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There are so many conversations taking place across the Charles City Community School District, and that’s good news. We are encouraged to know that the education of our 1500+ students is a priority and we trust that the quality of their educational experience is at the heart of those conversations.
The Charles City Community School District is your best source of information on school matters. We encourage you to ask us questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond with factual and timely information. Even more, we encourage you to read the board agendas, minutes, and exhibits. You also can watch all school board meetings at the Charles City Public Access Network, either on Mediacom Channel 4 or at http://charlescitypan.com.
For your convenience, questions are grouped by categories below. If you have a question that you don’t see listed, please let us know.
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FACILITIES & FINANCE QUESTIONS:
Q: Why didn’t I get to vote on the middle school addition to the high school?
A: Simply put: that would be illegal. Residents already approved revenue purpose statements in September of 2009 regarding how sales tax and PPEL monies would be spent. The two issues received 86% and 84% support respectively. Iowa law does not allow for a straw poll election like, “Should we spend sales tax and PPEL money on a new school or a new bus barn” to be held.
Q: Will the new middle school raise my property taxes?
A: No. The new middle school is being paid for with Sales Tax and Physical Plant & Equipment Levy (PPEL) monies.
Q: How much would it cost to totally renovate the middle school as a middle school?
A: Almost $24 million dollars. Neumann Monson Architects provided the following cost estimates in February of 2014: $21,105,880 (school), $2,184,000 (auditorium), and $530,046 (pool) for a total of $23,819,926.
Q: Why is the FEH Design cost less than the Neumann Monson cost?
A: The FEH Design projection of $6.7 million dollars is for minimal renovation to the building. It does not include new electrical, technology, piping, etc. You can view the documents at our District website under District News. Also, you can watch the August 19 discussion of this topic at http://charlescitypan.com/special-programing/
Q: How will the new middle school impact the high school?
A: Middle school music students will share the existing high school music rooms. Some middle school students will take a high school class or two. Other than that, there will be little interaction between middle and high school students.
Q: When are we voting on a new high school?
A: There is no date set for an election.
Q: Why didn’t the school board use the money for the new middle school on academics, like offering more Advanced Placement courses?
A: Sales tax and PPEL money cannot be used for that purpose. (see graphic below)
Q: Why didn’t the school board use the money for the new middle school to pay teachers more instead?
A: Sales tax and PPEL money cannot be used for salaries. (see graphic below)
Q: How much money is set aside each year for maintenance on the buildings?
A: Almost $14 million dollars is set aside over the next 15 years. In the 2015-16 school year, the amount is $750,000. It grows by 3% each year. In the final year of repayment on the middle school project, the amount set aside for maintenance is $1,134,442. See the board exhibit from January 26, 2015, to review the entire document.
Q: Does the amount set aside for annual maintenance for the 15-year period from 2015-2030 assume that the PPEL will be extended?
A: No. The amount set aside is the same whether PPEL is extended or not.
Q: How was the new middle school designed?
A: The new Charles City Middle School was designed with input from middle school students, teachers, and community members. It is unlike the traditional classroom layout that most people experienced as kids. The learning studio (classrooms) are designed for multiple uses, from small groups to the entire grade level.
Q. Why make this change in design? Why not use typical classrooms?
A: The skills needed to be successful in the 21st century are different. Collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical-thinking skills require a more flexible learning environment that can easily adapt to differing needs and situations. The design of the new Charles City Middle School reflects that.
Q: Is the District going to build a new bus barn?
A: Yes. The design is finished and we anticipate construction taking place next spring and summer. We hope to have the first phase done by August.
Q: What is included in Phase I of the bus barn project?
A: Phase I will include storage for District vans and cars, an indoor wash bay for buses, two work bays, and office space.
Q: What is included in Phase II of the bus barn project?
A: Phase II of the project is to construct a building where buses can be parked and kept out of the elements.
Q: How much extra busing will there be due to the grade-alike change?
A: There is 1 additional bus going from Lincoln to Washington and 1 additional bus from Washington to Lincoln.
Q: How do Charles City students in grades 3-8 & 11 perform on the Iowa Assessments compared to their peers in AEA 267 and the State of Iowa on math scores?
A: In 2013-14, the most recent data on the Iowa Department of Education website, Charles City students in grades 6-8 outperformed their peers in AEA 267 and the State of Iowa in math. Students in grade 11 were within 1% of their peers in the AEA and the State. Students in grades 3-5 did not achieve as highly as their peers. (Note, AEA 267 serves over 66,000 students in 53 public school districts and 17 non-public school districts that stretch from the Minnesota border to Central Iowa.)
Q: How do Charles City students in grades 3-8 & 11 perform on the Iowa Assessments compared to their peers in AEA 267 and the State of Iowa on reading proficiency scores?
A: In 2013-14, the most recent data on the Iowa Department of Education website, Charles City students in grades 5-8 & 11 outperformed their peers in AEA 267 and the State of Iowa in reading comprehension. Students in grades 3 & 4 did not achieve as highly as their peers.
Q: How do Charles City students in grades 3-8 & 11 perform on the Iowa Assessments compared to their peers in AEA 267 and the State of Iowa on science scores?
A: In 2013-14, the most recent data on the Iowa Department of Education website, Charles City students in grades 4-8 & 11 outperformed their peers in AEA 267 and the State of Iowa in science. Students in 3rd grade outperformed their peers in the AEA and were just one quarter of a percent behind the statewide proficiency rate.
Q: Is it true that our elementary schools are delinquent?
A: Washington and Lincoln are labeled as Schools in Need of Assistance (SINA) for math. Washington is SINA for reading. The entire list can be found at https://www.educateiowa.gov/documents/sinadina/2015/02/2014-2015-iowa-sina-list
Q: What are we doing about our SINA status?
A: Both schools have teams of teachers and administrators that have worked on developing plans to boost the academic performance of students. In the 2014-15 school year we invested in extensive teacher professional development in literacy and math. That will continue in 2015-16 because research indicates a teacher has two to three times the impact on student achievement than any other school factor. Also, a new math curriculum is in place in 2015-16.
Q: How do the ACT scores of Charles City HS students compare to those of students across Iowa?
A: Results from the graduating class of 2014, the most recent data available, showed that our graduates performed better than the state average in math and reading. The composite score for our graduates was 21.9 and for all students in Iowa it was 22.0. Charles City graduates from the classes of 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 had higher composite scores than their Iowa peers.
Q: How do Charles City graduates compare to their peers in terms of college readiness?
A: In terms of college readiness, as defined by ACT, 33% of our ACT-tested students met the standard in 2014 compared to 31% of students in Iowa.
Q: Can students at Charles City High School take Advanced Placement courses?
A: Yes. In 2015-16, students may take AP Government. Additional AP courses in math, science, and English will be phased in over the next two school years.
Q: What other advanced opportunities are available for Charles City High School students?
A: CCHS students may take college level courses like Composition, Public Speaking, Principles of Agronomy, and Agriculture Economics. This allows students to earn college credit. Many of these courses are taught by Charles City teachers.
Q: Are there new courses at Charles City High School this year?
A: Yes, there are 3 new courses. Each course is interdisciplinary. Humanities incorporates social studies and English. Construction math incorporates industrial technology and mathematics. Culinary science incorporates FCS and science. These innovative courses were added due to teacher and student interest.
Q: What is S.M.A.R.T lunch?
A: S.M.A.R.T lunch stands for Students Maximizing Achievement with Resources and Time. S.M.A.R.T lunch is an intervention/enrichment program in conjunction with our lunch hour. The program is approximately a 55-60 minute block of time between 4th and 5th period that will be broken into two separate 28-30 minute blocks. These blocks serve as scheduled time during the instructional day to meet the individual needs of students to ensure academic success and offer enrichment opportunities for students. S.M.A.R.T lunch also will be a time to hold different activities and help students develop time management and organizational skills in preparation for college and the workforce.
Q: Who will take part in the Northeast Regional Academy (NERA)?
A: Students with hearing and/or visual impairments who live in the Charles City Community School District or up to one hour away from Charles City will be encouraged to take part in the Academy.
Q: Where will the District put the Northeast Regional Academy (NERA) for students with hearing and/or visual impairments?
A: Students who take part in the NERA will receive services at the school building that they attend. For example, a 2nd-grade student who comes to Charles City to take part in the Academy would receive services at Washington. A 7th-grade student would receive services at the middle school.
Q: Does the District offer swimming to students?
A: The Charles City Community School District offers swimming in grades 6, 7, and 8. Charles City High School students are offered swim classes and lifeguarding certification.
Q: What types of Early Childhood programming is offered?
A: The District has expanded educational opportunities for our youngest Comets. In 2014-15 we implemented a Transitional Kindergarten class. For the 2015-16 school year we expanded our preschool.