HJ-ED-DHJ

September 24, 2007

State of the School

Delano above average in testing scores

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

Keeping educational excellence its foremost goal is what Delano Schools Superintendent Dr. John Sweet said the district lives by at the annual State of the School address to the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday at the Delano City Hall.

Sweet touched on a number of issues impacting the school district throughout the past year, as well as looking forward to the future.

He said Minnesota has the highest ACT composite score of any state in the nation at 22.5, with the national average 21.2, and Delano being higher than both at 23.5.

In reviewing the class of 2007 graduates, Sweet said 89 students have gone on to a four-year college, 31 have gone on to a two-year college or military, and 23 have chosen work or other options.

The Minnesota Department of Education recognized Delano Schools in 2007 with a school finance award for sound fiscal health and financial management policies.

He reviewed achievement test results for math and reading for 2006-07, and said in math, 91 percent of elementary students (third and fourth graders) met or exceeded the standard, compared to the state average of 73 percent; 76 percent of middle school students met or exceeded the standard, compared to the state average of 60 percent; and in the high school (11th grade), 56 percent of students met or exceeded the standard, compared to the state average of 33 percent.

For reading achievement test results, 88 percent of elementary students (third and fourth graders) met or exceeded the standard, compared to the state average of 76 percent; 81 percent of middle school students tested met or exceeded the standard, compared to the state average of 67 percent; and 87 percent of high school students (10th graders), met or exceeded the standard, compared to the state average of 64 percent.

In comparing enrollment data, Sweet said for fiscal year 2007, Delano Schools has 229 students enrolling into the district, and 198 enrolling out, which is a difference of 31 spread among 13 grades. He said non-resident enrollment is limited for grades k-10 in 2007-08. The Delano School District has grown by 360 students since 2002-03.

Presently, the elementary, middle, and high schools are all above capacity, Sweet said.

Elementary capacity is 750, with there presently being 762 elementary students, and a projected 847 by the 2012-13 school year.

Middle school capacity is 700, with there presently being 709 middle school students, and a projected 808 by the 2012-13 school year.

High school capacity is also 700, with there presently being 778 high school students, and a projected 903 by the 2012-13 school year.

Sweet added the middle and high school grow faster than the elementary due to the number of private school students who enter the middle school and high school.

Turning to future planning, Sweet said a facilities advisory committee was formed in 2006-07 to advise the school board on how to handle the increasing enrollment.

Recommendations of the committee were the construction of a grades 4-6 elementary building with a capacity of 625 students, and to move the fourth grade out of the elementary, and fifth and sixth grades out of the middle school to the new building.

Three questions are being proposed to district residents on the ballot Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Question one asks for voter approval to increase the operating levy by $285 per pupil so funds are available to operate an additional facility.

Question two asks for the issuance of $29,030,000 in bonds to purchase 13 acres of land, construct a grades 4-6 building, as well as additional high school science labs, middle school and high school music rooms, among other things.

The third question is asking for $810,000 for additional physical education/athletic field, synthetic turf on the football field to make it usable for physical education as well as athletics, upgrades at the community education building, and air conditioning in the cardio and weight rooms at the Tiger Activity Center.

Sweet said a scientific survey done of registered voters in June found the operating levy is feasible if the annual cost is $150 on an average tax-valued residential homestead, and does not exceed $196 for a building bond.

He encouraged those wanting more information to visit www.delano.k12.mn.us, and to click on the superintendent’s page.

“Our saying is ‘where education is our foremost goal,’ and we do live by that,” Sweet said.


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