As the Norfolk Public School district continues to grow, administrators are making sure there’s enough space to keep up.

At the August regular board meeting on Monday night, board members approved the purchase of a property at 508 S. Sixth St. for $33,232.50.

The purchase is a part of the district’s long-term strategic plan for facilities and finance, said Dr. Bill Robinson, associate superintendent, to buy adjacent properties at fair market pricing for district use.

The property is across from the junior high and extends to the railroad tracks running along Fifth Street. The house and garage will be razed for future parking or green space, Robinson said. According to the Madison County assessor’s website, the property is 3,825 square feet.

The junior high and high school are poised for the most growth in the 2019-20 school year, according to a preliminary enrollment report Thompson shared at the meeting. The junior high has 50 more students compared to this time last year, she said, and the high school has 61 more students.

Parking at the junior high is not usually an issue during the school day, said Dr. Jami Jo Thompson, superintendent.

“We don’t have the same level of issues at the junior high as we do at the senior high. Primarily it’s an issue when we have activities that we may have a shortage of parking spaces,” she said.

High school parking was discussed in the study session, which focused on district safety updates. This year, student parking permit sales were limited to 450, which oversells the amount of student parking spots by about 20%, said Derek Ippensen, high school principal.

This number of sales is less than the number of student parking passes that have been sold in the past, and he said they would sell more if there seems to be more space available after the first month. There are now 383 student parking spots, and this year students can park in any of the student-designated areas.

Other administrators have been preparing to make sure there are enough resources to maintain the district’s growth. Beth Nelson, director of teaching and learning, said in her report Monday night the district would need more Chromebooks in her report.

Overall K-12 enrollment is up by 128 students comparatively, although the numbers will continue to fluctuate throughout the beginning of the school year, Thompson said.

The current enrollment for Kindergarten students is at 343, the largest Thompson has seen at the district.

Kindergarten rosters are full at Lincoln Montessori, Jefferson and Grant, and overflow enrollment is being directed to Bel-Air and Washington elementary schools, she said. Bel-Air and Woodland Park have lower Kindergarten enrollment numbers due to transfers to Lincoln Montessori.

The amount of students in the district has been increasing every year, with an average of 42 more students every year districtwide, according to a strategic growth plan Thompson shared in the January regular board meeting study session.

From 2000 to 2006, the student body size declined, with the district student body size at its smallest in 2006 with 3,941 students, according to data compiled for the report. Enrollment has steadily grown since 2007, with more rapid gains since 2012. The district had 4,446 students in the 2018-19 school year.

The official 2019-20 enrollment numbers will be collected on Oct. 1.


The Norfolk Public Schools Board of Education met for its monthly meeting Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Norfolk Public Schools Central Administration Office.

The meeting lasted 26 minutes, and it was preceded by a 46-minute study session.

Board members present: Tammy Day, Sandy Wolfe, Bob Waite and Patti Gubbels. Others in attendance: Two from the media.

ITEMS OF INTEREST

- Mike Hart, Bill Robinson and building administrators provided a district safety update in the study session.

- Beth Nelson, director of teaching and learning, shared information about a soft pilot study of target-based grading in the district, which she said was a safe way to monitor the grading transition without changing anything related to GPAs.

- Mike Hart, director of human resources and accreditation, said that all staff reported for the 2019-20 school year on Monday.

- Dr. Jami Jo Thompson, superintendent, shared a preliminary enrollment report.

ACTION ITEMS

- Notice of settlement of the claim of a former employee.

- Discuss and take action to approve the 2019-20 Certified Staff Handbook.

- Discuss and take action to approve up to $2.5 million in additional claims in August to close out the 2018-19 school year

- Discuss and take action to approve the purchase agreement for property located at 508 S. 6th St. for $33,232.50 (including closing costs).

- Discuss and take action to approve the second and final reading of the following board policies: 5304 (Cooperative Activities), 4010 (Intellectual Property and Work-for-Hire), 4110 (Release from Contract), 1120 (Tobacco Policy), 5305 (School Dances), 3130 (Purchasing Policies), 3131 (Procurement Plan-School Food Authorities), 4030 (Wage Information), 5001 (Admission Requirements), 5012 (Military Recruiters), 6211 (Curriculum-Assessments), 6410 (Title I Parent and Family Engagement), 8151 (Standing Committees), 8153 (Standing Committee on American Civics) and 8159 (Standing Committee on Curriculum).

- Discuss and take action to approve the appointment of American civics committee members: Dr. Patti Gubbels, Bruce Mitchell and Tammy Day.

FUTURE MEETINGS

The second monthly meeting will be a budget workshop at noon on Thursday, Aug. 29. The next regular business meeting is scheduled for 5:30 on Monday, Sept. 9.

In other news

GIBRALTAR (AP) — The United States faced an against-the-clock legal battle to re-seize an Iranian supertanker caught in a diplomatic standoff before the vessel’s shipping agent said Saturday he would go ahead with the ship’s planned departure from Gibraltar on Sunday or Monday.