Beating drum to raise money —Band needs new uniforms, members come to board

By Marcie Klomp

“I didn’t like [band] in junior high. And then high school came, and I almost love band more than my sports. We are like a family. Maybe more people would go out for band [if there was new uniforms].” Blair Bodermann and other band members spoke passionately to Howard-Winneshiek School Board about band.
“It means a lot to me,” added Alysa Osmonson.

Autumn Forcelle stated, “The other schools look more updated and fancier. Some of our buttons are falling off.”

The girls told board members at the Nov. 10 meeting, which was held in Elma, how important new uniforms are to members of the award-winning Crestwood Band.

Also speaking on behalf of the band were Director Jason Dobbs, Edna Vandervort, vice president of band boosters, and Edie Slifka, a band mother.

The Band Boosters already purchased black pants last year. This year they want to purchase the top and hat. Each combo would cost $308.15 for a total of around $30,000. The Band Boosters suggested dividing the cost for three entities—Boosters, district and donations.

Director Doug Berg wanted to do more for the band. He proposed the district pay for one-third of the entire cost, including one-third of the pants bill. Each pair cost around $100. He explained that some people pay to go to games to hear the band as much as for the sporting event.

In the end, the board went with what the Boosters asked for, $10,000.

Declining enrollment

In other business, Supt. John Carver spoke on smaller class sizes. “A decline in enrollment affects our bottom line. We will be looking different in the future. We are not alone. Charles City and Waukon have declining numbers.”

To back up that statement, Carver commented South Winn. had approached How-Winn about sharing services. Their suggestions were Business Manager, Transportation Director, Operations and Maintenance Director and School Counselor. In addition, the South Winn Board wants to look at discussing teacher-sharing opportunities and possibly classes.

There are many moving pieces. Enrollment and State funding (allowable growth) are not defined and are in a constant state of annual change.

To maintain the current solvency ratio out to 2019, on the assumption nothing is going to change, would require an estimated $700,000 in cuts for next year. Because so many items are in play, Carver suggested that between $200,000 to $300,000 be explored for next year.

“Right now we are healthy, but we are trying to project three, four, five years out.”

He also mentioned the Lime Springs school. The district had said it would make a decision about the facility in three years, but would look at numbers each year. With declining numbers, it is possible the school will be closed at the end of 2014-15 school year. “If Lime Springs is to be closed, we will let them know by the January meeting.”
How-Winn is leader

The district is paving the way for others schools to follow in use of technology for instruction and connecting learners globally.

Cypress-Fairbanks (the largest school district in the state of Texas) with around 100,000 students will be having a virtual tour of How-Winn.

Carver applauded the teaching staff for providing kids with a 21st century learning experience. “Every day we are getting better at empowering kids to seek their potential,” he said.

Extra curricular update

Brian Hilsabeck reported on fall sports and other student activities.

He commented Volleyball Coach Suckow was proud of how the girls showed improvement and stepped up as leaders. “They played numerous ranked teams in the conference and district and were able to compete with them.”

Football Coach Lentz found his young team was showing improvement each and every week.

Athletes on Mr. Oberman’s cross county teams all showed improvement each time they competed. “They competed in the top half in the team sports,” Hilsabeck noted.

The band came out number one out of 14 bands at Algona, a tough competition.

Cheerleading Coach Steinmetz had large numbers of girls to coach. With 25 girls, it was hard to find a balance to connect with all of them, but she managed.

Director James Kitchen asked what other districts were doing that Crestwood could learn from.

Hilsabeck replied, “They are doing what we are doing. We need to be thoroughly positive with our kids.”

Berg wondered, “With our declining enrollment, where does that put us with 3A and 2A?” The program is evaluated every two years. The district went from 4A to 3A this year, so it will be looked at again next year.

Rebranding the district

Carver talked about the online survey 265 people filled out. “Sixty percent were favorable in going forward with Crestwood for the district.”

The rebranding issue will be brought up in the district advisory committee, which has been named. The board wants to have a decision by the end of the year, so it can go forward with plans.


• Josh Smith, a parent of an Elma student requested the school board reconsider and allow Riceville buses into Elma to pick up kids. He explained 14 kids got on the bus at the designated stop. “With winter coming, I’d like you to consider the kids’ safety.

Kitchen offered to talk it over after the meeting.

• Toward the end of the evening, the school board went into closed session.

The board accepted Principal Felderman’s recommendation, as amended, for expulsion of a student and that the District’s attorney provide written notice to the student and family as required by law.

• The next meeting will be at the Lime Springs campus on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.


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