ARMSTRONG - The North Union Board of Education Thursday night approved an early start calendar for the 2014-15 school year as well as an innovative calendar for 2014-15.
Also approved was a resolution of intent to participate in the Instructional Support Program. Superintendent Matt Berninghaus said Sentral's current levy would expire in 2015 and A-R's in 2017 and that his recommendation was to increase the levy for another five years - something he said would require a public hearing and board action.
Berninghaus said the new levy would not take effect until 2015.
Board president Jim Boyer said the board would have to meld together the tax rates of the two districts.
The board approved a resolution in support of the voter approved Physical Plant and Equipment Levy. Berninghaus recommended that the district go to a levy of 1.34 - the level at which A-R has authorized until 2018. Sentral has authorized a levy of .66 until 2021. Boyer said the levy gives the district the opportunity to invest in technology. The money can also be spent on buildings and buses but not salaries.
The board also approved a resolution in support of a revenue purpose statement. If voted down, Berninghaus said the PPEL would go to .67.
The board approved a draft of the whole-grade sharing agreement for the purpose of proceeding to public hearing.
Also approved were a policy manual review, a director district plan which would retain the current boundaries of Armstrong district patrons and an election cycle in which Boyer and Ron Dacken would run in 2015 and Jen Von Bank, Cory Culbertson and George Walker in 2017.
In administrative reports, activities director and assistant principal Rob Zotz offered highlights of new programs and clubs, including a FCCLA chapter and Spanish Club. New youth programs include the North Union Archery Club which works in concert with the Emmet County conservation Board.
Zotz also highlighted a new class, computer applications, which is required for freshmen. The class instructs students in proper use of social media.
He also highlighted a number of new dual credit offerings, including Introduction to Horticulture, Introduction to Soils, Farm Business Management, Child Growth and Development, Child Health Safety and Blueprint Reading.
Zotz noted a number of other projects and programs including upgrading the football field complex press box, library update, positive data showing progress from students on study table and proposed J-term courses.
Zotz said 94 percent of North Union seniors last year had a 20 or better composite, compared to 70 percent of Iowa students and 57 percent nationally.