School Talk 7 'Xtra with Jere Vyverberg of WSR Schools
WAVERLY (KWWL) -
This week in School Talk '7 Xtra,we feature Waverly Shell Rock's Superintendent Jere Vyverberg. Jere was one of the first School leaders to become a part of Today in Iowa's "School Talk" and has been a great resource for all things education in Iowa. His retirement this summer will create a giant void for not only School Talk but also education in the state. Jere sat down with KWWL's Jason Carter in this week's segment and answered these questions following his TV interview.
Jason Carter: Will 4% allowable growth be enough over the next two years for Iowa school districts to catch up and move forward after years of decreasing budgets?
Jere Vyverberg: Two years of allowable growth at 4% will not adequately make up the lost revenue schools have seen over the past several years. We need to look at the proposed "2% plus a onetime 2% increase". While it seems strange that will not equate to 4% for the next two years. We need to consider that the 4% for year two will not be compounded on the 4% the year before but, instead, only 2%. It is a cost saving measure by the state and will save them millions. So, while appreciated and very much needed, it is only a start. Many schools only have 2-3% of discretionary funds to deal with unexpected expenses. We simply need to fund schools to see improvement. It has been shown that student achievement scores correlate to funding.
Jason Carter: Why do you think technology enhancements were not included in "education reform"? Should they have been?
Jere Vyverberg: Some believe the state sees the tech enhancements as simply too much to handle. Those resources are expensive but they are necessary to allow our students access to the world of curriculum materials. It is difficult to be "problem solvers" without the necessary resources to learn how to solve problems.
Jason Carter: Is increasing starting teacher salary enough? Should the state consider paying for their education in return for teaching? (Many states already do)
Jere Vyverberg: Increasing the starting salary is helpful to encourage and retain high quality teachers. Retention is lower than it has ever been because public education cannot keep up with the private sector. The simple answer is, again, lack of funds. Teachers are highly motivated and engaged but to stay in the profession will and should cost more.
Jason Carter: What has the legislature taught school districts about the politics involved in setting allowable growth and reform?
Jere Vyverberg: One lesson has been to date that the "needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many". So far the legislature is held up as they try to make everyone happy. We know that is not possible and trying to solve all problems in this session is unattainable. Each issue needs to stand on its own merits and not hold up the legislative process. I see far too much partisanship. It seems to get worse each year and many school people are frustrated.
Jason Carter: Jason Glass (Iowa Director of Education) has indicated he might be leaving soon, what do you think the state needs in the person who replaces him?
Jere Vyverberg: It is my arguable belief that as long as the position remains "at the leisure of the Governor" the political aspects will not change. I would love to see someone who is not constrained by politics but works on true reform that will benefit kids and those who teach them. Administrators and teachers need to be active.
Jason Carter: With retirement from running a school district on your horizon, what would you share with the person replacing you?
Jere Vyverberg: I really doubt I have to share anything except where to find the files I've maintained. Ed Klamfoth is well prepared to continue his leadership at W-SR.
Jason Carter: What will you miss about running a school district?
Jere Vyverberg: I will miss the people that I have worked with so well these past 12 years. This is a great school district in communities. I will miss people but treasure the relationships I've been so fortunate to build. I know W-SR is not atypical in that all staff share a common goal- provide for students and assist in their growth. I feel blessed to be part of a district that cares so much. So much of what I've been part of these past 43 years has been about people. I feel very blessed and appreciative.
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