Collins-Maxwell Schools issues update

Staff Writer
Tri-County Times

On Monday, the Collins-Maxwell school board issued this release, stating that it expects to formally accept the recently developed five-year business plan that was presented at the April board meeting. The plan maintains a stable tax levy rate over the next five years, while cutting primarily salary costs to about 90 percent of current expenditures.

Both administrative and teaching positions will be reduced in an effort to “right size” the district for the number of students being served. Operational sharing will allow for a more streamlined process of administration, with incentive dollars from the state and purchased administrative services rather than district salaried employees. The district has already approved a shared position with Baxter for a transportation director/activities director.

On May 9, Interim Superintendent Dr. Tom Lane will visit with the Ballard school board about possible central office operational sharing options. These positions could include superintendent, business manager and curriculum director. Both districts would realize significant incentive dollars from the state, with Collins-Maxwell purchasing services from Ballard. The savings alone from such a partnership could exceed $200,000. Neither district is interested in a Whole Grade Sharing agreement.

After a three-month break, a joint meeting of the Collins-Maxwell and Baxter school boards will take place on May 11, at 6:30 p.m., in the Baxter school commons. Harry Heilegenthal from the Iowa Association of School Boards will act as a facilitator for the event.

Over the past two months of district data review, one thing is crystal clear. Collins-Maxwell, like almost all other small Iowa school districts, finds itself in a difficult situation. Declining enrollment, inadequate state funding and increasing demands on student learners make it essential to find new learning options for students. This is why it is critical that operational sharing and partnering conversations continue. New, larger visions might be in order. As a district, we’ll continue to seek what is best for Collins-Maxwell students, especially when it comes to student learning experiences.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and promise to be very transparent in our procedures. In late May, we hope to host another community forum to update our community and listen to your concerns.