H-W looking at safety of students

Supt. Dianne Anderson holds up the proposed driveway project.

The roving Howard-Winneshiek Community School Board meeting made its way to Lime Springs on April 26. The biggest discussion dealt with the proposed K-8 Driveway Project.

Anyone who has Cresco Elementary or Crestwood Junior High students feels frustrated every time he or she needs to pick them up after school. The road along the circular drive is filled with car after car waiting to pick up a child.

The project will make the driveway a one-way road where cars will still be able to park along the edge, but also allow cars an easy escape. The drive will go along the circular drive and continue in front of the school to the north and end up exiting onto 4th Ave. East. This will help ease the congestion of the parking lot and entrance/exit.

Gary Anderson of Skott & Anderson Architects out of Mason City was on hand to answer questions from board members regarding the project.

One question Anderson had was about the current sidewalk, which would be on the south side of the driveway. He wondered whether it should be taken out when construction was taking place.

Superintendent Dianne Anderson commented, “If we keep the south sidewalk, kids would probably cross in front of traffic.” The reply was the kids would probably be crossing anyway.

She reminded the board that safety of the children was the main reason for the project.

There are some arbor vitae trees blocking the view to the road. Gary Anderson suggested taking them. Board president Marilyn Reis agreed. “I say take out the arbor vitae. You would like to see the kids as long as they can.”

Anderson was very concerned about the time frame for the project. He said the project would take about six weeks with weather cooperating, with a finish time frame of mid-August, construction would have to start the beginning of July. Before that, bids would have to be let and chosen, not to mention having the board vote on things quickly.

Duane Bodermann said the driveway could probably be kept operational during construction if it ran over.

Another thing the board has to decide on is whether asphalt (20-30 year life span) or concrete (40 years) is more feasible.

They agreed to proceed with the project.

• In other business, Transportation Director Bill Koster talked about bus bids. The district’s goal is to purchase two new buses each year. He said approximately 210,000 miles are put on a bus every 10 years.

He looked up prices for two different buses and gave his recommendation. Along with other reasons, he said the IH buses would work good for the district. The district already has several of that model, so there are already parts on hand. “We would like to have a bus of the same manufacturer so we can use the same parts. Inventory is down to $30,000 and all the labor is being done in the shop. It’s taken me three years, but it’s done here,” he stated.

The board took his recommendation and approved the ordering of two IH buses from Hoglund Bus Company—one seating 85 and the other seating 65 passengers.

• High School Principal Jim Zajicek spoke on behalf of counselor Trish Hartman about the follow-up surveys given to one and five-year graduates.

He said the surveys aren’t totally accurate due to the low number of those responding. “Many we don’t have addresses for.” He said many of the comments asked for more classes in math, science, language and psychology. “The kids are telling us to increase curriculum,” he said. This will help them when they get to college. Reis added, “They also don’t want easy courses.”

The suggestion was to have the surveys available online. “And not just for one and five-year graduates,” said Zajicek.

Looking at the responses, Reis commented, “It’s interesting that all 32 of those from five years ago went on to higher education.”

• Iowa School Cash Anticipation Program (ISCAP) for 2011-2012 looks good. Sue Murphy, Board Secretary and Business Manager, explained, “Last year, we had to borrow $375,000 in August, which was repaid in October. The interest fee was $9,000. This year we MAY be $92,000 in the red but can make that up with inter-fund borrowing.”

Bodermann quipped, “It’s good that we don’t have to borrow. That $9,000 seems like highway robbery to me.”

• Chalsea Wenthold, who is part of the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC), spoke about recent test results to be reviewed by the committee. The committee is made up of students, parents, community and business people, staff and administrators.

• The second reading and board approval for the policy on student insurance was given. In the policy, students are not required to get insurance to play sports, but families are given the opportunity to purchase insurance.

• Field trips were approved, including Lime Springs-Chester’s trip to Forestville and Mystery Cave in May.

• The FY2011-12 Howard-Winneshiek Clerical Association Master Contract was approved. Currently there are 33 clerical staff. Some items included in the contract were to raise the number of hours worked from 20 to 36 per week for at least nine months to receive the insurance benefit. Also, automatic raises were increased. For those having worked at H-W for 11-20 years, a raise of 20¢ is automatic. From 21-25 years it is that 20¢ plus another 20¢ and for anyone over 26 it would be that 40¢ plus 35¢ per hour.

• Although it was already decided to move the alternative school from the old Notre Dame school to the old preschool by the high school, the board voted to let the lease agreement with Dave Daley expire.

• From a board meeting on April 18, some teachers were given termination notices. When a teaching position is being terminated, all teachers at that level and below are given a termination notice.

Those teachers who were given notices and asked for a hearing were Rita Altman, Jenny Butler, Kevin Carter, Brooke Davisson, Jean Daywitt, Clarissa Einck, Jill Flugum, Kerry Fretheim, Sally Godwin, Anne Hartberg, Kenessa Jones, Breana Knobloch, Betty Koschmeder, Debra Larson, Judy Lechtenberg, Gena McCaffrey, Casey Rausch, Elizabeth Schwade, Sally Tieskoetter and Rhonda Vobr.

Teachers who were given notice and did not request a hearing were Denise Kirchhoff and Shari Marr. The resignation of Rebecca Newhouse was accepted.

Also, the board considered the terminations of K-5 principal, Robert Hughes, and assistant high school principal, Brenda Lentz.

Teacher contracts that were modified included Mike Adams, Steven Anderson, Jason Dobbs, Nicholas Ferrie, Tricia Hartman, Polly Jones, Rachelle McAllister, Gerald Mihm, Tanya Riehle, Doug Sickles, Gary Steffen, Gerald Steffen and Helen Westcott.

The board reviewed the replacement of bleachers in the high school gym. Jim Townsend of Seating And Athletic Facility Enterprises was the only company to submit a bid.

The new bleachers will have handrails and half-steps. There will also be space for more wheelchairs on the floor. Another bonus is the larger seat depth and doing away with two rows on the bottom to allow team players to sit in seats. This will keep the public walking behind them instead of in front of them during game time.

The cost for the bleachers was $92,474. Mr. Knobloch said he has a summer crew to help remove the old bleachers to help save money.

The new driveway and bleachers are definitely going to cost money, but not money from the general fund, which has had to be cut to make budget. The two projects fall under building funds. This difference in funds is set by the state, not the school district.

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