ACSD Board of Directors hears updates from administrators, accepts resignation of long-time elementary school teacher

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors members met Monday evening, February 17 for their regular monthly meeting. A public hearing on the 2020-2021 school calendar was held, with no written or oral comments. A public hearing on proposed public improvements to the West Elementary school was then held and again there were no written or oral comments.

Under personnel matters, the board approved staff for after school programming. The board also accepted the resignation of Patrice Schulte from her teaching position at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. A Sunday request for seventh grade boys basketball was approved, as was a request for Sunday open gym for varsity boys basketball. Five open enrollments were also approved under the consent agenda.

During the Communications portion of the meeting, school board president Al Rissman noted that because there wasn’t school Monday due to inclement weather, the West Elementary FOSS kits/writing presentation would be moved to the board’s March meeting.

During his Superintendent’s Report Jay Mathis noted that there would be a pre-bid meeting at West Elementary this Thursday with final bids due Friday, February 21. There will be a special meeting later that day to open bids. Work is being finished at East Elementary and he is hoping they can have an open house in the spring to show off the work. Waukon High School is hosting several postseason basketball games this year.

Mathis also updated the board on legislative bills that are being discussed regarding education. He spoke briefly on the transportation and per pupil equity bills, both of which he said would be beneficial for ACSD. The transportation bill would give funding to school districts whose transportation budget is above the state average to help bring costs down. The per pupil equity will give districts another $10 per pupil to help districts that are “behind the curve.” He also noted that the State senate has proposed a 2.1% increase for State Aid, while the house and governor are recommending a rate of 2.5%. There will be further discussion before putting that matter to a vote.

Waukon High School Principal Jennifer Garin reported that the school’s house building project is slightly ahead of schedule. The welding academy has about a week left before it will finish the trash receptacles for downtown Waukon. The receptacles will be sent to Kol-Gol for powder coat painting. Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) students are preparing for state convention. FFA members have been busy and several will be recognized at the State FFA Convention by receiving Iowa FFA degrees.

Garin noted that at the last professional development day they looked at the Iowa School Performance profile and noted areas where they need improvement. She also said that they looked at the Conditions for Learning survey and discussed ways to have more students fill that survey out. The auction of the FBLA baskets earned over $3,000 for Chloe Johnson, a Waukon High School student recently diagnosed with leukemia.

Waukon Middle School Principal Luke Steege reported that Ms. Hawes’ sixth grade class has been working on their career day projects. Their career fair will be February 26 from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in the Middle School gym. The annual Pops Concert will be February 28 with performances at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Middle School gym. Steege also thanked the custodial staff for their work on gym prep and clean-up for basketball.

East and West Elementary Schools Principal Joe Griffith updated the board on professional development. He also noted that there will be parent meetings for pre-school and kindergarten instead of a kindergarten round-up as they have done in the past. Students at both East and West will be holding a Penny Drive from February 17 to March 2, with proceeds going to the family of Alyssa and Marcus Bell, who both work for ACSD and lost their home in the recent Gus & Tony’s fire. The class that collects the most weight in change will earn a trip to the Waukon Wellness Center. Griffith also explained how they are looking at FAST testing and ISASP testing and how to best prepare students for the testing.

Waukon High School Activities Director and Assistant Principal Brian Hilsabeck reported that Waukon hosted Class 3A postseason girls basketball February 15 and will host again for a Class 1A girls game February 18 and February 20 for Class 2A boys basketball. Hilsabeck also discussed upcoming potential changes for the Northeast Iowa Conference and the upcoming football schedule format.

Buildings and Grounds Director Bill Hennessy gave a report on boiler run times. He also reported that they are working on coordinating the West Elementary project for the summer and the East Elementary project is moving along. Hennessy thanked the custodians for putting in some longer hours on the weekends.

Technology Director Shawn Gordon took the opportunity to explain the E-Rate program to the new board members. E-Rate is a federal program that ACSD has used to get discounts on its internet bills. Gordon noted that they are beginning the filing process. Last year they got a 70% discount, and the rate goes by the number of free and reduced lunches. He also reported that the 1:1 East Chromebooks are working well.

Food Service Director Julie Magner reported that local food purchases have declined because availability on many things is seasonal. They have been purchasing local beef and pork, as well as purchasing cheese curds and cottage cheese from WW Homestead.

Transportation Director Andrew Eberling reported that bus inspections took place February 4 and all went well. He also noted that there will be some new buses coming in April.

Under new business, the board approved the 2020-2021 school calendar. The board also approved the High School Curriculum Handbook and Full Course Handbook and then approved the Budget Guarantee Resolution.

The board then approved a bid from Five Star Telecom for a new paging system at West Elementary. The total bid was $14,844.95 and the project will be paid for using PPEL funds. A bid from Midwest Tennis & Track in the amount of $125,900 was accepted for the resurfacing project for the high school track. Hilsabeck noted that most schools in Iowa have used this company. The project will be paid for from PPEL funds.

The board then approved a request for proposal for copiers for the school district. Gordon explained that they contract for four years and then at the end of four years get a new bid. The number of copies used has gone down a bit over the years and Gordon also noted that they are considering removing most of the color printers and going to color copiers, which are cheaper. They are also hoping to be able to review their account at any time and change numbers any time, as well as pay any overages on an annual basis instead of monthly. Bids will have to be in by 1 p.m. March 9 and will be opened at 1:30  p.m. March 9.

Prior to adjournment, the first reading of the following board policies was approved: 710.4-Meal Charges, 710.4E1-Food Service Meal Fund Assistance Form, 104-Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment, 104.R1-Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment Investigation Procedures, 302.7-Superintendent Civic Activities, 401.13-Staff Technology Use/Social Networking, 401.13R1-Staff Technology Use/Social Networking Regulation, 402.2-Child Abuse Reporting, 403.6-Drug and Alcohol Testing Program, 403.6E1-Drug and Alcohol Testing Program Notice to Employees, 403.6E3-Drug and Alcohol Testing Program and Pre-Employment Testing Program Written Consent to Share Information, 303.5-Administrator Duties, 401.1-Equal Employment Opportunity, 401.2-Employee Conflict of Interest, 401.9-Employee Political Activity, 403.3-Communicable Diseases-Employees, 403.4-Hazardous Chemical Disclosure, 407.3-Licensed Employee Retirement, 200.1R1-Organizational Meeting Procedures, 404.R1-Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics Regulation.

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