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Facility Master Plan FAQ

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Answers will be provided by the Facility Master Plan Committee. Questions will be combined when the topic is the same. Use the links below to quickly jump between topics.

Academics           Finance          Operations          

Academics

At what grade do electives begin?

In 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, students can elect whether to take music courses (choir & band). In 9th grade, students can select from a limited number of elective courses in art, business, industrial technology, and family and consumer sciences. Beginning in 10th grade, students can select from a wide variety of elective courses across all content areas.

Will we ever offer an online campus?

For a decade, Ankeny Schools used Edgenuity to provide credit recovery courses aligned to our graduation requirements. Over the last year, a team of teachers developed Canvas asynchronous courses for every 9-12 required course. The purpose for this work is two-fold: one, Ankeny Schools was able to discontinue its contract with Edgenuity for online curriculum for credit recovery, and two, we now have the core courses available to begin developing an full online catalog of courses for students. Creating on online set of course offerings for 9th-12th grade students aligns with the efforts in our strategic plan to create more flexibility for students, allowing them to dedicate time during the day for career exploration and work-based learning.

Will online learning serve as a supplement, or replacement for some in class?

Yes, it could serve as either a supplement or replacement for 9th-12th grade courses. A task force will convene in January to begin creating the schedule framework, teacher supports, and course selection process for online course work.

What are state approved test out standards?

The state of Iowa has not created state-approved test out standards.

Could we turn an elementary with difficult boundaries into a lottery school that offers something unique like dual language or year round school?

While any change is possible, the implications of a change of this sort must also be considered. As one example, students residing in the current elementary boundary area would need to be reassigned to other elementaries which would impact the other building’s capacity. Ankeny Schools monitors enrollment carefully to ensure we are at or below capacity in each classroom and building so any reassignment would impact the capacity.

How do Ankeny's academic results correspond to the top 25% of states in USA?

While there is no national metric to compare schools or districts, we do have data from national assessment programs such as ACT, College Board which includes SAT, PSAT, and Advance Placement (AP), and NAEP that compares our students performance to the national averages. Generally speaking, Ankeny’s schools perform above the national averages.

How does our school district rate in academics to other similarly sized districts in other states?

Annually, the Iowa Department of Education publishes data from all schools across the state called “The Iowa School Performance Profiles.” This is an online tool showing how each of Iowa’s public schools performed on required measures. As you review Ankeny’s profile, you will notice a mark reflecting the state average in each category, which then allows you to compare Ankeny’s performance in that area to the state’s. In all categories but one, Ankeny performs above the rest of the state.

Any targeted focus on disparities in data in reading/math in various diverse populations?

The district will continue to analyze data in order to target resources where needs exist. As an example, each of Ankeny’s Title buildings currently have a building interventionist on staff to support both math and reading needs.

What is the district doing to recruit/retain CTE teachers?

The Human Resources department is engaged in analysis of process and procedures to improve efficiency in filling positions. The HR department is also partnering with our Communications department to improve our marketing strategy. The HR department has partnerships with colleges and universities across the midwest, and continuously works to connect with new colleges and universities.

Finance

What facility projects is the district currently funding or preparing to fund?

District Office (Neveln)

Elementary at NW 18th and NW Abbie

Future – Phase III of the stadium project (team room)

The district is engaged in ongoing preventative maintenance of facilities  

What is the projected future commercial and property tax valuation growth? And other projected tax growth?

There are a number of resources available on the City of Ankeny Economic Development website regarding projected commercial growth. In addition, board policy 800.00 limits growth in taxable valuation to 2% for developing revenue and expenditure projections.

Where do technology and safety funds come from?

The district uses a combination of PPEL, SAVE, and General Fund revenues to fund technology and safety items.

What physical resources do we invest in regularly that could be purchased digitally less often?

Because students in grades K-12 have access to a Chromebook, to the greatest extent possible, we contract with vendors for electronic textbooks. In most cases this is available to secondary students only. We also have ebooks available in our secondary libraries in addition to our physical book collections.

Is there a possibility of smaller districts asking to become part of Ankeny as we grow and those communities shrink?

This is highly unlikely. The Code of Iowa gives a large amount of authority and responsibility to area education agencies (AEAs) for local school district reorganization. Although in most instances the final authority is up to the electorate, the AEAs have authority for specific decisions during the reorganization process and the responsibility for developing reorganization plans.

Is growth hindering or helping our finances?

In terms of funds for construction and renovation, the district’s growth allows for additional SAVE revenue; allocated based on a per student cost times each district’s certified enrollment. However, the district’s growth eventually requires the need for additional buildings and financial resources for construction.

How do you determine which funding stream to use for projects?

Board Policy 800.00 discusses the prioritization of funding new construction. To the extent possible, SAVE revenues are first utilized to construct or renovate school facilities. If resources required to construct facilities are in excess of available SAVE revenues, these requirements are taken to the communiity in the form of a General Obligation Bond. PPEL funds would be the final source of revenues, but, in general, are reserved for the purchase of equipment and building maintenance.

Are there non-traditional funding opportunities, such as fundraising?

Gifts, grants, and fundraisers are all allowable sources of funds for building construction and renovation provided they are given or raised for the purpose of building construction. Board Policy 802.70 speaks to the acceptance of gifts, donations, grants, and bequests.

How would reducing, if at all, utility budgets affect these financial buckets?

Utilities are paid out of the General Fund, separate from the PPEL and SAVE funds for construction and renovation. However, the district has contracted with Energy Print to better track energy usage and provide recommended utility cost saving measures. It is highly likely some of these recommendations, such new windows or additional insulation, would be paid with PPEL or SAVE dollars as facility maintenance and construction projects.

What is the projected debt/cash flow of next 30 years, incorporating future facility needs, for both maintenance & construction?

Current Debt Service schedules are available on pages 42-43 of the 2022-23 Certified Budget Book. Once the Facilty Plan Master Plan committee has identified future facility needs, it will be incorporated into the exisiting cashflow and shared.

Do you have to approve the full amount of funding for a project on the front end?

The district approves the scope of each project. There are times, for example the recent Parkview remodel, that the full project is divided over the course of several phases. In such cases, the scope of each phase is reviewed and approved. If we are publicly financing the project, we disclose the full scope and estimated budget to the voters.

Operations

What does grade-level configuration mean?
 The Facilities Master Plan Committee will discuss the grade levels that are served in each school building. Ankeny’s current grade level configuration is K-5, 6-7, 8-9, and 10-12. Part of what this committee will look at is what grade level configurations best support student learning.

Do we have enough land?
One of the outcomes of the Facilities Master Plan is to assess what types of facilities may be needed in the future, and therefore, what land might be needed. 

Have we evaluated suppliers & contractors to determine if we are getting quality rather than low-bid?
The process for bidding projects is directed by policy 803.21 This policy states “The award of construction contracts will, generally, be made to the lowest responsible bidder. The Board, in its discretion, after considering factors relating to the construction, including, but not limited to, the cost of the construction, availability of service and/or repair, completion date, and any other factors deemed relevant by the board, may choose a bid other than the lowest bid.”  

What is the life expectancy of buildings and at what point do we need to do a substantial remodel on older facilities? How do we account for fixed costs throughout this process?
We just completed a comprehensive facility audit for our current facilities. There is a limit to how long you can keep a building operating. Because of this, the district is always in the process of evaluating the return-on-investment of renovations vs. new construction and is typically operating in both modes for different projects. For example, the total project cost to renovate the Neveln building is more than $13 million to complete a renovation of the building. The district could have purchased land, built a new building, and spent significantly more to build the same square footage for a new district office building, but we still would have had to do something with the Neveln building- whether renovate it or tear it down. Instead, the district is capitalizing on the tradition of excellence established at Neveln while also realizing significant cost-savings.”  

What are the reasons for splitting grades the way we do - is it solely based on space?
While building capacity is one reason for the PreK, K-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-12 configuration, student developmental, emotional, and academic needs are also reflected in the current grade configuration.”  

Can the high schools accommodate adding 9th grade?
The high schools would need additions/renovations to accommodate 9th grade students.”  

How do our facilities match up with CTE options and projected needs?
Our current facilities support programs for Construction, Automotive, CAD, and Engineering. The current facilities also support Culinary Arts, Teacher Academy, Computer Science, and Business programs. Additionally, the district’s partnership with DMACC allows for a number of Career Academy pathways for students. ”  

From a facilities perspective, what can we do better to protect emotional safety?
There is significant ongoing work to ensure that students are safe and secure while at school. Additionally, building leaders collaborate with the operations department to implement flooring, paint, and furniture designs that help students feel comfortable at school.”  

What available resources are in line or maybe “aging” out?
The district does not have any facilities that are being considered to “age out” in the near future. The district has completed significant renovations to older buildings, and additional renovations are planned to keep our current facilities aligned with the district’s standards to support student learning well into the future.”  

How do the buildings know what the PPEL renovation plans are?
Building leaders provided data for the facility audit, and a team of district administrators and operations team members prioritized projects based on an evlauation tool. Buildings receive monthly updates on work that is in progress as well as work that is planned for their building in the near future.”  

Has the district's standpoint been equity among facilities or equality between feeders?
The district trys to maintain as much equity districtwide as possible with our facilities, knowing we are dealing with facilities ranging from brand new to 70 year old buildings with additions and remodels. ”  

The district clearly covers the needs. What are the parameters for wants when it comes to facilities and outside groups fundraising?
The district parameters on wants at facilities that involve fundraising are: 1. It needs to be maintenance free. 2. It will not change the current district standards. 3. Work will be performed by a district-approved vendor. And all projects need approval from the district before moving forward with project.”