Nevis to launch informational campaign for levy vote
Three of the four candidates vying for a position on the Nevis School Board received a nomination this week; Jeannette Dudley earned the nod.
Board member Marv Vredenburg nominated Justin Isaacson, a Nevis alum. Gary Stennes, citing his experience as a board member and teacher, proposed Jim Lien for the position. Ed Becker nominated Dudley, citing her familiarity with the school and her experience as a manager.
"There is no bad pick," Becker said. "Everyone was great," he said of interviews held prior to the meeting. "That's exciting."
The appointment was made following the resignation of Richard Schmidt. Dudley will assume Schmidt's former role as board treasurer.
"It's good to have a woman to straighten you out," Isaacson joked after the vote. Board members encouraged him to throw his hat in the ring in the next election.
In other action, with Dudley sworn in, the board:
n Approved a proposed 2012 property tax levy of $631,100, which is the maximum levy. The amount is $24,279 more than 2011.
Two major changes reflected in the 2012 levy are the elimination of the existing operating levy ($36,482) and not having the reduction for debt excess ($67,148) that was payable in 2011, superintendent Steve Rassier explained.
The levy will increase if the proposed operating levy is approved by voters Nov. 8, Rassier said.
The district will ask voters to approve $252 per pupil operating levy, double the existing levy of $126, which expires at year's end.
Voters will also be asked to "increase general education revenue" by an additional $225 per pupil for technology. This is contingent on passage of the first question; voters cannot approve the second question without passing the $252 operating levy.
The levy would be applicable for seven years.
A special election will be held from 2:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8.
A meeting was to convene Thursday to discuss developing an informational campaign for voter approval. Community education director Ronda DeWulf is the coordinator.
n Set a Truth in Taxation meeting for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28. The final property tax levy must be adopted by Dec. 28.
n Reviewed MCA and ACT test scores.
Math tests were administered to all students in grades 3-8 and 11, reading in grades 3-8 and 10 and science in grades 5, 8 and 10.
"Changes to the curriculum are paying off," Becker remarked.
Last year's Nevis third graders achieved the "highest (district) score ever" in reading at 94.7 passing, (78.5 the state average) but math scores were below the state average at 57.9 (70.1).
The fourth grade reading passing percentage was 76.5 (75.2) and math 70.5 (67.2).
Fifth grade reading scores continue to climb, 88.9 percent passing (80.3) but math scores dropped from previous years, 69.5 (53.6). A tougher test sent scores down statewide.
Fifth grade science scores were 55.2 (46).
Sixth graders earned an 81.6 passing percentage in reading (75.1) and 62.1 in Math (50.3).
Seventh grade percentages were 66.7 in reading (69.6) and 52.6 in math (51.7).
Eighth grade results were 72.1 percent passing in reading (68.1), 51.1 in math (53.2) and 35.6 in science (44.4).
Tenth grade reading scores were 76.6 in reading (75.3) and 61.7 in science (53.8).
Students must pass the reading test to graduate, "but we've never held a diploma," Rassier said.
Junior's math scores were 48.4 (48.6). Students are not required to pass the entire test to graduate.
A comparison of Nevis test scores with area districts found Nevis to rank consistently well, at or near the top at many grade levels.
Nevis' composite ACT Test score is 22.6 which compares with a state composite of 22.9 and a national of 21.1. Approximately 50 percent of Nevis students take the test.
n Agreed to proceed with a concession stand, restrooms and storage facility in the athletic complex at an estimated cost of $60,000.
"The project has been discussed many times in the past, but becomes more viable this year as our construction trades class does not have a home to build, providing us with the labor needed to construct this facility," Rassier said.
The Hubbard County Housing and Redevelopment Authority is not coordinating another building project until the last home constructed by the school has been sold.
"We hope the HRA projects continue," Rassier said. "But it looks doubtful."
n Approved an employment agreement with K-12 principal John Strom, with a salary of $85,358 for the 2011-12 school year.
n Learned meetings on a "school within a school" to create a middle school continue. An initial meeting was well attended by staff.
n Approved work assignments and contracts for Stacy Feder as School Readiness education assistant, Jennifer McNamee as School Readiness teacher, Rebecca Scraper as bookkeeper, Sarah Kading, ECFE parent education and Dianne Saak and Renee Becker as co-health assistants.
n Appointed Sherm Anderson to the Region I Joint Powers Board, a vacancy created with the resignation of Schmidt.
n Approved Savannah Stenberg as 9th grade volleyball coach.