The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 26, 2013

Clinton School District aims to blend 2 schools

Lyons, Washington sharing sports, activities

By Charlene Bielema
Herald Editor

CLINTON — As Clinton’s two middle schools face a shared future in one building, their principals gave a glimpse Monday night of how they are working to make it a smooth transition.

Lyons Middle School Principal Dan Boyd and Washington Middle School Principal Brian Kenney gave a presentation to the Clinton School Board showing that this merger has been a work in progress for many years, starting as far back as 1989 when the schools began sharing an orchestra program.

“The plan to unite began a long time ago,” Kenney told the board.

Since that time, the two schools have moved toward shared academics, athletics and activities, including a band program that merged in 2006, itinerant teachers that worked at both buildings, shared holiday dances and then a shared wrestling program starting in 2010.

Last year, the two schools began sharing a track program that this year has 140 students from the two schools and seven coaches. Cross-country and swimming teams began a shared program this year as well.

All of the work is geared toward moving the students toward what will be known as Clinton Middle School, the construction of which will be celebrated with a ground-breaking ceremony on April 9, and will open to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students in the fall of 2014.

Boyd and Kenney explained how staff members are looking toward next year — the final year of two buildings — when building schedules will be the same, administrators will be shared between buildings and staff members will continue to forge working relationships between the two schools in preparation for the merger.

Boyd told the board this is a great time for the two schools and their students as they notice earth-moving equipment and trailers being set up at the future school’s construction site.

“We are excited now because it is starting to look real,” he said.

The board approved the $21 million bid for the new middle school in January.

CFO Jan Culbertson explained that the project will start with $8 to $9 million the district has on hand and then the district will do a revenue bond based on the future revenue from the one-cent sales tax.

In the future, the district would see a negative balance, but would be able to manage it, according to Matthew Gillaspie with Piper Jaffray, who presented to the board in October.

In other action the board:

• approved a request for a World Language trip to Costa Rica in June 2014.

• approved the fiscal year 2014 budget.

• approved the 101 percent guarantee resolution, which would be used if the Legislature does not pass any allowable growth for fiscal year 2014.

• approved the purchase of a house and property at 1000 S. Eighth St., which is adjacent to Franklin Field, at a cost of $55,000.

The property fits into the long-term facility plan for Clinton High School.