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Facility Master Plan FAQ

Please submit any questions related to the Facility Master Planning process here:

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.

Recent FAQ Questions

How will the safety and transportation for students who have new boundaries be addressed when new boundaries are in place?

Safe walking and transportation zones are evaluated annually for each building. When a new building is opened and boundaries change, the saftey zones change as well.

Factors considered when identifying hazard zones:
Presence or absence of crossing guards
Presence or absence of traffic control devices (stop signs, stop lights, crosswalks, etc.)
The need for a student to cross four (4) or more lanes of traffic
Posted speed limit
Absence of a continuous sidewalk (applies to both elementary and secondary students)

The district uses this evaluation to determine the placement of crossing guards and areas where free bus transportation is provided. This process will begin as soon as the boundary maps are finalized.

Has the committee thoroughly reviewed the impact on specific neighborhoods, particularly around the new school? Have they considered the impact of the change on the students?

This topic was raised numerous times during the public feedback period March 29 through April 7 and at the webinar. The Facility Master Plan committee will discuss this topic and the enrollment data along with the other feedback that was recieved at April 24 committee meeting before making its recommendation to the Superintendent.

Are high school boundaries up for conversation in this round?

The recommendation does not change secondary feeders at this time.

If you pursued one of the grade-level configuration changes, would we reconfigure open buildings at the middle school level to address capacity?

Yes, after the Facilities Master Plan is approved, the district will begin a planning process to prepare for the grade configuration change.

What research are you using to have a combined 9-12 building that shows higher learning in this configuration than keeping the current configuration?

The district asked EAB, and education research and data analyitics company, to prepare a research brief on grade configurations. This research was shared with the committee early in the process. The research provided perspective on the positive aspects and challenges of multiple grade configurations. A primary takeaway from the research was the impact of transitions from school to school, particularly in the middle grades.

With the potential for grades 6-8 being in the same buildings, would the district consider adding sports programs for 7th graders, similar to other local school districts?

After the Facilities Master Plan is approved, the district will begin a planning process to prepare for the grade configuration change. Programming, including athletics and activities will be a part of this planning.

How is this going to affect teachers that currently teach both eighth and ninth grades? Are they going to be allowed options for either teaching in both the 6-8 and 9-12 buildings or will they be required to only teach in one building?

After the Facilities Master Plan is approved, the district will begin a planning process to prepare for the grade configuration change. Programming and the staffing required will be a part of this planning. A key factor in staffing will be the teaching license requirments need to teach high school coursework.

Could we consider moving the 6th graders back into the elementary buildings?

The committee spent a considerable amount of time looking at the data, the program needs for the district, and whether to recommend moving the 6th grade to the elementary schools. The consensus of the committee was to keep the 6th grade part of the middle schools, primarily due to the programming available to 6th grade students in the middle school setting.

All FAQ Questions


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.

How is DMACC used to create off-campus opportunities?

One component of our partnership with DMACC includes career academies located on DMACC’s campus. Currently, there are 15 different academies from which students can select. Most of the DMACC Career Academy programs are one-year (two semesters), and several may offer a second year of programming. Additionally, students may select courses from the DMACC online academy. While DMACC offers a number of online classes, only those classes approved by the district under our partnership agreement are eligible for high school credit.

How are class loads determined, and prioritized?

Class loads for most secondary required courses are 25-30. Elective courses vary depending on the nature and format of the course (band courses are typically more than 30 and a lab course such as building construction may be less).

Do we have a “information technology requirement” for graduation?

No. There is no technology requirement for graduation.

Why is the low CTE score for Ankeny Schools considered bad? Do most students need to explore multiple careers?

The Iowa School Performance Profile compiled for each Iowa school district by the Iowa Department of Education has 4 measures tied directly to postsecondary success: 1)postsecondary readiness index college level, postsecondary, or advanced coursework; 2) postsecondary readiness index ACT or SAT readiness; 3) postsecondary readiness index ACT or SAT success; 4) postsecondary readiness index career and technical eduation. Ankeny scores above the state average in items 1 through 3; however in category 4 Ankeny scores below the state average.

Our below average score is due to a low number of concentrators in CTE pathways.

We are looking to strengthen our programming and expand the offerings for students to allow students to both explore multiple pathways and concentrate in a pathway by taking multiple courses in a particular area.

Can the school district outsource the CTE to industry partners?

Our district partners with many industry partners and is continuing to grow these partnerships in support of experiences for students. In order for a student to receive credit for an experience, the Iowa Department of Education requires that an instructor of record be licensed through the Board of Educational Examiners. There are pathways for industry partners to pursue this licensure, which would provide increased opportunities for partnership.

What do we need to do to get more kids enrolled in CTE courses?

We are currently in the process of creating more career awareness experiences for our students PK-12. We are building a PK-12 aligned curriculum that engages students in career exploration, awareness, and experiences across all of the career clusters. This increased exposure to opportunitites coupled with intentional curriculum supporting the development of a postsecondary vision and pathway for learning will support all students seeing and experiencing a wider variety of career opportuntities, leading to stronger course selection as students enter high school.

What are the new regulations for Special Education classrooms?

Actual classrooms do not have new regulations. The state has added new regulations which correspond to seclusion rooms to align with Iowa administrative code 281. This deals mainly with room size and door hardware.


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.

How far out does the district project with the funding?

Our financial advisor has prepared a cash flow that goes out to 2051, which is how long the SAVE funds have been approved by voters.
There are many variables that impact project funding. The facility master plan process will help bring clarity to future planning for our financial advisor to provide more accurate projections.

What is inflations anticipated impact on repair and construction costs?

Inflation has certainly had an impact on district operations. Many of our maintenance items can be accomplished by our talented maintenance team, however, once we reach certain cost thresholds, Iowa law requires we obtain either competitive quotes or competitive bids on the project. The operations team works closely with our architects, and based on scope, budget for the project given the bidding landscape which would include supply chain and inflationary pressures. We have had a couple of recent projects in which bids received have been significantly above the anticipated budget. When this occurs our architects closely review their budget against the bids received to identify any discrepancies, and a determination is made whether to accept the bid or wait to bid again at a later date.

What is the financial breakdown of our facilities vs. teacher pay, maintenance and other categories?

Salaries and benefits comprise approximately 80% of the General Fund budget each year. The remaining 20% includes costs for professional services like transportation and outside contractors/consultants, supplies, instructional materials, software, technology and equipment. Preventive maintenance is required to be made from the General Fund. In addition, smaller repairs completed by district staff, are also paid out of General Fund dollars. Larger scope repairs and replacement are typically an expense from the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy, and new construction or major renovations are funded either through General Obligation or SAVE revenue bonds, and are expended from the Capital Projects Fund.

What is the value per building and the needs per building of each facility in the district?

The needs have been assessed with our ten year facility audit. We have scheduled out projects for the next 10 years and will also per our strategic plan be re-assessing the facilities every other year. Setting a building value would be very difficult but we do know in today bidding climate new construction cost would come in close to $300 per square foot.


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.”  

Will Ankeny Schools ever consider changing the district boundaries to accomodate all Ankeny addresses, as the City annexes land? 
The district boundary lines are different than the boundaries of the City of Ankeny. Changing school district boundaries is very rare in Iowa, and usually happens when districts decide to consolidate.”  

What, if any, plans are being considered for making more room at Prairie Ridge and Northview?

The committee has considered many different options. The enrollment projections do not indicate the need for additional middle school buildings. The committee is looking at options that will optimize the number of students in each of the middle schools. The decision on grade-level configurations will determine what, if any, additions are needed at our current facilities.

Could homeschooling and online school be combined as a dual-enrollment program more widely offered under a separate elementary principal/staff with specials and limited in-person schooling offered out of Neveln building space? Could syncronous classes be offered to lessen building over-crowding?

The committee has considered many different options. The innovative secondary committee is also working to design a concept for an additional space that would provide programming for secondary students.

The Neveln building is in its final stages of renovation to serve as the new district office, reopening in March 2023.

What is the timeline for the boundary redrawing process? Please list the events associated with this, i.e. public meetings, school board meetings?

The Facilities Master Plan committee will work through the spring to develop proposals. The goal is to have proposals ready to share with the community for feedback in April, and have a board vote on new boundaries in May of 2023.

What priority is ACSD giving to not disrupting relationships among students and teachers in facility planning?

There are many factors that go into boundary considerations, some of which include the duration of boundaries, student impact of boundary changes, and keeping neighborhoods intact. At times, some factors can be at odds with each other. On slide 37, you can find the considerations being used to drive the conversation around new boundaries. The committee willl have to evaluate all these considerations and prioritize them as they work toward a recommendation to Ankeny Board of Education. The next steps for the boundary discussion will be a recommendation to the school board, with community input via a survey in late April.

Why is the Clover Ridge area highlighted on p 52 of the Planning for the future document?

The map highlighting the Clover Ridge neighborhood, on slide 52, was used in committee discussion about the priorities used in determining boundary decisions. The areas in the dashed lines in slide 52 indicate areas of the district that have been impacted by previous boundary changes, so consideration can be given to those changes in future conversation.

Are high school boundaries up for conversation in this round? If so, what are those options?

The committee is not currently discussing changing the high school boundaries. The conversations the committee is focused on are primarily focused on addressing grade-level configurations and accommodating the new elementary, which will open in fall of 2024. The district will continue to monitor the enrollment in each feeder systems and work to maintain an optimal. The next steps for the boundary discussion will be a recommendation to the school board, with community input via a survey in late April.

Will the boundaries or grade-level configurations take place next school year?

No. If grade-level configurations are approved by the Board in May, the district will propose a timeline over which those changes will take place. The boundary changes will take effect the 2024-2025 school year to accomodate the new elementary opening in August 2024.

Could we dedicate a middle school building to each grade, for grades 6-8 and use the fourth building for the innovative learning center?

The committee discussed this idea. The consensus of the committee was to keep the secondary feeder intact instead of combining the north- and south-feeder students in one or more of the middle school buildings.