Shutdown didn’t slow district

Published 10:25 am Friday, September 9, 2011

Even though the state shutdown slowed the state down, it did not hinder our activities in Austin. Austin Public Schools continued to move forward implanting the initiatives that we believe will enhance and improve educational opportunities for our students.

On Aug. 1, the district embarked on a new school calendar for Sumner Elementary and two sections of kindergartners at Woodson. With the implementation of this 45/15 calendar, we believe we will overcome the previous challenges brought on for our students from summer layoffs and the delay of some remediation services until the following summer, resulting in improved student achievement. The second phase of our heating/ventilation/air conditioning upgrades at Sumner and Neveln Elementary Schools continued with the final phase scheduled for next summer.

The district’s implementation of our strategic roadmap and implementation of the Baldrige process will provide direction, a means to measure progress and tools to evaluate and make changes in the future. And our work continues to address the increasing student enrollments across the district.

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The school board accepted the recommendation of the Facilities Task Force and will ask the voters to approve a bond referendum this Nov. 8 for an addition at the Woodson Kindergarten Center and a new fifth/sixth grade Center to provide program improvements as well as needed classroom space. The details are available in a PowerPoint presentation on the Austin School District Web Site at and outlines the work done by the Facilities Task Force and notes its recommendation to the school board.

Please take the time to review the PowerPoint, attend one of the many referendum presentations being made this fall or call me for answers to your questions. If you would like to host a referendum presentation for your friends and neighbors, please call my office at 460-1900 to schedule.

I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the members of St. Olaf Church, the Hormel plant employees and the employees of the Cooperative Response Center for their generous donations of school supplies. Because of your generosity, our students will have the necessary supplies to start the school year.

I also want to thank the community for your continued support of the Austin Schools; our children could not achieve their dreams without the community’s willingness to provide quality schools.