September 14, 2018
The Waukee Community School District is an ever growing district. With eight elementary schools, two middle schools, two junior high schools, one APEX building, and one high school, Waukee is a fairly large community. To add on to the schools that are already built, there are more under construction. Construction on the ninth elementary school, Radiant Elementary, is nearly complete, construction for the second high school is under way, and plans for a tenth elementary are being approved. In building all of these new schools and centers, Waukee has been funding a lot of money with government and federal funds. In the recent years, Waukee has paid approximately $25,000,000 for Timberline Junior High School, 13,000,000 for the new APEX Center, and they are currently in the midst of paying $117,000,000 for a second high school to accommodate the overflow of students.
Waukee High School Principal Cary Justman said, “I think [the new buildings] they’re critical. We have such an influx of students and new residential students and families moving into the district that we have to keep our eyes on the future and have buildings that are appropriate for the number of kids.” With this rapid growth of students, Waukee has to consistently make sure that all of their buildings and staff receive appropriate funding. As of the 2016-17 school year the starting teacher salary was approximately $46,824 per year and with about 156 and counting teachers and staff in the school, the money adds up.
Aside from funding new buildings for the tsunami of enrollments flooding into the district, the school has to worry about funding the three big departments, music, athletics, and art. When it comes to the Athletics Department, they are mainly self funded from gate receipts, donations, booster clubs, and etc. Of course the district is helping the department with funds as well, “The district helps us by paying for our yellow bus transportation,” explained Waukee Activities Director Jim Duea. As well as paying for yellow buses, the school is also paying for safety equipment for the sports. On average, the activities/sports department is receiving a budget of about $300,000 per year from funding. On the other side of the spectrum is the arts department.
Within the high school’s art department, there are four teachers, Shelly Carlson, Nathan Bailey, Billy Patton, and Paula Tomlinson. “Waukee does a good job of funding the four of us. Each year we get about $7,000 per year and we split it up due to the needs of each teacher,” told Carlson. Art classes can be unpredictable. Things may suddenly be needed and it could be easier to spend money out of pocket rather than taking from the funds. Shelly Carlson says she has spent $500-800 out of pocket for her classes, Art II, Jewelry & Metalsmithing, and Ceramics, in a year.
With both concert band and marching band consisting of a rather large mix of sophomores, juniors, and seniors, there is a lot to pay for. “The district helps pay for a lot of things such as yellow buses, instruments, uniform cleanings, etc,” stated Chris Strohmaier. With the large amounts of money going into the instrumental section of Waukee High School’s music department from the district, fundraisers and band parents, both Jeff Patterson and Chris Strohmaier agree that there is no exact amount to what the band is getting each year. They also agree that the school is fairly funding the band.
Waukee is always changing. From building renovations to new schools, it is always continuing to grow. With 2107+ students in the high school alone with the numbers continuing to grow, Waukee may never stop increasing in size. With an eye on the future and the funding in check, Waukee has all the tools to thrive.