West Des Moines Community Schools | January 7, 2021

WDMCS Unity During Difficult Times in our Nation

WDMCS Families,

Earlier today I emailed our staff regarding yesterday's shocking events in Washington D.C. which significantly impacted our nation, and most certainly affected each of us here in our own WDMCS community. I found it difficult to sleep last night as I played the images and sound bites from the news over in my head.

As educators, we carry an enormous responsibility to both ensure our own self-care during stressful times while providing support, safety, and opportunities for students to process their own questions and fears. I am grateful our staff understands that just as our nation is filled with varying perspectives and opinions, so too our students and families hold close their own beliefs. This is not the first time nor will it be the last when we lead students through difficult conversations, provide reassurance of safety, and continuously demonstrate empathy.

Your student's teacher may have led age-appropriate conversations, providing time and space for respectful conversations today. Students may come home and ask additional questions or share their own fears or concerns.

To say this has been a difficult 10 months is an understatement. At WDMCS, we consider it a privilege to be a source of support to you and your students.

Dr. Lisa Remy


WDMCS Welcomed Students Back to School After Break

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2020-21 Tiger Cubs Enrollment Process to Open Jan. 19, 2021

Are you ready for preschool? Request a 2021-22 Tiger Cubs spot for children turning 4 on or before Sept. 15, starting Jan. 19!

Tiger Cubs is the WDMCS preschool program, funded through Statewide Voluntary Preschool, with no cost to families. Tiger Cubs provides opportunities for children to develop important learning skills. Tiger Cubs Preschools has 4-year-old programs at Clive Learning Academy, Crestview School of Inquiry, and Fairmeadows, Hillside Jordan Creek, Western Hills, and Westridge elementary schools, as well as the Learning Resource Center. Tiger Cubs preschool includes special education students ages 3-5.

Learn more at discover.wdmcs.org/tiger-cubs-enrollment.

WDMCS to Start Budget Reduction Process for 2021-22

West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) leadership determined the need to reduce the budget by $2.5-3.5 million for 2021-22 school year. This is a result of three key issues.

  1. Deficit spending for three years. WDMCS continues to use reserve funds to cover deficit spending. It’s like using money out of a savings account to cover basic monthly expenses. WDMCS must adjust its budget so we no longer dip into our “savings” but can pay our expenses with the revenue we receive.

  2. Declining enrollment. The October 2020 official enrollment count is down more than 170 students from last year. The state provides funds based on enrollment and is a significant source of revenue. Decreased enrollment results in decreased funding from the state.

  3. Lack of adequate State Supplement Aid (SSA). SSA impacts the amount of revenue each student generates, and currently, SSA is extremely low. The gap between SSA and the cost of operating a school district continues to widen, which also results in decreased revenue. SSA is determined by the Iowa legislature.

In Iowa, the state not only provides money to schools to operate, it also tells school districts how much money they are allowed to spend. The concept is called “spending authority.” It is against the law for a school district to spend more money than it is allowed to by the state.

WDMCS has not gone through a budget reduction process since the 2015-16 school year when $530,000 was cut from the 2016-17 budget. The district needs to reduce its General Fund budget by at least $2.5 million to reverse the deficit spend trend while maintaining necessary funding reserves.

CFO Paul Bobek presented financial projections to the Board of Education in a Sept. 14, 2020, Board workshop. At the conclusion of the presentation. Bobek explained budget reductions must be made for the 2021-22 school year.

Superintendent Remy shared that a 60+ person Long-Range Planning Committee composed of parents, students, teachers, administrators, and community members will serve to assist Dr. Remy and the leadership team in determining where cuts are needed. The first committee meeting is scheduled for mid-January, with the final budget reduction recommendations going to the Board in early March.

Schools Can't Do It Alone

The following video is the second video in a series that our district obtained when we joined the Schools Cannot Do It Alone Network, a coalition of educators and their allies working to defend public education and increase support for public schools.

E Pluribus Unum: Creating the "We" Part 2

E Pluribus Unum Part 2

School/Community Relations

Laine Mendenhall-Buck

Alexandra Wade

Communications Specialist

Aaron Young

Communications Specialist