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Morris Area School Board approves preliminary levy

MORRIS - The Morris Area School Board voted Monday to certify the maximum amount for the district's 2013 preliminary levy - an increase of 1.68 percent over 2012.

The maximum levy amount is set by the Department of Education, and amounts to a proposed levy of about $3.2 million. From this point forward, the board can chose to lower the levy, but they won't be able to raise it.

The board will set their final levy amount after a Truth in Taxation hearing on Dec. 17, 2012.

Teachers concerned about music class sizes

Morris Area teachers Barb Wilts and John John Kleinwolterink presented the board with information class sizes for music at the elementary school.

Back in June, Wilts, Kleinwolterink and teachers Stacey Erdal and Wanda Dagen came to the board with concerns about class sizes.

On Monday, Wilts told the board that increasing the number of sections at the elementary school has resulted in large class sizes and fewer opportunities to offer band lessons to fifth and sixth grade students.

For example, seventh and eighth grade students are combined for choir for a class of 87 that meets in the MAES Concert Hall.

Because there are fewer times to offer band lessons, students on different instruments are taught at the same time - "It's like teaching two different languages," explained Kleinwolterink.

Kleinwolterink and Wilts suggested bringing in another instructor for a few hours of band lessons each week to help ease the burden

"We're really trying to make it work ... we just feel we could do a much better job with two more hours of time," said Kleinwolterink.

School board member Lory Lemke said it would be helpful for the board to see a list of potential solutions and their costs to try and address these problems.

"It would be nice to know what we need to do to solve them," said Lemke.

Other business

• The school board will meet for a joint work session with the Cyrus School Board on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7:00 p.m. at the Cyrus school to discuss the proposed consolidation.

• The school board next regular meeting on Monday, Oct. 22 will be held in the Donnelly Town Hall.