Austin Packer Bulletin - 0103
Volume 1, Issue 3
Preparing Our Students For A Bright Future
We have had a tremendous start to the new school year at Austin Public Schools. You can feel the energy and spirit in our classrooms and hallways.
This week, as we celebrate homecoming, I wanted to take a moment to thank our families and caregivers, staff and communities for their ongoing commitment and support. You play such a vital role in the success of our students.
Across Minnesota, strong schools mean stronger communities and local economies. The Austin Public School district is an important community asset that helps attract new families and businesses to our community while supporting the needs of a skilled workforce. Over the next several weeks, district residents will be making an important decision that will impact the future of our schools.
On the ballot this November is a proposal to increase the school operating levy to provide an additional $470 per student to help the district stabilize its finances now and in the future.
Over the past decade, state funding has failed to keep up with rising education costs. Currently, the school district faces a $3 million deficit for the next school year. While we have worked hard to manage costs and maximize one-time federal grants, the district will need additional funding to avoid budget cuts impacting staffing, educational programs, and extracurricular activities. Our operating levy is the lowest in the region at $42.70 per pupil annually.
If the referendum is approved, the levy increase will generate an additional $2.4 million yearly for the district’s operating budget, including staff salaries, transportation costs, support services, and student programming. With the additional financial support, the district will be able to retain staff, maintain class sizes, continue providing vocational training and college credit options, and preserve fine arts and athletic programs. If the operating levy increase is approved, the average homeowner in our district would see a property tax increase of $12 a month on a home valued at $170,000.
We recognize that this is a significant community investment. With that in mind, I encourage everyone to visit AccelerateAustin.org to learn more about the district’s financial challenges and our plan to address them. We want every resident to make their voice heard, so please don’t forget to vote. Early voting begins this week on Friday, September 23, and you can vote early by mail or in person at your county elections office through November 7. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.
Dr. Joey Page
Early Voting Starts Today!
The Lunch Tray Project
Austin Public Schools is excited to announce that Hormel Foods has made a $10,000 donation to The Lunch Tray Project.
“We are extremely thankful for the incredible donations from Hormel Foods,” says Austin Superintendent Dr. Joey Page. “Throughout the years, Hormel Foods has been very generous in their support of our students, and donations like these mean the world to our families.”
“We are so very thankful for this generous gift that will impact so many students and families,” says Mary Weikum, Austin’s Director for Food and Nutrition Services. “We know that having healthy meals improves academic success and donations like this are going directly to help our students and their families.”
The Lunch Tray Project began during the 2018-2019 school year and was designed to help support families whose income places them just outside the threshold for free lunches.
“In Austin, we have a number of families that don’t qualify but by such a small amount that paying for lunches is still a challenge,” says Weikum. “We use the funds to fill their meal accounts for the year, so they don’t need to worry about paying for lunches. It just helps to take one more worry off their plate.”
Since its inception, the project has helped more than forty families, and generous donations like this will help to increase its reach.
“In our first year, we were able to help sixteen students,” says Weikum, “and we’re excited to see how many we can help this year. This support for The Lunch Tray Project reaffirms how our community takes care of our children and supports families, which is what makes it a special place to live.”
All money raised through the program goes directly into student lunch accounts and can make a huge difference in a student's life. For more information or to donate to the project, please visit https://www.givemn.org/story/Lunchtrayproject.
We appreciate your consideration.
Together We Make A Difference
This week, a group of AHS students participated in a training at Century High School in Rochester for Together We Make A Difference, a new initiative from MSHSL in collaboration with other organizations. The program is focused on taking action to improve behavior at high school athletic events and activities.
Here are the program goals as shared by MSHSL:
- Identify and provide resources to assist schools and administrators in planning, preparing and implementing best practices to address and eliminate harmful behaviors and support students who have been impacted.
- Organize and facilitate student groups in bringing student voice to address this significant issue and develop a model code of behavior. Once developed, this code will be distributed to school boards, administrators, coaches, parents, and students statewide. The code will cover all aspects of participation in activities as well as behavior at school. It will include participants in activities and athletics, spectators, staff, students, and community members.
- Convene regional student meetings across the state, ultimately leading to a statewide student conference involving student leaders in athletics, fine arts and other activities to raise awareness about student conduct, bullying, gender, race and other issues and assist in the development of tools for all schools.
Front Row: Sydney Tobak, Marie Tolbert, Kara Wolfs, Peyton Manahan, Hannah Fritz
Back Row: Lambert Idjidina, Mission Doup, Joe Ewing
Reminder: Back To School – Vax To School
A new school year will be here before we know it! Talk to your child's health care provider to see what vaccines your child needs.
Keep your kids on track – schedule a well-child visit now. As children and adolescents are doing more in-person activities, and as we prepare for the next school year, this is a great time to make sure they are caught up on missed well-child visits to get vaccines and check-in on their physical, mental and emotional health. Contact your child's health care provider to make an appointment. If your child does not have a regular health care provider, there are resources available to help you schedule an appointment: https://freechildcheckups.com/.
In this week's APS Alumni Spotlight, we catch up with alumnus Thomas Herrera. Check it out!
Are you an alumnus of Austin Public Schools? If so, we'd love to hear from you!
We're excited to hear about your accomplishments and are eager to share your successes and advice with our current students, families, and the Austin community. Please take a few minutes to complete the quick questionnaire at https://www.austin.k12.mn.us/district-resources/aps-alumni-spotlight regarding your current position and your career trajectory.
Thanks, and we look forward to hearing all your wonderful stories!
At Austin Public Schools, our mission is to inspire, empower, and accelerate every one of our learners, and we know that the only way for us to reach this goal is through the efforts of all our incredibly hard-working staff.
In this week’s Staff Spotlight, we’re highlighting AHS special education teacher Justin Heskett.
"[Mr. Heskett] makes learning fun and always includes everyone. He has shown me the true meaning of compassion and trust, and all of our kids look up to him. I wish we had more Justins!"
If you’d like to nominate an outstanding Austin Public Schools staff member for our weekly Staff Spotlight, please take a moment to fill out the form at https://www.austin.k12.mn.us/district-resources/aps-staff-spotlight. It only takes a minute and can truly make someone’s day. Thanks!
Superintendent Coffee and Conversation
Please consider joining Superintendent Page at the Coffee House on Main, 329 Main Street North, for Coffee and Conversation!
October 6 7:00 -7:45 AM
October 14 7:00 -7:45 AM
October 28 7:00 -7:45 AM
November 2 11:00 – 11:30 AM
November 7 7:00 -7:45 AM
*Dates are subject to change
Or you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 507-460-1900 to schedule an appointment.
Mon, Sep 19, 2022, 07:00 AM
329 Main Street North, Austin, MN, USA
In The News
- Ritz falls back on leadership experience in run for APS School Board
- Distinsquished Alumni Honored
- Austin celebration to rekindle fond memories of bygone teen club
- Less than 1 in 5 Americans would recommend teaching to young people
- Addressing the need: Efforts are underway to recruit and retain Black male teachers in Minnesota
Check Out Austin Public Schools Activities
APS offers a wide range of student activities, including competitive athletics, intramurals, academic clubs, fine arts, and performing arts. View schedules and learn more here.