Superintendent's Report; 2-19-14

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Superintendent February Report to Board

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Superintendent's Report; 2-19-14

  1. 1. Laurel School District Superintendent’s Report Wednesday, February 19, 2014 7:00 p.m. Laurel HS, Media Center John D. Ewald Superintendent of
  2. 2. Items The Purpose of this Editorial is to Share Facts  Capital Budget Referendum  Town Hall Meetings   Students  Staff  Parents Community Construction Site Tours  Emergency Weather Conditions 
  3. 3. The Purpose of this Editorial is to Share Facts   The Purpose of this Editorial is to Share Facts As a former Principal and currently as a Superintendent of Schools, I at times find myself writing letters to the community to share facts. The purpose of such letters is just that, to share facts. Usually, such letters are the result of an incident at a school or in a community that requires the clarifying of information as well as the encouragement to dialogue with principal, staff or me in the event of questions. The purpose of this editorial is to do just that, to share facts about Laurel School District Schools as well as encourage dialogue with staff or me.  Recently, Letters to the Editor and articles included information that requires clarity. But first, I commend the local press for its ongoing coverage of events, whether academic, athletic, dramatic or other, in Laurel School District Schools.  Laurel School District Schools Construction Referendums & Projects As you may know, a Construction Referendum was passed in 2010 for;     New High and Middle School and Land (C.N. 1216 A-B) Construction New Elementary School and Demolition, Restoration and Improvements to North Laurel Elementary (C.N. 1216 D-E) Selective Demolition of the Existing Middle School, including but not limited to the Field House and Selective Renovation of Remaining School Facilities (C.N. 1216 F)
  4. 4. The Purpose of this Editorial is to Share Facts  As you see, selective demolition is stated. From the input received, the Board, within its governance authority, unanimously approved the demolition of Laurel Intermediate Middle School. As I have heard from some in our community, “This just seems like the typical bait and switch.”  While members in our community may feel this way, it is important to note that the Laurel School District is not only aware of past practices and working to prevent them while maintaining a high level of accountability, open communication and transparency. But, the Laurel School District is also working diligently to remain responsive to our students and their needs, current and future conditions and highly accountable and responsive to our stakeholders.  The decision to demolish Laurel Intermediate Middle School was made after a thorough gathering of information. Key points from the information gathered were;  If any area of the existing building was selectively removed/demolished, the remaining building in full is expected to be brought up to existing code. This is estimated to cost around $28 million, or more. This amount is well beyond funds approved and available from the referendum passed in 2010.  The existing ongoing costs to simply open Laurel Intermediate Middle School on a daily basis are not cost effective. The cost spent on electricity for this facility is counter intuitive.  While the facility is safe to occupy, existing pipes and structures continue to erode and require complete replacement.
  5. 5. The Purpose of this Editorial is to Share Facts  Additionally, the Board, within its governance authority, unanimously approved the construction of a 1200 student elementary school on the current Laurel Intermediate Middle School site.  Specific to the Referendum voted on and passed in 2010 regarding the construction of a new elementary school, it states, “. . . on lands currently owned by the district . . .” Again, after gathering ample information from stakeholders including;  community members from five (5) Elementary School Construction Project Community Forums,  Delaware Department of Transportation Personnel  Department of Education  Becker Morgan Group Architects  RY Johnson Construction  Western Sussex County Supervisors of Facilities  it was clear that the North Laurel Elementary School site was not an appropriate site for a 1200 student elementary school as a result of its impact on traffic flow, site acreage and accessibility.  With this information, the Board voted unanimously to construct a new elementary school on the current Laurel Intermediate Middle School site.
  6. 6. The Purpose of this Editorial is to Share Facts  Laurel Middle School Laurel High School Athletic Stadium  As a result of a competitive construction bid environment as well as ongoing financial monitoring, oversight and responsibility, surplus funds became available from the existing Ballot Bond Issue which passed in 2010. With the approval of the Laurel School District Board of Education, these surplus funds are being used to provide the Laurel community with an athletic stadium at the new Laurel Middle School Laurel High School facility. Other than the approved referendum, no additional taxes are being raised for this project. 
  7. 7. The Purpose of this Editorial is to Share Facts    DE Code Title 14 Chapter 20 Standard School Construction As Laurel School District Schools’ construction projects for our students continue, some have raised questions regarding fees. As you may know, in 2006 the General Assembly enacted 14 Del. C 2006 which states that:  “. . . no county or municipality is permitted to assess permit fees, impact fees, or other assessments on a school district for any school construction project.”  The only exceptions to this prohibition are the charging of utility fees for the usage of the utility provided the rate is no higher than that of other properties within the municipality, and a surcharge relating to building permit construction value to provide funding for volunteer or ambulance companies.  The Laurel School District will continue to be good stewards of finances and resources to serve our students and their educational needs.
  8. 8. The Purpose of this Editorial is to Share Facts  Emergency Weather Conditions  It appears that our region as experienced quite a winter thus far. Recently, the District has had to make decisions to delay or close schools as a result of emergency weather conditions including extremely frigid temperatures, State of Emergency, fog, ice and substantial snow fall.  The safety and security of our students and staff remains our first priority. To that end, emergency weather conditions’ decisions are made only after ample information is gathered from multiple sources specific to current and forecasted weather and road conditions.  Once a decision to delay or close school is made, multiple tools are used to inform our stakeholders.
  9. 9. The Purpose of this Editorial is to Share Facts    Ongoing Dialogue and Engagement I hope this information has been helpful, either to clarify information or answer questions. I encourage you to contact my staff or me directly if you have questions. Additionally, I welcome you to join me at an upcoming town hall meeting to dialogue and stay informed. Thank you.
  10. 10. Capital Budget Referendum     Question 1 The voters of the Laurel School District are asked to approve the issuance of bonds to fund the activities described in the following Certificates of Necessity: New High and Middle School and Land (C.N. 1216 AB) 1216 A Planning, construction and equipping of a new 1,400 pupil High School/Middle School combined facility to replace the existing Laurel High School and Middle School on lands currently owned and acquired by the District.
  11. 11. Capital Budget Referendum    Construction New Elementary School and Demolition, Restoration and Improvements to North Laurel Elementary (C.N. 1216 D-E) 1216 D Planning, construction and equipping of a new 1,200 pupil Elementary School to replace the existing North Laurel and P.L. Dunbar Elementary Schools on lands currently owned by the district, and utilizing the education campus, school-within-aschool concept. 1216 E Engineering, abatement, demolition and site restoration/improvements of the North Laurel
  12. 12. Capital Budget Referendum  Selective Demolition of the Existing Middle School, including but not limited to the Field House and Selective Renovation of Remaining School Facilities (C.N. 1216 F) Planning, abatement, engineering and selective demolition of the existing Laurel Middle School to include but not limited to the Field House and selective renovation of remaining school facilities.
  13. 13. February Town Hall Meetings  Laurel Intermediate Middle School    Students   12:15 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. Staff   Tuesday, February 25, 2014 Media Center 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Parents  6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  14. 14. Community Construction Site Tours  Monday, 12-16-13, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Wednesday,  Saturday, 1-25-14, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  Wednesday,  Saturday, 1-8-14, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. 2-12-14, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. 2-22-14, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
  15. 15. Emergency Weather Conditions  Emergency Weather Conditions Decisions Scheduled to be Made and Shared by 5:15 a.m.  Emergency Weather Conditions Decisions Scheduled to be Shared through Connect ED, Laurel All Staff Email, District Web Site & Media Outlets.  In the event of a weather an Emergency Weather Conditions school closing for the day, that week’s Wednesday Delayed Opening is canceled as appropriate.
  16. 16. And as a Result . . .  As of Friday, February 14, 2014;     Students have missed 44.5 hours. Staff have missed 6 days. Winter is not yet over. Discussing options and planning for recommendation to Board of Education in the near future.
  17. 17. THINK
  18. 18. From the Superintendent  “And we have only had one football player make it to the pros!”
  19. 19. What percentage of high school athletes go pro?  Less than 1%
  20. 20. College & Career Readiness?!  “What’s with this college and career readiness thing?! These kids can’t get to college, make it in college or graduate from college!”
  21. 21. Rural Students Leap Hurdles to College  Nationally  27% College Enrollment Rate
  22. 22. Laurel Students Leap to College  Laurel  67% College Enrollment Rate
  23. 23. 2014 College Acceptances  As of Friday, February 14, 2014    Sixteen (16) of 99 Diploma Candidates have been accepted to a college or university. Scholarships earned to date equal;  $836,800.00 Colleges & Universities to be Attended Include;             Christopher Newport University Delaware State University Eastern University George Mason University McDaniel College Salisbury University Southern Wesleyan University Temple University University of Delaware University of Maryland, Eastern Shore Virginia Wesleyan College Washington Adventist University

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