ACSD Board of Directors hears updates on summer projects and preparation for the upcoming school year; Board selects legislative priorities, approves volunteer coaches

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors met for its regular monthly meeting Monday, July 17. Board member Scott Melcher was absent.

During the Secretary's Report, Board Secretary Jaime Curtin noted that her office has been busy working on the fiscal year-end reports and state reports. ACSD Superintendent Dave Herold gave the school lunch report, noting that at this time of the year there is money going out but not a lot coming in because of school not being in session. However, he said the balance is "very healthy overall."

During the Superintendent's Report, Herold noted that many of the summer projects have been completed or are nearing completion. He also mentioned that later in the meeting the board would be discussing allowing RAGBRAI participants to use the gym for sleeping quarters Friday, July 28. Herold said around 200 people would be utilizing the gym. He also noted that the new teachers and staff members would be in attendance at the next school board meeting.

In other reports, Buildings and Grounds department head Bill Hennessy gave an update on the roofing project, noting that they had uncovered some areas above the auditorium and stage where the metal was rusted and required hand-cleaning and some additional repairs. Hennessy noted that this would add to the cost, but they estimated to have the majority of the project done by next Wednesday, weather permitting. He also said that the kitchen project is about 98% complete. Work continues on the sports complex entrance, with concrete having been poured.

Technology Director Shawn Gordon noted that they have completed their projects at East Elementary and ran diagnostics on the computers. Five were found to have bad hard drives, which Gordon noted is a low number. E-registration for the 2017-2018 school year will be up and running August 1. A letter is being sent to parents to let them know about the option.

Transportation Director Randy Nordheim noted that he would be discussing the mileage report later in the meeting but said the mileage totals for the last five years have been "pretty consistent" and have only varied about 12,000 miles in that time frame. 21st Century department head Barb Winters-Kelly noted that they are gearing up for summer school to begin again August 1. She also said they had a good end of the fiscal year.

During the Communications time, the Board was given the facility usage chart for the past year. The ACSD is used quite a bit during the year by various school and non-school organizations. The Board also reviewed the rent money received during the 2016-2017 school year, which totaled $1,860.14.
The board then moved on to the mileage report. During the 2016-2017 school year, the school vehicles put on a total of 31,542 miles. Nordheim noted that odometer totals are around or just under four million miles. The board also reviewed the 2017 summer gym schedule.

In Old Business, the board approved the changes to the student and teacher handbooks for 2017-2018. In a letter to the board, Dr. Mike Hardy, Waukon High School Principal, noted that he did make changes to the graduation practice attendance for extenuating circumstances to cover "unique situations," as discussed at last month's meeting.

Under New Business, the Board approved 21stCentury After School Programming staff. Gary Mitchell was approved as a substitute bus driver, pending meeting all requirements. The Board approved Jarod Dahlstrom, Frank Weymiller, Brody Baxter, Caleb Ferring and David Burrett as volunteer football coaches. Lexie Bieber was approved as a volunteer cheerleading coach. The Board also approved Brian Ahlstrom, with a 2-1 vote, as a girls basketball volunteer coach.

The board then accepted the resignation of Greg Gordon from his custodian position. Herold noted that they appreciated his work for the school and they wish him well.

The board members then approved the renewals of their membership with the Iowa Association of School Boards, as well as with the Iowa School Finance Information Services. Changes to the Nutrition Handbook were approved, and the changes were mainly names, dates and hours worked.

The new lunch prices for students and adults were approved. Herold explained that they are federally mandated to raise the prices every year per section 205 of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. The new prices are as follows: paid student lunch, $2.10; reduced student lunch, $0.40; free student lunch, $0.00; adult lunch $3.54; paid student breakfast, $0.90; reduced student breakfast, $0.30; free student breakfast, $0.00; adult breakfast, $1.50.

Bread and milk bids were approved. The lone bid from Prairie Farms Dairy was accepted for milk, and Pan-O-Gold was accepted for the bread bid. The Board then moved on to the recommendation to continue the Backpack Program for 2017-2018. Herold noted that this program has been utilized for several years now. Students who qualify for free and reduced lunches can bring home a backpack filled with non-perishable food for weekends and holidays. The backpacks are sent home every two weeks. The board approved to continue the program. The school partners with the Northeast Iowa Food Bank to provide food.

Discussion then moved on the IASB Legislative Priorities for the 2017-2018 school year. Board members were asked to choose what they felt are the top four priorities from a list of 30. These choices are then sent on to the IASB and a summit is held to determine which priorities will be sent on to State legislators. The board members chose the following to submit to the IASB: 1) Supporting an increase in preschool funding from 0.5 to 1.0 full-time equivalent so all four-year-olds have access to public preschool programming; 2) Supporting predictable and timely State funding to serve students receiving special education services at a level that reflects the actual cost, including educational programming and health care costs; 3) Support of a school funding policy that, among other issues, provides a funding mechanism for transportation costs that reduces pressure on the general fund and equalizes inequities between school districts; 4) Support of Supplemental State Aid being set at designated times and at a rate that sufficiently supports local school districts' efforts to plan, create and sustain world-class schools.

The board approved the use of the school gymnasium for housing RAGBRAI guests Friday, July 28. Herold noted that there will be someone on hand to supervise during the stay.

The board also approved changes to the lodging and meal allowances for administrative-directed travel. The pre-approved expenses will now be $125 per night for lodging, $6 for breakfast, $7.50 for lunch and $15 for dinner. Herold noted that the lodging expenses in the places where they normally attend meetings have risen, so it was felt they should raise their limit to stay in line with that.

Board member Tim Waters noted that he felt they should also be looking at the limits for coaches and staff that require lodging and meals when traveling for things like State Tournaments. Herold said that issue would have to be addressed when the Master Contract runs out. That particular circumstance isn't covered under the school policy like the administrative travel, but is in the contract.

The Board then approved the first reading of several board policies: 302.2- Superintendent Contract and Contract Nonrenewal, 303.3-Administratior Contract and Contract Nonrenewal, 405.4- Licensed Employee Continuing Contracts, 405.9-Licensed Employee Probationary Status, 410.2-Summer School Licensed Employees, 505.2-Student Promotion-Retention-Acceleration, 603.2-Summer School Instruction.

The final item of business was to discuss replacing the outdoor signs on the west side of the gym. Herold noted that they are badly deteriorated and have been in place for about six years. He said that they were hoping to have the signs replaced by the beginning of the school year, but it would not happen before RAGBRAI. There was some discussion on getting other bids for the project, due to the fact that it wasn't going to be completed anyway, as well as looking into a more durable material. The item was tabled so that the options of other bids could be explored.

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