Monday, July 17, 2017
With the beginning of a new school year, it is always a time in which student and staff expectations and enthusiasm runs high. It also seems to always coincide with a number of changes. Obviously this year is no exception! First and foremost, as you are fully aware we are in the midst of a school addition and renovation project. At the time of this writing the progress on the new facility continues to move along. I realize that all of us want this project to be completed sooner rather than later, but as Joyce Meyer stated, "patience is not simply the ability to wait-it's how we behave while we are waiting!" I know we are all frustrated with the delays that have occurred but we all need to realize that we have to focus on what we can control, not what we cannot control. One of those areas we can control is how we react and respond to the delays. Hopefully we all will continue to stay positive.
We are still hoping that the majority of the project will be finished by the end of October but you know as well as I do, that once you get knee deep in a remodeling and building project, especially with a facility that is as old as ours, there will be some unforeseen problems. In the end it will all be worth it and something we all will be extremely proud of. Our kids and our communities deserve it!
In addition to the physical changes that are currently happening throughout the district we also have a number of instructional changes that have occurred within our district. With the departure of Ashley Staner to the AEA, and with the subsequence grade level shuffling, Mr. Will Olson will be new to the district and will be one of our 2nd grade instructors. Mrs. Deb Brokaw has been hired to be a secondary counselor for our district. Mr. Raymond Dosland has been hired in a full time instructional capacity as an At-Risk and Physical Education instructor. We have yet to fill two associate positions but are hoping to do so in the very near future. So please take time to welcome all of these new individuals to our Midland family when you see them in our schools.
Finally, please let me introduce myself. My name is Doug Tuetken and I am the District's new Superintendent. Sara and I are extremely pleased to be a part of this wonderful district. To give a little background on our family, Sara and I have been blessed with 4 daughters and 3 granddaughters. Our oldest resides in Minneapolis with her husband and daughter, our secondary daughter, her husband and two daughters live in Iowa City, our third daughter lives in Denver, Colorado and will be married at the end of this August. Our 4th daughter lives in Des Moines with her husband.
As most of you are aware, for the coming school year our Board of Director's has made a decision to share the Superintendent's position with the Maquoketa Valley Community School District located in Delhi. At this time the sharing agreement will be a one-year trial basis so each district has an opportunity to determine if the shared position is meeting their fiscal and leadership needs. One of the primary questions that have you may have regarding the sharing agreement is, why is and why would our District want to share with Maquoketa Valley? To answer that question I would like to reference a recent Cedar Rapids Gazette article written by Erin Murphy. In the article Ms. Murphy outlines that shared superintendents in our State has more than tripled over the past decade. The reasons for this sharp increase (and I expect it to continue) is that school districts like Midland and Maquoketa Valley are always looking for ways to save dollars and increase revenue. Sharing administrative positions does this. We all realize that funding for public education has become stagnant for quite sometime. As Ms. Murphy outlined in her article "the decision to share superintendents is tied to a web of fiscal factors. . . one is the recent trend of below average increases in state funding to public K-12 education. In the 38 years between 1973, when the current school funding formula was written, and 2010, annual state funding to schools increased by 2 percent or less just three times. It has been 2 percent or less in six of the past eight years." As the Executive Director from the Iowa Associations of School Board, Lisa Bartusek, recently stated, "school boards consistently prioritize how school districts can maximize current programs for our students while still allocating the right level of resource to that important function of administration and leadership and I believe that's what the parents and communities and taxpayers of Iowa would absolutely want." Midland and Maquoketa Valley continually examine ways to reduce expenditures and sharing a superintendent position is a way to save dollars. But a very important advantage to sharing a superintendent is the state incentive, which adds state funding to districts that share administrative personnel. So Midland and Maquoketa Valley not only reduce spending by sharing a salary but we receive extra funding from the state. It is a win-win for both districts.
Both Midland and the Maquoketa Valley Board of Directors have agreed to review our agreement each spring to ensure that both districts needs are being met as well as discuss other ways we could possible share. Not only am I hopeful, I am confident this will be a great relationship for both districts. In the end, it is best for our kids.
All of us are extremely excited about the 2017 / 2018 school year. With our building project, our new teachers, coaches and support staff that will be joining our Midland family, I know it will be a fantastic year! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give me a call, drop an email, or stop by to visit. The doors to Midland will always be open for the parents and patrons of this school district.