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B. Adam Burke

Solon district waiting on state’s allowable growth decision

SOLON- School districts around the state receive a per-pupil amount that mostly comes from the state, about 88 percent, with local property taxes making up the remaining school revenues. That amount is set at about $6,000 per student this year.
Whether it grows or not– the allowable growth– is determined by the Iowa Legislature, and school districts are often left waiting on the state to agree on a number so local districts can set budgets.
Democratic state senators, with a narrow 26-24 voting edge, passed a four percent increase for the next two years.

Revenues repurposed with district-wide vote

Passage means accelerated revenues, tight timeline for construction

IOWA CITY– The Yes votes were out in force for the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) revenue purpose statement (RPS) vote on Feb. 5, easily passing the language written to inject some cash into school facilities in a district-wide vote.
Superintendent Stephen Murley sounded ready to go to work when results of the revenue purpose statement vote were announced at the school board meeting.
“We have a tight timeline,” he said, for working out construction projects before the start of the building season.

Book fest readings bring storybooks to life

NORTH LIBERTY– Storybook professions came to life at the One Book, Two Book Festival held concurrently in Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty on Jan. 13.

School board’s diversity policy riles some, soothes others

Some schools would be redistributed by FRL rates under new plan

IOWA CITY– On Nov. 5, after being elected with Karla Cook as co-chairs of the governance committee, Sarah Swisher gave the board her goal for 2013: a new diversity policy based on free and reduced lunch rates at the schools.
She cited similar policy in Des Moines and Waterloo districts where a socio-economic approach attempts to keep schools balanced diversity.
The plan, which has been approved already twice in 4-3 votes by the board, still faces a final reading, likely on Feb. 5.

ICCSD’s Feb. 5 vote may reset school finances

IOWA CITY– Early voting has already begun at the county auditor’s office ahead of a Feb. 5 vote on an Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) revenue purpose statement (RPS). Satellite stations will open on Jan. 31 at University of Iowa Hospitals, and Feb. 1 at the Iowa City Public Library.
Voters are deciding if the schools should move ahead with a non-binding “One community, One district” plan that includes purchase of property and building new schools around the district, including a new high school.

District agrees to start school Aug. 20, 2013

SOLON– Graduation day will fall on May 18, 2014, and school will start on Aug. 20, 2013, as the Solon school board passed next year’s calendar at its January meeting.
Board members also asked a calendar committee for different start date options for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. The committee will also look at building in some snow days during the school year to avoid a late start to summer vacations.
For high school principal Nathan Wear, “It’s not so much the early start. It’s ending the semester by (winter) break.”

Switching SEATS ?

Supervisors counting on cities to help fund service

IOWA CITY– Contracts with Iowa City and Coralville for the county-wide para-transit bus service, SEATS, will expire at the end of June. But Johnson County supervisors have already decided they want to end their subsidy of the service.
The program provides riders around the county with door-to-door transport and anyone outside the city limits of Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty and University Heights can request a ride that comes with a half-hour window for pick-ups.

Brushing up at Solon’s Corridor Arts

SOLON– Corridor Arts opened a Main Street studio in mid-October last year, and interest in art classes and painting lessons is growing.
Offering watercolor, acrylic and drawing lessons for children and adults, the studio is run by Susan Kennicott and Lianne Westcot as a space to practice art. Their lessons and classes are a great way for artists at all levels to set aside time and create with color, line, shape and the other components of two-dimensional aesthetics.

Wilderness Studio decks the halls

SOLON– Dick Sjolund and Wilderness Studio assistant Emilee McNeal were delivering gifts a bit ahead of Santa at the Solon Nursing Care Center in December.
Sjolund surprised residents with framed photos (printed at his studio in rural Solon) and little fanfare. Sjolund has been taking portraits of the care center staff at his Wilderness Studio. He decided against a holiday sale of his pictures in favor of gifting his photos, many of which were taken and exhibited around the world.

First day of Solon school up for grabs

School board to hold hearing Jan. 14 to take input on start date

Christmas wishes

Hunter Jones, 7, told Santa she wants a parrot and a trampoline for Christmas. She was visiting jolly old St. Nick at Bridge Community Bank in Solon.

Historic Dillon’s Furrow marked in Solon

SOLON– History was marked in Solon on Sunday, Nov. 25, when a plaque was set next to Highway 1 on Main Street. The marker recognizes a point in time along the line that 173 years ago was known as the new military road from Iowa City to Dubuque.
It was built for $20,000 and, after surveying, was plowed by Lyman Dillon, of Cascade. Dillon, 39 years old and born in Utica, N.Y., was single and the owner of a saw mill.