Monday, August 21, 2017

Early Voting/Polling Sites and Bond Facts

Good morning CCA Community. Today marks the first day of early voting for both the bond referendum and for the open board of directors positions for CCA. Note that the precincts are different for early voting.



Friday, August 11, 2017

What if the bond fails?

A question that has come up several times is, "What happens if the bond fails?" In the event the bond fails the district will need to take other measures in order to alleviate the over crowding at North Bend Elementary and Tiffin Elementary. At this point there is not a hard plan with Board of Education approval to deal with that possible reality. One of two scenarios to deal with the over crowding seem likely:

1. Beginning in 18-19 students could be bussed from North Bend Elementary to Clear Creek Elementary or Amana Elementary. Students would need to be bussed from Tiffin Elementary beginning in the 19-20 school year. It's likely that fifth grade students would be transported first, with fourth graders being added as dictated by available space at North Bend Elementary and Tiffin Elementary.

2. Another option would be to reconfigure the elementary attendance boundaries. In order to alleviate the overcrowding at North Bend and Tiffin Elementary Schools the Clear Creek Elementary boundary would need to be moved east, to include more students from Tiffin. At this time I do not know exactly where the boundary would have to be in order to move enough students to Clear Creek Elementary. The Tiffin Elementary Boundary would then need to be adjusted to bring in students from the current North Bend Elementary attendance area. That could mean bringing students from the northern part of North Liberty to Tiffin Elementary. Again, we would need to closely analyze the student numbers to ensure moving enough students to balance the attendance at North Bend and Tiffin Elementary Schools.

Neither of these options are ideal, and neither deals with the long term challenges of enrollment growth. These options also create increased expenditures from the general fund, especially option 1, with the increased bussing.

It's also important to keep in mind that if we utilize every classroom in Clear Creek and Amana Elementary Schools our elementary enrollment will still surpass capacity in the 2021-2022 school year. So, the district will be forced to add more classroom space by that time. Another consideration is that construction costs inflate at approximately 3% each year. So, the $36 million  of improvements proposed on the current bond would cost $38,192,400 in two years.

The increased student enrollment is coming to CCA. Without the facilities provided by the proposed bond one of these options will need to be utilized in the short term. The district will absolutely need to add increased classroom space by 2021-2022 for elementary students and the high school will surpass its capacity of 900 students in 2022-2023.

Sincerely,

Tim Kuehl, CCA Superintendent

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Baseball / Softball Fields

In light of concerns raised regarding the baseball and softball fields here is some information regarding some of what I've seen. Please feel free to contact me directly, timkuehl@ccaschools.org, if you would like to discuss further. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this in person.

The concerns about the facilities are understood and shared by the Board and administration. The distance to the softball field is inconvenient and a safety concern. The condition of the baseball field is not at the level that we expect for CCA facilities. We are working to resolve these issues, but fiscal resources are real limiting factors.

During the work of the facilities committee last summer they discussed these facilities, but chose to focus on the academic environment of CCA students with their bond proposal to the Board. Historically, extracurricular facilities have been constructed using the SAVE fund, revenue to the district from the State $0.01 sales tax.

Assertion that the baseball/softball complex was on the 2008 bond issue. This is not true. The ballot language at the time addressed a new elementary school, new high school, land purchase and site improvements. Site improvements referred to working on the land directly around the new buildings, specifically at North Bend, which was the new land purchase. From what I have gathered there were conceptual drawings developed showing this complex to the south of the high school. It was not ever engineered at that time. I have been told that it was part of discussion of a "second phase". I wasn't involved in the discussions at that time, but it evidently was removed from those plans at some point.

During the last year the district has researched putting a complex at the high school site. Engineers have worked on the needed grading, the building and grounds director has put together costs for the development of a complex. The cost of developing competition diamonds for baseball and softball is just under $900,000. At this time the district does not have funds available in the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) or SAVE (State $0.01 sales tax) funds to cover this expense. The PPEL funds are used for bus purchases, technology purchases, and facilities maintenance. The SAVE funds were largely tied up with the construction of the high school outdoor athletic complex, Performing Arts Center, and the last pod of classrooms at North Bend. The extension of the SAVE fund by the Iowa Legislature would provide the needed funds to make this complex a reality.

This spring during budget development the PPEL/SAVE Committee of the Board discussed regrading the current baseball facility. The cost would be approximately $250,000. After lengthy discussion the committee decided to postpone the project, waiting to see if the legislature will extend the SAVE funds as they discussed during this session. Those funds are reserved in the SAVE budget at this time.

While I certainly understand that this issue is a real, pertinent issue, I hope that it can be resolved without muddying the waters of the bond. Please learn as much as you can about the circumstances creating the bond proposal and vote for or against that based on it's own merits. I can be reached by email: timkuehl@ccaschools.org, phone: 319-215-2200 to answer your questions.

Upcoming Bond presentations, all are at 6:30 in the school library:
7/13 Tiffin Elementary
7/18 Amana Elementary
7/20 Clear Creek Elementary
8/7   North Bend Elementary (rescheduled from 7/11)

Sincerely,

Tim Kuehl

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bond Referendum Informational Meetings

Good morning Clippers,

On September 12 our district will be voting on a bond referendum of $36 million. Projects to be completed by this bond include a new elementary building, addition to the high school, gymnasium at Clear Creek Elementary, HVAC upgrade at Amana Elementary, security upgrades at Amana Elementary, Clear Creek Elementary, and North Bend Elementary, an additional drive on the west end of the middle school, and additional parking at the high school. In July the district will be holding informational meetings around the district to inform patrons about the projects, enrollment projections, and tax impact of the proposed bond.

All meetings will begin at 6:30 pm. Meetings will be held in the library of the buildings on the following dates: North Bend Elementary, July 11; Tiffin Elementary, July 13; Amana Elementary, July 18, and Clear Creek Elementary on July 20. We hope to reach as many patrons as possible, so please share these dates with your friends and neighbors.

Sincerely,
Tim Kuehl
Superintendent

Friday, May 12, 2017

Bond Petition Language and Multi-Year Facilities Plan


At their regular meeting on May 10, 2017 the CCA Board of Education approved Bond Petition Language for the sale of bonds up to $36 million dollars. Community members will be seeking signatures on the petition over the next several weeks. Any CCA community member may gather signatures on the petition form pictured below. If you would like a blank petition you can contact the district office, 319-828-4510. In order to go before the Board of Education at their June 14th meeting, the petitions must be returned to Board President, Steve Swenka, at 327 S Augusta Ave., Oxford IA 52322 not sooner than June 5th and no later than 4:00 pm on June 14th.

The submission of the petition(s) at the June 14 Board of Education will trigger the bond vote being on the September ballot.  The Facilities Plan as you see it here is the result of the work of the Facilities Committee last summer and then the conversation with the Board that several of the Committee members were able to attend in the fall. It was decided by the Board after that discussion that including a new elementary in this bond was the "best" path with the bonding capacity presented by Piper-Jaffray. The top portion of the plan would be impacted by the September 2017 vote. The bottom portion is an anticipated bond vote in 2022.

Some anticipated questions:
1. How would passage of the bond impact the CCA tax rate?
Below is history and projection of the CCA tax rate. We anticipate maintaining a relatively constant overall tax rate of $16.94-$16.95 for the foreseeable future. Our Debt Service rate cannot exceed the voter approved rate of $4.05, currently $4.03. If the district maintains the debt service near that maximum level, other levies, could be manipulated in order to maintain the overall rate at current levels.



2. What if the bond fails?
If the bond fails the district will need to bus students from North Bend Elementary and Tiffin Elementary to Clear Creek Elementary and Amana Elementary. North Bend and Tiffin will be over capacity in the very near future, see previous post. The district would need to utilize available classroom space at CCE and AE in order to manage class sizes across the district. Additional bussing would increase General Fund expenditures, which consumes dollars that could otherwise be used for teacher salaries and instructional materials. With funding levels from the State running low, maintaining adequate funds in the General Fund is already a challenge.

3. Will elementary attendance areas be changed with the addition of another elementary in Tiffin?
Not likely. With the anticipated growth in the Tiffin, North Liberty, and Coralville communities maintaining adequate space will continue to be a challenge for CCA. When the new elementary, hopefully, comes online in August 2019 the intention would be for it to be a 4-5 center for Tiffin Elementary and North Bend Elementary. This will allow the district to maintain the current elementary boundaries for K-3 students and fits with the long-range plan of a new, larger high school, conversion of the current high school to a 6-8 middle school, and conversion of the current middle school to a 4-5 center, and elementary schools to a PK-3 configuration.

Please feel free to email me at: timkuehl@ccaschools.org with any questions you have, or post them as a comment on this post. 

It's an exciting time for the Clippers!

Tim Kuehl
Superintendent




Friday, May 5, 2017

CCA Enrollment Projections

CCA continues to see growing enrollment and the projections from RSP and associates show a likely continued increase for the foreseeable future. The enrollment growth is concentrated in the communities of Tiffin, North Liberty, and Coralville. Each of these cities have a number of developments in our district which will bring more students to CCA.

One concern that I hear periodically is that students open enrolling into CCA are causing the need for increased capacity in our facilities. While we do see a positive balance in open enrollment at CCA, the net has remained fairly constant over the past several years at approximately 200 students open enrolled into the district. The need for increased instructional space is due entirely to the developments within our district and the resulting increase in resident students.

Below you will see two charts from the RSP report that demonstrate our historical growth and projected enrollment over the next five years.

The RSP report in it's entirety can be found HERE

Enrollment Projections:



The Facilities Committee developed a proposal which the Board of Education reviewed and is moving forward with. Look for that post in the near future!

If you have any questions regarding this post please contact me at timkuehl@ccaschools.org.

While the enrollment growth brings challenges to our schools and communities, it is an exciting and positive time to be a Clipper!

Sincerely,

Tim Kuehl
Superintendent

cpreston: The current plan was not an administrative recommendation. It came about at a fall work session where several Facilities Committee members worked with the Board. You are correct, the budget was increased from $25 million to $35 million per the updated projections from Piper-Jaffray. The timing for the Facilities Committee was definitely not ideal. What came out of that work session was consensus that if adding the elementary to the Committee's proposal was feasible, the district should pursue it.

The higher projections for Tiffin Elementary are related to the known planned developments in that attendance area. There is a large development beginning in Tiffin to the north and west of Tiffin Elementary. There is also planned development in the near future in Coralville, the West Land Use Area, on the east side of 380.