Eastern Allamakee Community School District Board of Directors holds annual organizational meeting, hears review of COVID school closure guidelines, impact of Alliant Energy plant closure and funding update

by Susan Cantine-Maxson

The Board of Directors of the Eastern Allamakee Community School District (EACSD) held its regular monthly meeting Monday, November 16 at Kee High School in Lansing. The regular meeting began with the board’s annual meeting to elect officers and designate representatives to handle the official business of the board throughout the year.

The annual meeting was called to order by Marian Verdon, Board Secretary. The following board members were present: Tony Becker, Bobbie Goetzinger, Melanie Mauss, Kelli Mudderman and Heather Schulte. Also present at the meeting were EACSD Superintendent Dr. Dale Crozier, Kee Middle School and High School Principal Dr. Sarah Updegraff, and Board Secretary Marian Verdon.

The board conducted its annual Election of School Officials and Designees. Heather Schulte was elected as  board president with Bobbie Goetzinger selected as vice-president. The board secretary administered the oath of office to Schulte and Goetzinger.

Goetzinger was also appointed as the Iowa School Board delegate and the Legislative Action Network  Representative for the ensuing school year. Schulte was assigned as the board member to serve on the Allamakee County Assessor’s Conference Board.

The board  approved the resolution for Authorization for Banking Operations authorizing endorsements for deposits, savings withdrawals, check cashing, wire transfers as listed and giving check signing authority to board president Heather Schulte, board member Kelli Mudderman, and board secretaries Janet Heiderscheit and Marian Verdon. The resolution also added new Kee High School and Middle School Principal Sarah Updegraff to authorization for making deposits and cashing checks in the Food Service Account and Kee High Activity Account.  This resolution designates authority for all school accounts.

After the conclusion of the annual meeting, the regular monthly meeting was held with the same board members and staff in attendance. After the approval of the agenda, the board  approved the November consent items, minutes of the regular October meeting, bills for November, Secretary’s Financial Report for October, and Student Activity and Food Service October reports.

The board authorized the administration to submit a request to the State School Budget Review Committee  in the amount of $48,160 for Supplemental State Aid for the purpose of a funding budget adjustment due to the open enrollment for students going out of the district from the Fall 2020 Certified Enrollment but not on the Fall 2019 Certified Enrollment.

The school calendar was amended by the addition of  an early out Friday, November 20 and closing the school Monday, November 23, Tuesday, November 24 and Wednesday, November 25 in an effort to slow the local spread of COVID-19 and create a nine-day window around the Thanksgiving holiday break to thoroughly sanitize all school buildings. These three student contact days  will be made up at the end of the school year.

In contract changes, the board approved a contract for Jason Drape as Assistant Girls Basketball Coach and a contract for Ashley Schwartzhoff as Junior High Girls Basketball Coach. The board also approved the resignation of Beth Moline as Boys Head Track Coach.

Dr. Updegraff remarked  that Friday, November 13 was the end of the first trimester. She reported that the students seem to be handling the mask mandate well.

Dr.  Crozier reviewed with the board various COVID protocol including athletic event restrictions as established by the State Athletic Unions and the levels for school closure guidelines. Those guidelines include if the county spread of cases increased, and if at the same time actual student sickness increased (not quarantined students), that the district work with Allamakee County Public Health to consider going virtual for a time period,  remote learning, and procedures if there is a temporary virtual shut down.

The district has been notified of the Alliant Energy closure of the Lansing Generating Station that is scheduled to take place in 2022. Dr. Crozier explained, “We enacted a plan to pay off all school debt over the next two years. That will counter the tax increase when Alliant closes, and the net effect will be zero. Alliant closing will not affect the district’s funding. We get our funding from enrollment, not valuation. The impact to the district is that we will eventually lose the valuation attached to Alliant; however, as I stated, we will pay off our debt, which will balance it out.”

Dr. Crozier discussed increasing  the District’s Solvency Ratio. He  defined this further, “Solvency is a ratio of the undesignated balance divided by actual expenditures. We are at +13. There is no state requirement, but ‘healthy’ is somewhere between +10 and +15. The advantage of having it healthy is that in bad times we don’t have the pressure on the district  to raise funds.”

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