From the desk of the Superintendent
I hope everyone has had the opportunity to get out and support our Wolves. All of the teams are having successful
seasons. This gives all the opportunities to see the quality students we have in our schools. These kids put in a lot of
time and truly deserve our support. Keep up the GREAT work!
Some important discussion has been taking place with the IKM-Manning Board of Education concerning the
movement of classes across the district. It is the goal of the Board and the Superintendent to get all grades together
which will be a great benefit in classroom instruction and allow for more collaboration between teachers. Be
prepared for some important input into this topic.
Technology is still one of our major focuses for the year. With the help of administrators we have established a
Technology Leadership Team. During the summer they attended a two day conference and this Friday they will be
attending the 21st Century Learners Conference in Harlan. The purpose of the Team is to train the staff of use of new
technologies to improve instruction and learning.
One of the most important meetings of the year for parents will be taking place in a few weeks. Parent Teacher
Conferences are scheduled for Thursday, October 18th from 4:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. and Monday, October 22nd from
4:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. All parents need to be prepared, not only with questions but as an active listeners.
Below are some questions parents need to ask during conference time.
• Is my child performing above or below grade level in school?
•What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses in the major subject areas?
°What subjects does my child enjoy most?
°Does my child need special help in any academic subject?
°How does my child interact with other children?
°Has my child regularly completed homework assignments?
°Has my child attended class regularly?
°Have you observed in changes in learning progress during the year? Has the learning improved or
Every five years all public or private schools in the State of Iowa go through a Site Visit Review. The purpose of the
Site Visit is to:
•Assess progress with the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP)
•Make recommendations with regard to the visit findings for the purpose of improving educational practices
above minimal compliance
•Determine that a school or school district is in compliance with the accreditation standards
•To provide a general assessment of educational practices.
The IKM-Manning CSD will be under review during the days of November 13, 14 and 15, 2012.
If you are considering open enrollment for your student(s), you need to be aware of the following:
1) The deadline for making a request for the next school year is March 1 for a student who will enter grades
1 through 12. The deadline for making an open enrollment request for a kindergartener is September 1.
Applications for Open Enrollment are available in the central office at the Middle School in Manilla.
Applications after the deadline can only be approved if there is “good cause” as specified on the
2) Parents of Open Enrolled students are responsible to transport the pupil(s) without reimbursement to and
from a point on a regular school bus route of the receiving district. A parent/guardian shall be eligible for
transportation assistance from the resident district if the household income of the parent/guardian is at or
below 160% of the federal income poverty guidelines as stated by household size. For more information on
the specific income levels and how to request transportation assistance, please contact the IKM-Manning
Business Manager at 712-654-2852.
3) If an Open Enrollment request is denied by a district board of education, the parent/guardian has 30 days to
file an appeal with the state board of education only if the open enrollment request was based on repeated
acts of harassment or a serious health condition of the student that the district cannot adequately address;
and that all other denials must be appealed to the district court in Crawford County.
4) Open Enrolled students may face a loss of athletic eligibility for a time. For more information contact the
Athletic Director at 712-655-3781.
If you have questions or concerns I can be reached at 712-654-2852 or e-mailed at
email@example.com and my Coffee with Central Office will be making its annual tour of the District in
the near future. I’ll keep all posted.
Yours in education,
The State Fair is over, school has started, cross county meets, volleyball and football games have started and it is time to start thinking about our collective efforts to influence the students of the IKM-Manning CSD.
The IKM-Manning Board of Education welcomes the advice and counsel of the citizens of the district in planning and operations of the district. One group instrumental in advising the Board is the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) which is composed of members with school age students, preschool students, no school age students, students, staff and administrators. The responsibilities of the group include:
a) Determine major educational need and rank them in priority order.
b) Develop long- range goals and plans to meet the needs.
c) Formulate and recommend short-range and intermediate-range plans to meet the goals to attain the desired levels of student performance.
d) Evaluate progress toward meeting the goals and maintain a record or progress under the plan that includes reports of pupil performance and results of school improvement projects.
e) Coordinate special projects.
On behalf of the Board of Education I would like to thank those parents, patrons, students and staff that serve on the SIAC. Without these dedicated individuals those important decisions would not be as easy to make.
Because of the updated nutritional standards the district will be upgrading our current Wellness Policy to meet the compliance of the federal government. The district will develop a local wellness policy committee comprised of parents, students, food service, nurse, administrators, physical education teachers and the public. This committee will develop a plan to implement the local wellness policy and periodically review and update the policy. The committee will report to the board and community regarding the content and effectiveness of the policy and recommend updates. The committee will be responsible to establishing specific wellness goals for the district.
In my future articles I will try to update our patrons on the workings of the proposed education reforms for the State and or district.
We are off to a great start to the year and if you need to contact me, or would just like to discuss education (or anything else on your mind) you can drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call the office (712-654-2852).
Yours in education,
Like so many children today, I grew up loving the summer months. I remember waiting in anticipation
for the last day of school to finish so I could get busy having fun with family and friends. We’d anxiously
wait for our little league ball games, spend time fishing and swimming in the pond, and make up games
as the days went by. Summer was great; but, as August came around, I was always ready for school to
Summers are quite a bit different now for me and my family. With hectic schedules and people
scattered across different states it takes quite a bit planning to see each other. Yet, we manage to
get together to continue long-standing traditions and to create some new ones as well. I don’t know what the months of June and July have brought you, but I hope you’ve been able to carve out some meaningful time with friends and family before the rush of a new school year changes schedules.
On August 15th the bells will again signal the start to another school year for the IKM-Manning Wolves.
Staff and students in our district will bond together and create new traditions and establish positive
educational cultures. As community members, you can be a part of this effort as well. With the beginning of a new school year this is a great time for you to decide to share your strengths and talents with the IKM-Manning students. The IKM-Manning schools are your schools, and the time spent with students is like an investment that yields only good returns.
Again, my doors are always open for you to come and visit. I can be reached at 712-654-5282 or
email@example.com and will welcome any or all comments.
We’re going to have a great year. Come join us!
Yours in education,
Budget time compares to those sleepless nights when I worry about calling off school due to the weather.
It’s that time of the year when the real decision making skills of myself come under scrutiny of the public,
taxpayers and the parents of our students in the IKM-Manning School District. With the weather the sun
will always come out and make the day brighter. Budget time is very unpredictable because the days will
not always be brighter especially when reductions are being made that impact lives.
In previous articles I have tried to explain the funding process and those areas that impact our revenues
dramatically. Here are some of the basic principles to make school finance a little more understandable:
1. The number of children enrolled in each district determines a district’s budget/revenues. Our
numbers have been declining with a 28 decrease this past year.
2. The General Assembly through the finance formula “equalizes” funding statewide so the “cost
per student” is roughly the same in every district and every student has access to quality
3. The Governor recommends the annual change in per pupil allowable growth. The General
Assembly is responsible for passing legislation to establish the annual increase in the “cost per
4. Property taxes matter. They determine how much money each district receives in state aid.
5. Funds are restricted. We can only use funds on what the legislature tells us we can.
6. Schools are budget limited. Most other public entities are property tax rate limited. This
difference is monumental.
7. Iowa law guarantees that every child in the state receives an “equal” amount of money to fund
his/her education. A district’s budget is basically derived from the number of children enrolled
in the district multiplied by the district’s cost per child. However, economic factors change from
year-to-year, and it is up to state lawmakers to decide just how much to increase the cost per child
to reflect the change. This increase is called “allowable growth.”
8. Under the basic finance formula, each district’s spending is based upon a district cost per pupil.
The total amount the district is allowed to spend is that per pupil amount times the number of
students enrolled. A district can spend less than the maximum, but cannot spend more. Over
the past few years we have been spending our “unspent balance”. This is the amount of the
total spending not expended during the fiscal year and includes any previous year’s cumulate
unexpended total spending authority.
9. An allowable growth rate is recommended by the Governor and established by the Legislature.
The rate is multiplied by the state cost per pupil to calculate an allowable growth rate per pupil.
All districts receive the same amount per pupil. Allowable growth per pupil is intended to further
provide equity in school districts throughout the state because the legislature set a principle
that each child is worth the same amount, no matter where he/she lives. This year the allowable
growth is 2% and IKM-Manning will receive $220,892 less than last year due to the declining
One major area concern for the IKM-Manning District has been our Unspent Budget Authority (Unspent
Balance) which is a unique feature of the Foundation Formula.
Schools are required to keep track of two sets of figures. First, the normal Fund Balance and secondly
their unused Spending Authority (Unspent Balance). Remember that the Iowa school funding formula is a
pupil based formula. Each district receives an amount of funding (think cash) and authority to (Spending
Authority) for each pupil. It becomes easier to understand if you think that each pupil has a “credit card
limit” on spending each year and that credit card bill is paid through a combination of State Foundation
Aid and through local property taxes.
Unspent Balance (Unspent Budget Authority) simply is the unused credit limit for all of the children who
have ever attended school in the district.
Why is Spending Authority so important? It is the legal limit on spending in the district. This is not the
same as the district’s fund balance or cash balance. It is illegal for districts to overspend their allowable
Spending Authority. Spending Authority is the way for the state to enforce per pupil spending equity in
the formula. If districts were able to spend as much as they were able to levy, very property rich districts
would be able to generate huge amounts of spending with very low property tax rate levy rates. Property
poor districts would be able to generate very little spending with very high tax rates. This would eliminate
per pupil student funding equity in the formula-the main stated goal of the formula.
Spending Authority is very important and especially important when the state is unable to fulfill its
obligation. For example, when the state has to reduce its expenditures, cash to school districts is reduced,
but not Spending Authority. This is critical to school districts because the funds are not there and the need
to fund will come from that Unspent Budget Authority (credit card limit). It is important for districts not
to use the Unspent Authority on perpetual expenses.
Again, I hope this makes understanding school funding a little more clearly to all.
Congratulations to Mrs. Rasmussen and all the cast in her last production. Everyone did a great job! We
have some very talented kids in our district.
Yours in education,
I want to start off by saying how proud I am of all of our extracurricular participants and sponsors this
past winter season. I hope by the time this is published we are planning on another trip to Des Moines.
Good Luck Girls!
This season I had the opportunity to see a lot of games and witness firsthand how other fans react in the
stands and from the sidelines. I am extremely proud of our students, parents, and loyal fans of all our
teams. IKM-Manning fans are respectful to opposing players and coaches and knowledgeable about the
sport being played. We are always gracious in victory or defeat. This speaks volumes on why we are so
successful in everything our students do!
In the Central Office we have been preparing the 2012-2013 Budget. Mary and Beth have been very
diligent in obtaining all the information needed for this process. This is going to be a “good news, bad
news” year. Good news goes out to our taxpayers that they will be paying less in the school levy this
coming year and the bad news is the District will be receiving considerable fewer funds from the state.
This is a problem that has been compounded for two reasons: 1) a decrease in our enrollment, 2) the
amount we receive in miscellaneous revenue due to the whole grade sharing being eliminated. With
these reductions in revenues we will be forced to make reductions in some of our programs. I will
be working with the administrators on recommendations I will take to the Board in another Budget
Workshop within the next two weeks.
My next “Coffee” will be held in Irwin on March 14th in the Irwin Cafeteria. Everyone is invited to attend
and ask questions about the District.
Again, if you have questions or concerns I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or
give me a call at 712-654-2852.
Yours in education—GO WOLVES!!!!
K-12 public schools, cities and counties represent more than 85 percent of the total property taxes in the state of Iowa. The basic equation for property taxes in Iowa is really pretty simple; it is a tax rate multiplied by taxable value equals taxes levied. However, the way these governmental entities can spend those tax dollars differs: cities and counties are “rate” limited whereas schools are “budget” limited.
Rate limits carry different results from budget limitations, giving cities and counties more flexibility with which to operate their budgets. For example, if a city has a tax rate of $8.10 per thousand and the property valuation in the city doubles, if they leave the tax rate unchanged, they’ll have twice as many property tax dollars. Likewise, if the same city loses half of its property valuation, it will lose half of its revenue.
Schools are different. The legislature effectively sets a school district’s budget by setting a maximum spending per child. In a school district, if the property tax valuation doubles, the tax rate falls, but the amount of money the district has to spend is exactly the same. Likewise, if the property valuation falls by half, the total budget of the district remains the same, but the property tax rate will increase. In schools, the vast majority of the tax rate is driven by this formula; local school boards have limited ability to influence the General Fund tax rate.
So, how much impact can a local school board have on the district’s tax rate? The answer to this question isn’t definite; it depends. Of our total tax rate of $12.9411 per thousand, $4.400 per thousand is due solely to the operation of the School Foundation Formula, while board and voter approved levies amounting to $8.5411 supplement our instruction and provide our facility budget. While some may wish to call these “optional” levies, in reality most school districts around the state utilize some or all of these levies.
Due to the low levels of spending increases in the last six years allowed by the state, there has been an increasing trend to utilize more of these “optional” levies to replace funding not provided by the state. We are committed to providing the best value for taxpayers in our district, but we are also committed to providing the best possible education in the IKM-Manning Community School District. This is what your school board members and administrators struggle with every day. In the next few weeks we will be preparing the 2012-2013 school budget.
On a different note, beginning with the 2013-14 school year the IKM-Manning District will be a part of the Western Iowa Conference, leaving the Western Valley Conference. All parties involved in this decision feels it is a great move for all.
Over the next few weeks our boy’s and girl’s basketball teams will be involved in the Western Valley Conference Tournament. Refer to the website to keep up on the changing schedule.
Again, if you have questions please contact me at email@example.com
or call the school at 712-654-2852. Have a great week.
Yours in education-Dr. Ward
The Iowa Department of Education has just released final enrollment
numbers which form the basis of school district budgets for the
2012-13 school year. During the 2011 Legislative Session, the Iowa
Legislature established a two percent allowable growth for FY 2013,
which is an increase of $118 per student served. That sets the state
cost per pupil for the 2012-13 school year at $6,001. Since school
funding in Iowa is based on these two critical variables (the number
of pupils in a school district and the cost per pupil), it is now
possible to begin looking at our school district budget for next year.
A two percent allowable growth does not mean that school district
budgets will automatically grow by two percent next year. The two
percent increase allows the school district to spend an additional
$118 per student in the FY 2013, for all students who are still in the
school district. For some districts, this is an increase in total
budget potential and for others, it’s a decrease. For the IKM-Manning
Community School District, our total change in budget potential is a
decrease of $220,892 for FY 2013.
On a statewide basis, the range of percent change in regular program
district cost varies from a high of 13.0 percent increase to a low of
10.1 percent decrease. The average Iowa district budget change is a
loss of 0.4 percent. Of Iowa’s 351 school districts, 188 will
experience a decrease in total regular program budget resources for
the 2012-13 school year based on the two percent allowable growth per
Since our district has declining enrollment, this decrease of 28.7
students is a loss of -4.5 percent. Although we have fewer students
in our school, there are still some fixed costs, such as
heating/cooling the rooms and running the buses, neither of which is
any less. We may be able to reduce staff with fewer students, but it
is never as simple as it may seem. For example, the loss of 28
students didn’t all come from one classroom. We will still need to
provide a classroom and teacher for every student.
The $118 per pupil increase has to stretch a long way, especially as
Iowa school districts are recovering from a zero change in the
district costs per pupil in FY 2012. Costs still go up, despite the
legislative limitation on revenues. For example, beginning July 1,
there will be an increase in both the employer and employee
contribution to the IPERS (Iowa Public Employee Retirement System) in
order to restore the fund to a sound position. That is estimated to
cost school districts statewide about half of the total allowable
growth increase. The remainder must pay for increased fuel and
transportation costs, automatic salary changes to age the salary
schedule, any new staff that must be hired, increased employee
benefits and salaries agreed to via collective bargaining, and
textbooks, technology and other costs, including compliance costs for
state and federal mandates that are not always funded.
Although the collection of state revenues has rebounded to a healthy
estimation of over four percent for FY 2013, there has not yet been a
corresponding restoration of funding for either ongoing school
expenses or recovery from accumulated years of low funding.
As Iowa’s economy improves, we hope citizens and our state level
policy makers will continue to prioritize the education of our
students as they set allowable growth for FY 2014 and beyond.
Yours in education,
Dr. Tom Ward, Superintendent
This article will explain the barriers districts have in spending funds. Depending on each district’s economic and demographic situation, some face pressures from the staff side of the budget while others have more pressure on facilities. However, due to restrictions on revenue uses, excess money from the general fund cannot be used to solve shortages on the facilities side and vice versa. As a result, you sometimes end up with districts that have adequate funds but need to lay off staff.
Instructional expenditures (general fund) are equalized, but the funds we levy locally are not. The physical plant and equipment levy and debt service are very valuation dependent and the revenue received varies considerably among districts. However the statewide school infrastructures sales and service tax (better known as the state penny sales tax), provides “equal” funding for school infrastructure needs and/or district property tax relief. The tax capacity of the district and the one penny revenue largely limits the amount of funds for building expenditures.
When it comes to school spending, districts must look at all potential expenditures and determine not only if they have the money, but whether state law allows a particular fund to cover the expense. This standard, often referred to as “Dillon’s Rule,” says school districts are only allowed to do what is specifically outlined by state law. This differs from cities and counties, which operate under “Home Rule,” which allows them to do anything not specifically prohibited by state law. Schools have less latitude than cities and counties in complying with the Code of Iowa, and in turn, how they spend their money.
The next article will cover budget limit for schools, while other property tax entities are rate limited.
As the holiday season is upon us, and we wind down the first semester, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the parents of our students for your on-going encouragement and support of your children and schools. All of our staff members are truly the benefactors of and certainly appreciate your efforts. As you know, once this well deserved break is over it is the start to the second semester---wow has time flown by.
We have a lot to be thankful for here at IKM-Manning CSD. We have outstanding students, outstanding staff members, outstanding educational programs; all made possible by an outstanding Board of Education. We as a district will be facing some challenging times but due to the diligence and leadership of our board members, they have provided us with the leadership and resources needed to maintain IKM-Manning CSD as a leader in public education. Shortly after the return from the winter break the process to prepare for the 2012-13 school year will get underway, with work on the school calendar and the 2013 school budget.
Over the past two weeks we have been blessed with some excellent musical performances by students Pre-K thru 12. I would like to thank Don Struve, Mandy Bahr, Elizabeth Book, and Marisa Merkel for providing the patrons and parents with some great performances. Great job!
In closing, I would again like to thank each and every one of you for your support, and wish all of you a very Happy Holiday Season and a GREAT start to 2012.
Yours in education- Dr. Tom Ward, Superintendent
I hope everyone survived the Thanksgiving Break with all the turkey, dressing, pies and Black Friday shopping. I was involved with my first and last Black Friday experience and decided I would much rather be at school with kids and staff but that is another story.
In the next few weeks before our Winter Break our Fine Arts Department will be putting on a number of concerts and programs. This is a great time to get out and witness another aspect of our students. Ms Bahr, Ms Book, Mrs. Merkel and Mr., Struve all do a great job of preparing our students for their performances. Weather permitting, get out and support these kids and maybe you will even have a sighting of Old Saint Nick.
Please visit the website for the first edition of the District Newsletter. A special thanks needs to go out to Mr.Lahndorf and his class for putting this together for the District.
My Second Coffee with Central Office will be on December 13th in the Manning Cafeteria starting at 9:30a.m. Everyone is invited to come and ask questions, meet the administrators, and have a cup of coffee and possibility a sweet roll. Mark the date on your calendar.
I have tried to communicate to the patrons in different articles on the topic of school funding. One of the most difficult and confusing elements of school funding is how Iowa law restricts the ways K-12 public schools can use various funding sources. Simply put, if we have a shortage in one area of the budget we cannot use other funds available to the district to offset such a shortage unless specifically allowed by law.
According to the Iowa School Foundation Formula, the largest funding source for schools comes from state and local property taxes. Revenues received under the formula are part of a school district’s General Fund, which covers most of our expenditures for faculty and staff salaries. We also have dedicated funding streams for facilities, such as the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL), which can only be spent on buildings, grounds and certain equipment such as computers. People often refer to the General Fund side of the budget as the “breathing” part of the budget, while the other side is referred to as the “bricks and mortar” side.
In my next article I will write about instructional expenditures and the state penny sales tax.
Mark your calendar for the December 13th Coffee and check on all IKM-Manning holiday concerts and programs.
Yours in education,
As we celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday, I would like to take the opportunity to thank our students, staff, parents and patrons who are committed to creating an outstanding learning environment here at IKM-Manning CSD. I would also like to acknowledge all those that volunteer their time, enriching our schools. We are all thankful for your collective support.
At this point in the school year, all parents have had the opportunity to meet with the teachers at parent-teacher conference. This is an excellent time to monitor the progress and address concerns and to set goals for the remainder of the school year.
The next three and a half weeks-between Thanksgiving and the Winter Break-is usually a hectic time with programs, concerts and parties, so it’s important that students have adequate time for properly completed homework and study time. In the elementary and middle schools years, homework amounts to 30 to 60 minutes each evening and good homework habits can take years to build and last a lifetime.
As we enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, it’s also helpful to remember that students need to be rewarded for their achievements. Too many times we focus on the unmet goals, rather to celebrate our successes.
The coming holiday season is a wonderful time of year and I hope that families have time to enjoy one another, especially over this break. Family outings, even as simple as going to a movie or a walk together, provide long-lasting memories and make a difference in a child’s life.
I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and look forward to continuing to work together in our mission to create a positive learning environment for the students of IKM-Manning CSD.
Yours in education,