Staff reductions announced

by Marcie Klomp

Although everyone knew it was coming, the Howard-Winneshiek Board of Education had to terminate four staff members to help with reducing expenses for the 2011-12 calendar year. Also, the board accepted three resignations at its meeting on June 27 at the Crestwood High School Board Room.

Those teachers who were terminated include Rhonda Vobr, Judy Lechtenberg, Betty Koschmeder and Brook Davisson. Those teachers who gave their resignations were Jill Flugum, Kenessa Jones and Tisha Macon. Becca Newhouse and Denise Kirchhoff resigned at a prior meeting. The reduction of Elma and Lime Springs Principal Rob Hughes is still waiting for a hearing.

Superintendent Dianne Anderson encouraged those present to think about who would make a good school board member and urge them to apply since several present members had expressed interest in not re-running in September. Three members reiterated their intention to bow out of the next election—Board president Marilyn Reis, Jan Carman and Jeff Murphy. Staying for an additional two years are Duane Bodermann and Karlos McClure.

Reis said a good candidate should be “passionate about education and student achievement.” She has been a board member for 13 years and four terms.

Carman said she was “privileged to be part” of the school board.

Murphy commented, “Hopefully those that choose to run will run on the big picture and not an individual (agenda).”

Bodermann admitted a few people had come up to him to inquire about the position. He added, “As a parent with kids in school, it has been a good experience to see what they’re doing in school.

McClure said a candidate should be “dedicated to kids learning at a high level.”

• Helen Westcott, spoke to the board about a new reading program. “Reading scores have been dropping.” She explained the reading curriculum hadn’t been looked at in depth since the last one was adopted 10 years ago. By purchasing new programs at the junior/high school and K-5, it was hoped teaching would be more consistent throughout the school district.

“We learned that ninth grade Language Arts was being taught differently by the three teachers.”

There is money available to purchase new curriculum so the board voted to purchase the McDougal-Littell program for elementary for $115,017 and LEAD21 (Literacy, Equity, Accelerated, Differential and 21st Century Skills) for junior and senior high at a cost of $56,121. Elementary teachers will have three days of training available to them.

• Cheryl Dickman, Food Service Director, advised the board to raise breakfast and lunch costs by a nickel. She commented she didn’t want to raise prices, but had to do so to stay in compliance with USDA, who supplements the free and reduced meals.

Cost for next year will be $2.05 for elementary lunch, $2.25 for junior/senior high, and $2.95 for adult. She added approximately 85 percent of the students receive lunch.

• Dickman also recommended purchasing new dishwashers for the Crestwood Elementary/Junior High and High School kitchens. “The high school’s dishwasher is 20 years old and K-8 has been used since it was constructed in 1993.” She suggested going with the better quality equipment.

The board agreed, deciding to spend $17,000 at the high school and $22,000 at the elementary/junior high.

• Bread and milk bids were accepted.

• The school board went with the suggestion of the superintendent on pay for non-union salaries. Custodial/food service/transportation would get a 20¢ per hour raise, district office staff will receive a $900 raise and administrators would get a two-and-a-half percent raise.

• Other items addressed included the NICC Concurrent Enrollment Contract for 2011-12; agreeing to the Grant Wood AEA Accounting Service Contract; job description for high school principal; SIAC report and district goals; concrete quotes for district projects; planters for entrances to school buildings for protection from potential terrorists; and approval of the contract, etc. for the Crestwood K-8 driveway and lighting project.

• The next board meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 25 at the board room. For more information, check out the school’s website at



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