EACSD Board of Directors prepares for new school year with final meeting prior to its start

by Susan Cantine-Maxson

The regular monthly Board of Directors meeting for Eastern Allamakee Community School District (EACSD) was held Monday, August 21 at Kee High School. President Heather Schulte called the meeting to order. Also present were members Bobbi Goetzinger, Kelli Mudderman and Bruce Palmborg. Board member Melanie Mauss was not present due to jury duty in Cedar Rapids. In addition, school personnel attending included Superintendent Dr. Dale Crozier, New Albin Elementary Principal Chad Steckel, High School Principal Mary Hogan and Board Secretary/Business Manager Janet Heiderscheit.

After the adoption of the agenda, audience comments were accepted from Board of Directors representative from Keystone Area Education Agency (AEA) Dr. Bill Withers and Keystone AEA Administrator Pat Heiderscheit. Dr. Withers, the Keystone Board of Directors representative for this area, asked if the EACSD board had any questions, comments or items which they wanted him to take to the Keystone board. Dr. Withers intends to run for re-election to the Keystone Board. The local board members elect the AEA Board members, and Dr. Withers respectfully asked for their support. The Board will cast their vote next month for the Keystone Director’s position.

Heiderscheit congratulated Superintendent Crozier on being nominated for Superintendent of the Year from the Keystone AEA. Heiderscheit expressed appreciation for the support the district has given to the AEA in the past. On a personal note, he also stated that he enjoyed being the varsity baseball coach for Kee High School this past summer and appreciated the cooperation between the EACSD and Keystone for allowing him to do this.

Superintendent Crozier emphasized to the EACSD board the importance of Keystone AEA to the district, noting that if the district had to go out to buy all the services that AEA provides, it would easily cost over $150,000. Dr. Crozier further noted that Eastern Allamakee could not hire the people that are needed and that instructional support is provided beyond the services to special needs students. Crozier noted that the AEAs are a huge benefit to rural area districts particularly, stating that small districts would not be able to survive because the district could not afford to provide those services to special needs students.

EACSD Board members asked Heiderscheit about the financial state of the AEAs. Heiderscheit stated that the original AEA formula is being cut every year for special education, noting that Keystone AEA will be reduced seven percent as part of a $15 million statewide reduction next year. He further noted the next few years will be very challenging for schools and AEAs.

Heiderscheit went on to explain that the upcoming census in 2020 will continue to show that the demographics of AEA 1 will favor Dubuque area schools because they are the only area growing in population. Keystone AEA serves 29,000 public school students and 4000 private school students, with half of those students currently live in Dubuque county. Nineteen of the 23 districts in Keystone AEA have experienced drops in enrollment, with most of the growth continuing to be along State Highway 20.

The EACSD Board continued on with the approval of the August consent items, minutes of the July meeting, bills for August, Secretary’s Financial Statement, and the Activity and Food Service Report. There was no old business.

New business included the approval of the following changes in contracts: Resignations were approved for Neil Galema as Junior High Football Coach and Mark Peterson as bus driver. Contracts were approved for Ross Kolsrud as Junior High Football Coach; Vocal Music Teacher Elizabeth Peregrine, who is also the current instrumental music teacher and will also work as vocal music on a 2/8 contract.

Superintendent Crozier expressed appreciation for staff and teachers who have been very cooperative and willing to work with the district so vocal music isn’t dropped. The district will continue to look for a fulltime vocal teacher. Contract approvals were also granted for Lisa Hermeier to BA+15, Deborah Sullivan to MA+30 and Tiffany Peters for a college course stipend.

The Board reviewed and approved the 2017-18 Student Handbook. Palmborg suggested posting the vision statement where the public can see it, and all were in agreement with this proposal.
Further approvals included the following:

• Treasurers’ Report - Annual report explains the cash balances and securities and savings, assets and expenditures. There is a slight downward trend in funds as enrollment declines.
• Appointments of the school district attorneys: Brian Gruhn Law Firm of Cedar Rapids, Swisher and Cohrt in Waterloo, and Lynch Dallas in Cedar Rapids.
• Appointment of the Board Secretaries/Business Managers: Marian Verdon  and Janet Heiderscheit.
• Approval of the bank depositories: Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank, New Albin Savings Bank, Iowa School Cash Anticipation Program of Des Moines, Iowa Schools Joint Investment Trust of Des Moines and Bankers Trust Company of Des Moines.

Finally, the administrative reports emphasized the excitement and anticipation of the upcoming school year. Some schedules are still being tweaked to adjust for the inclusion of the vocal music classes by the instrumental music instructor. Professional development and inservice for teachers included work on H.O.T.S (higher order thinking skills). Students will begin the school Wednesday, August 23 until 1 p.m.

Preschool will have two groups meeting Monday through Friday, one in the afternoon and one in the morning. Approximately 29 students will be in the preschool groups. Work is underway for another successful school year at all levels.

Principal Steckel reported that the New Albin Improvement League will hold its annual Saturday morning 5K run this Saturday. During RAGBRAI, 600 showers were purchased, with the money going into the athletic fund. Coaches supervised the shower usage. In addition, the Thursday after RAGBRAI, the Great River Rumble canoe group also appreciated using the warm showers, with approximately 50 of the canoe riders purchasing showers.

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