South Winn/Turkey Valley discuss future
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 2:46 PM
The South Winneshiek and Turkey Valley school boards are beginning to collect information that will assist both districts in planning for the future as they deal with enrollment and budget concerns.
Everything from sharing agreements to consolidation will be on the table as board members explore the best path to take in the next several years, according to South Winn/Turkey Valley Superintendent Clark Goltz.
During the South Winneshiek School Board meeting last week, Goltz reported the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) will be sharing financial profiles of both districts at a work session of the boards tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. either Wednesday, Sept. 17, or Monday, Sept. 22, at Northeast Iowa Community College’s Wilder Building auditorium.
No decisions or recommendations will be made during the session.
“This is the first step in a process to determine what is going to be the direction for South Winneshiek and Turkey Valley in the future,” Goltz said.
He emphasized that process will be “as transparent as possible” and information will be relayed to patrons in a timely fashion.
Finances first topic
“We’re trying to educate our communities on different aspects – the first one is financial status. The next might be what options a district can look at if they don’t want to remain independent. What are the options – whole-grade sharing, a charter school, emphasis on shared staff, or even looking at the option of consolidation? We can’t look at (the options) until we know the backgrounds (of both districts),” Goltz said.
Arrangements with other neighboring school districts also may be considered, he said.
During the upcoming work session, IASB representatives will show revenues and expenditures side-by-side for each district, Goltz said.
“They’ll talk about financial solvency. How solvent is the district and what does the future look like? What is the general fund balance history? What about enroll ment trends? What is the amount of money spent for staff and benefits? Those financial indicators will be really revealing,” he said.
If citizens can’t attend the work session planned for next month, or future work sessions, Goltz said he or other school administrators would be available to speak to local civic groups on the topic of school planning. Eventually, he expects district residents to be surveyed,
“We’re starting slowly. It needs to start slow to make sure we don’t have mistakes … we’re just going down the track trying to find out what’s going to happen. We’ll find the right direction for both districts,” he said.
Before he was hired as joint Turkey Valley/South Winneshiek superintendent in May, Goltz was an educational consultant at Turkey Valley for four years. He also is a former South Winneshiek Elementary/Middle School principal.
“I’m excited to be in the position to help people. Both districts have strong characteristics – we want to find the best in both of them. Both boards have the students upper most in their minds and finding what is the best way to help students learn and grow,” Goltz said.
He said he would continue to work to educate board members about education funding sources and opportunities. He cited the Turkey Valley Board’s recent action to approve the sharing of a maintenance director and transportation director with New Hampton as an example.
“There are financial incentives from the state to do that. We took advantage of it,” Goltz said.