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Des Moines Public Schools, Iowa

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Des Moines Public Schools
Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines Public Schools.jpeg
District Profile
Superintendent:Thomas Ahart
Enrollment:32,062 students
Graduation rate:75.68%
Number of schools:64
Budget: $471.5 million
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:Dick Murphy
Board members:7
Term length:4
Des Moines Public Schools is a school district in Iowa that serves the city of Des Moines. It is the largest school district in Iowa, serving 32,062 students in 64 schools.[1] It features Iowa's only International Baccalaureate curriculum, as well as the state's only public Montessori school.[2]

About the district

Des Moines Public Schools is located in Polk County, Iowa
Des Moines Public Schools is located in Polk County, Iowa. The county seat of Polk County is Des Moines. According to the 2010 US Census, Polk County is home to 430,640 residents.[3]

Demographics

Polk County outperformed the rest of Iowa in terms of its median rates of average household income, poverty and higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income in Polk County was $57,473 compared to $50,451 for the state of Iowa. The poverty rate in Polk County was 10.6% compared to 11.9% for the entire state. The US Census also found that 33.8% of Polk County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 24.9% in Iowa.[4]

Racial Demographics, 2012[4]
Race Polk County (%) Iowa (%)
White 80.1 88.0
Black or African American 6.4 3.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.5 0.5
Asian 3.8 2.0
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.1 1.6
Hispanic or Latino 7.9 5.3

Party Affiliation, 2013[5]
Party Registered Voters  % of Total
Democratic 107,630 38.7
Republican 83,853 30.2
Unaffiliated 85,819 30.9
Other 638 0.2

Superintendent

The current Superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools is Thomas Ahart, who has held the position since his appointment in 2012. Ahart earned a B.A. in Speech and Mass Journalism from the University of Denver and an M.P.A. and Ed.S. from Drake University. In his career, Ahart has worked as a language arts instructor, school improvement consultant, Director of Instruction, Director of Human Resources and school principal. He has also served as a member of the Iowa Department of Education’s Charter School Advisory Board, editor for Iowa Educational Leadership, and president of the Iowa Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Ahart became the Assistant Superintendent for Des Moines Public Schools on July 1, 2011 and was appointed as interim Superintendent on May 15, 2012 become reaching his current position on March 12, 2013.[6]

School board

Des Moines Public Schools are overseen by a seven-member board elected to four-year terms. School board members are not compensated for their services.[7]

School board districts in Des Moines

Des Moines Board of Directors
Member District Assumed Office Term Ends
Cindy Elsbernd At-large 2011 2015
Connie Boesen At-large 2003 2017
Rob X. Barron At-large 2013 2017
Bill Howard At-large 2011 2015
Pat Sweeney At-large 2011 2015
Toussaint Cheatom District 2 2013 2017
Teree Caldwell-Johnson District 4 2006 2017

School board elections

See also: Des Moines Public Schools elections (2013)

Members of the Des Moines School Board are elected to four-year terms on a staggered basis. Each election is held on the second Tuesday of September in every other odd-numbered year. Four seats were up for election on September 10, 2013. Beginning with the 2013 election, the board began to transition to a mixture of at-large and district seats. Two at-large seats became the District 2 and 4 seats in 2013, and two more at-large seats will become District 1 and 3 seats in 2015.[7]

Budget

The table below displays the budget for Des Moines Public Schools.[8]

Expenditures by Category
School Year Staff Expenses Student Services Operational Expenses Debt Service Other Budget Total
Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget
2011-2012 $282,535,772 63.9% $31,432,498 7.1% $76,802,658 17.4% $6,008,000 1.4% $37,409,003 8.5% $441,820,412
2012-2013 $281,843,953 59.8% $32,851,291 7% $87,547,126 18.6% $11,618,665 2.5% $45,149,377 9.6% $471,539,412
Averages: $282,189,862.5 62% $32,141,894.5 7% $82,174,892 18% $8,813,332.5 2% $41,279,190 9% $456,679,912

Teacher salaries

Des Moines Public Schools employed nearly 5,000 teachers and staff during the 2012-2013 school year. Teachers are placed into salary categories based on higher educational attainment. The salary schedule increases pay within degree categories for teachers who accrue professional growth credits through college courses and re-certification requirements. Teachers with Bachelor's degrees receive pay increases at 15 hour credits while teachers with Master's degrees earn increases after 15 and 30 hour credits. This chart details teacher salaries according to the Comprehensive Agreement between the school district and the Des Moines Education Association:[9]

Salary Structure
Step Bachelor's Degree ($) Bachelor's Degree ($) + 15 Master's Degree ($) Master's Degree ($) + 15 Master's Degree ($) + 30
1 37,229 38,665 40,532 41,969 43,405
2 37,875 39,311 41,250 42,687 44,123
3 39,168 40,604 42,687 44,123 45,559
4 40,460 41,897 44,123 45,559 46,995
5 41,753 43,189 45,559 46,995 48,432
6 43,046 44,482 46,995 48,432 49,868
7 44,338 45,775 48,432 49,868 51,304
8 45,631 47,067 49,868 51,304 52,740
9 46,995 48,432 51,376 52,740 54,177
10 48,432 49,868 52,956 54,177 55,613
11 49,868 51,304 54,536 55,685 57,049
12 51,304 52,740 56,116 57,265 58,485
13 N/A N/A 57,695 58,844 59,993
14 N/A N/A N/A N/A 61,573

Unions

Teachers, nurses, secretaries, and associates are represented by the Des Moines Education Association. It is an affiliate organization of the National Education Association and the Iowa State Education Association.[10]

Schools in Des Moines

Enrollment

Des Moines Public Schools serves 32,062 students in 64 schools. The district has experienced an increase in enrollment in recent years.[1]

Total Enrollment
Year Enrollment Year-to-year Change (%)
1999-2000 32,200
2000-2001 32,345 0.5
2001-2002 32,580 0.7
2002-2003 32,459 -0.4
2003-2004 32,139 -1.0
2004-2005 31,874 -0.8
2005-2006 31,549 -1.0
2006-2007 31,218 -1.0
2007-2008 31,129 -0.3
2008-2009 30,783 -1.1
2009-2010 30,954 0.6
2010-2011 30,975 0.1
2011-2012 31,546 1.8
2012-2013 32,350 2.5

District schools

Des Moines Public Schools operates 64 schools listed below in alphabetical order:

Des Moines Public Schools
School Name School Type
Brody Middle School Middle
Brubaker Elementary School Elementary
Capitol View Elementary School PK/Elementary
Callanan Middle School Middle
Carver Community School PK/Elementary
Casady Alternative Center Other
Cattell Elementary School Elementary
Central Academy High/Other
Central Campus High/Other
Cowles Montessori School PK/Elementary/Middle
Downtown School Elementary
East High School High
Edmunds Elementary School PK/Elementary
Findley Elementary School PK/Elementary
Future Pathways Other
Garton Elementary School Elementary
Gateway Secondary School Middle
Goodrell Middle School Middle
Greenwood Elementary School Elementary
Hanawalt Elementary School Elementary
Harding Middle School Middle
Hiatt Middle School Middle
Hillis Elementary School PK/Elementary
Hoover High School High
Howe Elementary School Elementary
Hoyt Middle School Middle
Hubbell Elementary School Elementary
Jackson Elementary School Elementary
Jefferson Elementary School Elementary
King Elementary School Elementary
Lincoln High School High
Lincoln RAILS Academy High
Lovejoy Elementary School Elementary
Madison Elementary School PK/Elementary
McCombs Middle School Middle
McKee Education Center Preschool
McKinley Elementary School PK/Elementary
Meredith Middle School Middle
Merrill Middle School Middle
Middle School Alternative Education Center Other
Mitchell Education Center Preschool
Monroe Elementary School Elementary
Morris Elementary School Elementary
Moulton Extended Learning Center PK/Elementary/Middle
North High School High
Oak Park Elementary School Elementary
Orchard Place Campus School Other
PACE (Interagency Programs) Other
Park Avenue Elementary School Elementary
Perkins Elementary School Elementary
Phillips Elementary School PK/Elementary
Pleasant Hill Elementary School PK/Elementary
River Woods Elementary School PK/Elementary
Roosevelt High School High
Ruby Van Meter High/Other
Samuelson Elementary School Elementary
Scavo Alternative High School High/Other
Smouse Opportunity School PK/Elementary/Other
South Union Elementary School Elementary
Stowe Elementary School Elementary
Studebaker Elementary School PK/Elementary
Walnut Street School PK/Elementary
Weeks Middle School Middle
Willard Elementary School PK/Elementary
Windsor Elementary School Elementary
Woodlawn Education Center Preschool
Wright Elementary School Elementary

Academic performance

The Iowa Department of Education administered tests to determine Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) in K-12 schools during the 2011-2012 school year. The Iowa Assessment and Iowa Alternate Assessment were conducted to determine math and reading levels for students in grades 3-8 and 11. Evaluations were used by the Department of Education to comply with federal No Child Left Behind standards for student evaluation. A report published in September, 2012 by the department indicated that 99.7% of students in Iowa participated in assessments.[11]

According to this report, Des Moines Public Schools was considered a "District in Need of Assistance" based on reading and math scores. The State Report Card also highlighted 47 district schools that were considered "Schools in Need of Assistance" based on math or reading scores.

State performance levels

Reading Performance Achievement Levels, 2011-2012
Grade Low Intermediate High
3 23.2 59.6 17.3
4 25.6 56.6 17.8
5 25.7 59.4 14.9
6 35.4 50.6 14.0
7 32.5 55.0 12.4
8 33.9 54.6 11.5
11 16.1 69.2 14.8

Math Performance Achievement Levels, 2011-2012
Grade Low Intermediate High
3 20.5 56.2 23.3
4 21.8 56.2 22.0
5 22.0 54.6 23.4
6 28.4 52.4 19.2
7 21.2 59.1 19.8
8 25.4 55.6 19.0
11 17.2 65.0 17.8

Performance comparisons

Percentage of Students at Achievement Level, Reading, Grade 4
Achievement Level Iowa United States
Below Basic 31 34
Basic 35 34
Proficient 27 25
Advanced 6 7

Percentage of Students at Achievement Level, Math, Grade 4
Achievement Level Iowa United States
Below Basic 14 18
Basic 43 42
Proficient 37 33
Advanced 6 6

Percentage of Students at Achievement Level, Reading, Grade 8
Achievement Level Iowa United States
Below Basic 23 25
Basic 44 43
Proficient 31 29
Advanced 2 3

Percentage of Students at Achievement Level, Math, Grade 8
Achievement Level Iowa United States
Below Basic 23 28
Basic 43 39
Proficient 26 26
Advanced 8 8

Issues

Superintendent Sebring's resignation

Lawsuits
Sebring filed a lawsuit against Des Moines Public Schools Board Director Teree Caldwell-Johnson, Community Relations Director Phil Roeder, and General Counsel Patricia Lantz on June 27, 2013, alleging that they had "either individually or working in concert, wrongfully undertook steps to ensure the purely personal and private emails would come to the attention of the Des Moines Register and to the public."[12] The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, on behalf of former board member Graham Gillette, has filed a separate lawsuit against the board to force the district to release the recording of the May 10, 2012 closed session to the public.[13]


"Bounce the Board" campaign
On June 12, 2013, district parent Heather Ryan began an anti-incumbent "Bounce the Board" campaign to oust Des Moines Public Schools board chair Dick Murphy and members Connie Boesen and Teree Caldwell-Johnson.[14] Ryan criticized the board as unconcerned with children and arrogant and secretive toward parents. She specifically condemned their refusal to answer questions regarding a letter the board mailed out to parents rejecting requests to open enrollment in the district.[15] Ryan has also expressed dissatisfaction with the board's involvement in former Superintendent Nancy Sebring's resignation.[16]


Resignation and closed session meeting
On May 10, 2012, the Board of Directors held a closed session for which the meeting agenda stated that they intended "to evaluate the professional competency of an individual whose appointment, hiring, performance or discharge is being considered when necessary to prevent needless and irreparable injury to that individual’s reputation.”[13] Following this meeting, Superintendent Nancy Sebring resigned, and the Des Moines Register reported in June, 2012 that Sebring had "inappropriately used the district’s technology to send and receive sexually explicit messages."[16]

Contact information

Des Moines Public Schools.jpeg

Board of Directors
Des Moines Public Schools
901 Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: 515-242-7713
Email: board@dmschools.org

Website evaluation

Last rated on July 30, 2013.

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Transparency grading process

The good

  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.[17]
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[17]
  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.[17]
    • Budgets are archived for 4 years.[17]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for three years.[18]
    • Meeting agendas are available for the next meeting.[19]
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.[19]
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[20]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[21]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.[21]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[22]
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[23]
    • Employee contracts are posted.[24]
  • Public Records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by Sarah Taylor. This person provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[25]
    • A public records form is provided.[26]
    • A fee schedule for documents is provided.[27]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.[28]
    • Audits dating back to 2009 are available.[28]
  • Academic Performance
    • Academic performance reports for the school are posted online.[1]
  • Background Checks
    • The criminal background check policy and teacher certification requirements are posted online.[29]

The bad

  • Meetings
    • Video recordings are available, but cost citizens $10 per meeting with 2-4 weeks for processing.[18]

See also

External links

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Des Moines Public Schools, "Facts & Figures," accessed July 29, 2013
  2. Des Moines Public Schools, "About Us," accessed July 29, 2013
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Guide to 2010 Census State and Local Geography - Iowa," accessed July 29, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 United States Census Bureau, "Polk County Quick Facts," accessed July 29, 2013
  5. Iowa Secretary of State, “Voter Registration Totals by County,” accessed July 29, 2013
  6. Des Moines Public Schools, "Superintendent Thomas Ahart," accessed July 29, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 Des Moines Public Schools, "School Board Elections," accessed July 29, 2013
  8. Des Moines Public Schools, "FY 2012-13 Budget," accessed July 29, 2013
  9. Des Moines Public Schools, "Comprehensive Agreements," accessed July 29, 2013
  10. Des Moines Education Association, "Latest News," accessed July 30, 2013
  11. Iowa Department of Education, "Education Statistics," accessed July 30, 2013
  12. Kevin Cooney, KCCI News 8, "Sebring names 3 people in lawsuit against DM Schools," June 28, 2013
  13. 13.0 13.1 Mary Stegmeir, Des Moines Register, "ACLU wants judge to review recording from Nancy Sebring resignation meeting," April 26, 2013
  14. Bounce the Board, "About," accessed July 30, 2013
  15. Janet Klockenga, Des Moines Register, "Des Moines woman launches campaign to oust 3 city school board members," June 12, 2013
  16. 16.0 16.1 Jens Manuel Krogstad, Des Moines Register, "Boesen to seek re-election," July 18, 2013
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Des Moines Public Schools, "Budget & Revenue," accessed July 30, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 Des Moines Public Schools, "Meeting Minutes," accessed July 30, 2013
  19. 19.0 19.1 Des Moines Public Schools, "Agenda & Schedule," accessed July 30, 2013
  20. Des Moines Public Schools, "School Board Members," accessed July 30, 2013
  21. 21.0 21.1 Des Moines Public Schools, "Administrators," accessed July 30, 2013
  22. Des Moines Public Schools, "Open Proposals," accessed July 30, 2013
  23. Des Moines Public Schools, "Current Contracts," accessed July 30, 2013
  24. Des Moines Public Schools, "Comprehensive Agreements," accessed July 30, 2013
  25. Des Moines Public Schools, "Public Records Requests," accessed July 30, 2013
  26. Des Moines Public Schools, "How to Make a Request," accessed July 30, 2013
  27. Des Moines Public Schools, "Costs and Response Time," accessed July 30, 2013
  28. 28.0 28.1 Des Moines Public Schools, "Financial Reports," accessed July 30, 2013
  29. Des Moines Public Schools, "Monitoring Report on the Treatment of Faculty and Staff," accessed July 30, 2013