I hope you are doing well today and enjoying some of the warmer April weather! I know you are all busy people and finding time to read communications such as this can be a challenge. This update is a little long, but so much great stuff going on at ADM!

FY18 Budget and Tax Rate

At the April Board meeting the Board approved our FY18 tax rate and budget. Our total tax levy for next fiscal year is $17.92. We have held the tax rate at this level for three consecutive years and our high over the last ten years was in 2012 at $18.62. Keeping our property tax levy rate stable is always a budget goal for the Board.

The largest component of our overall budget is our “general fund”. Our general fund revenue for FY18 is $18,534,482.

For more information regarding our district finances, a great resource is our website:

http://www.admschools.org/district/departments/finances/

Iowa Assessment Scores and Graduation Rate

Two important data points for our district goals are performance on the Iowa Assessments and our Graduation Rate.

Students in grades 3-11 took the Iowa Assessments in February in the areas of math, science, and reading. The percentage of students proficient in each area are as follows:

Math:              88.2% (Goal – 90%)

Science:           90.7% (Goal – 92%)

Reading:          87.4% (Goal – 90%)

While we did not meet our district goals, we did show improvement in reading and math compared to 2016. These scores are very strong and well above the state average.

Our 2016 four-year co-hort graduation rate is 99%. Our district goal is 98%.

For a complete list of our district goals:

http://www.admschools.org/district/professional-learning-communities-plc/

Enrollment Growth Planning and Actions

As we have previously communicated, we received an updated enrollment projection from our demographer in February. These projections show a significantly stronger growth trend line than forecast prior to our 2014 bond issue. These projections show around 2,380 students in 2021-22. We are currently at 1,820.

At the April Board meeting, the School Board passed a resolution closing open enrollment for non-resident students for 2017-18 in grades K-12. It is important to note that students currently open enrolled in to ADM will be able to continue here and younger siblings will also be able to enroll.

This is a significant step for us, and one taken by some other growing districts like Norwalk and College Community. We currently have well over 200 students open enrolled in to ADM and the number ranges from around 10 up to over 25 in any one particular grade level.

Another step taken was to make a “pre-payment” on some existing general obligation bonds part of our FY18 budget. We will be making an additional payment of approximately $280,000 to help pay down our GO bond debt. This is similar to a homeowner making additional payments on their mortgage to pay off their house earlier. Making this pre-payment will help us regain “bonding capacity” needed to build at some point in the future. We anticipate this being a regular part of our annual budget in the near-term.

The Board also met in a work session with our financial advisor from Piper Jaffray to review financing scenarios and timelines. We will continue this work in the coming months to develop a more solid timeline.

Stay tuned. It is an exciting time to be a Tiger!

Stadium Building Construction Set To Begin

The second phase of the athletic outdoor improvement as developed by a committee in 2015 is set to start when the stadium building construction begins this month. This building includes men’s and women’s restrooms, a family restroom, concessions area and storage, ticket taking area, and officials changing area. Part of the project includes improving ADA accessibility to the stadium and the addition of handicapped parking spaces close to the entrance of the stadium. This construction is financed by statewide sales tax revenue we receive on an annual basis. The scope of this building was reduced significantly due to cost concerns.

The first phase – track, synthetic field, storage building and scoreboard – was also financed using statewide sales tax revenue. We bonded against future sales tax revenue to finance this phase, the largest part of the master plan. The track and field area are in use with track and soccer in full swing!

Phase three involves improvements to the baseball and softball complexes. The specific improvements have yet to be determined.

The full master planning report is available on our website:

http://www.admschools.org/district/departments/buildings-and-grounds/facilities-planning/

Technology Planning Continues

We are still in the planning phase for the significant increase to computer device access for our students in 2018-19.

As you may recall, the 2012 voter-approved Physical Plant and Equipment Levy allowed us to take major leaps forward in our technology infrastructure and devices available for staff and students. We are now planning for our next major move forward in device access and instructional uses of technology at all levels.

We are really excited about this work and welcome Travis Wilkins, our newly hired Technology Integration Specialist, to our team to help lead this process. Stay tuned as much more information will be shared with parents in the coming months into next year.

Professional Learning Communities – PLCs

All of our teachers are part of a collaborative team, or a PLC. These teams are formed around grade levels (like third grade) or content areas (like 6-8 Literacy). These teams meet frequently and focus on progress made on what we call SMART goals. These student learning goals are designed to be Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Results-oriented, and Timebound. Another important component to these goals are they should create “interdependence” among the team members – that is team members’ collective results are what lead to goal attainment.

I have recently sat in on PLC team meetings at every building in our district, and the collaboration and results are extraordinary. I could go on and on, but in short, I believe we are on our way to being the very best PLC district in the state!

For a very brief overview of PLCs, here is a link to a video featuring Dr. Richard DuFour. Dr. DuFour is considered the founder of the PLC process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnWDJFxfAKE

Have a great Easter Weekend!

Greg