everyone,

We had our first day of school on Wednesday, August 20 – and we’re off and running with the 2014-2015 school year!  I absolutely love all the sounds and excitement that happens when school resumes in the fall – it is exhilarating for sure!  My wife Nancy and I are thrilled to be part of the Interstate 35 school system!  We have three grown children and one grandson – and might I say our grandson is undoubtedly the cutest child in the history of the world! 🙂  Prior to coming to I-35, I served for four years as superintendent at East Sac County in west central Iowa.  Previously I served as an associate professor of education at Wartburg College for nine years – as high school/secondary principal for 12 years at Denver and Waverly-Shell Rock – and 10 years as a high school social studies teacher at Denver.  My wife Nancy is a RN-BSN with a strong background in cardiac rehab.

Being new, it may be helpful to share one basic, simple, yet powerful philosophy – Schools are about the kids, period.  I know this is oversimplified but think about it – without students there would be no reason for schools.  Are the “others” within a school (parents, teachers, associates, bus drivers, cooks, custodians, directors, coaches, secretaries, administrators) important?  Absolutely – schools are like an ecosystem where all the various parts are intricately linked – but the thing that holds everything together is the students!

I would encourage you to visit this blog regularly as it is intended to be a communication tool to share with district constituents.   GO ROADRUNNERS!