Superintendent newsletter

Superintendent Press Release August 25, 2023

Dear Cedar Bluffs Families,

At the beginning of each year the school board has a retreat where we review our goals from the past year and set new ones for the coming year. Goals are set in each of the different board committees that we have including Academics, Buildings and Grounds, Finance and Policy, Personnel and Community/Stakeholder involvement. I look back on the original goals from 2012, my first year here and we have accomplished so many including the creation of a Career Academy, where by their senior year students are interning in various career opportunities after receiving valuable skills in their trade. This year we have had to increase our welding program because of growing number of students who are choosing that pathway. We currently have pathways in Health Science, Business, Manufacturing and are beginning our phase two which will include Government/Law, Communications and our first “grow your own” education pathway designed to prepare students to become teachers. The teacher shortage is real and our students who are in this pathway will go into college having already completed numerous college credits giving them a leg up. To teach college dual credit courses in our high school, our staff have had to obtain master’s degrees in the area of study and fortunately we are getting to the point where we have numerous teachers qualified to teach college level classes.

Other goals we are so proud of include the ability to lower our tax levy each year while still providing opportunities to build new buildings and expand our student population. For those of you who are not aware, when I arrived in 2012 and spoke to the outgoing Administration, they said the school would be closed in 2 or 3 years and we would need to start combining classes to keep costs down by having one teacher for both 1st/2nd grade, at that time only had around 20 students between the two classes. It was not the boards desire to close the school, and as proud alumni’s they understand that the school is the heart in most small towns.

One area where we have not been able to accomplish as much as we would like is the goal of creating more housing and bringing new businesses to our community. We were able to make incredible improvements to our community by adding a splash pad, revitalizing the auditorium, and updating the village park and obtaining a grant for Owner Occupied Housing restoration. However, each year when we review our goals around increasing housing and attracting businesses, we have to grade ourselves below average. We have seen around eight new homes in our community over the past four years but those have been built in infill areas. Our goal has centered around attracting a construction company that is willing to build multiple homes in a housing development much like you see happening in Fremont, Yutan, and Wahoo. After several years of pursuing this goal, this year we have received interest from a developer but each time we meet, we struggle to find land that might meet his requirement. Housing developers want to mitigate risk and increase profit by finding land that can qualify for Tax Credits. One of the easiest ways to create Tax Credits to have a Blight Study done and declare areas of a town substandard and while we can do this, the areas where land is available, would not meet the requirement for blighted areas. Our economic development committee will continue to work toward these goals and if you know of anyone with land in the surrounding area that would be interested in selling or becoming a partner with a developer, please give me a call. Have a great weekend and Go Wildcats! Wildcat Pride