School board breaks for concert

Winter Drumline performs a concert for board members and spectators during the Howard-Winneshiek Community School District board meeting on March 26. (Photo by Keri Bugenhagen)

By Marcie Klomp

Howard-Winneshiek School Board of Education and others at the March 26 meeting were given a respite from sitting when the Winter Drumline gave a short concert in the gym.

Director Sara Steffen, an aide at Cresco Elementary, asked to make the Drumline an official school activity. She explained, “We were asked to play at half-time at a couple of college games and we had to turn it down because the group is not official.”

She said there were nine students in the Winter Drumline. The group started with 16 but lost some because they were just practicing to practice. Not to compete. She stated band and music were good subjects. She had received a $2,000 scholarship because of band, which helped her get her degree. “I’m willing to volunteer my time.”

In other school business, Lynn McCormick spoke as head varsity boys basketball coach and asked the board not to cut the assistant coach position. He said, “There are 48 boys out in high school with 21 playing at the varsity level. It is hard to keep them involved in the program. We might have to cut players if we don’t have the assistant coach. Every other school in this area has a paid assistant coach.” He went on to say the assistant takes care of injuries at games and practices, which frees up the head coach to coach. He pointed out that his program also supports the boys in their academic life. “Ten of 19 juniors and seniors are in National Honor Society. Help us keep our quality program.”

• Todd Knobloch and Supt. Dianne Anderson met with the state fire marshal to see what steps needed to be taken to keep the district in compliance. Repairs and updates were suggested at all facilities—Elma, Lime Springs, Early Childhood Center, high school and elementary/junior high. A $200,000 fire system was suggested for the high school.

• After the last meeting, it was found that at least 20 students, including the two originally interested, would like to learn more about a trap shooting program at Crestwood.

• The board followed up on the Schwig Marketing Advertisement Screen that would be placed in the gym. Business Manager David Gaus explained, “It will be an asset of Schwig Marketing. The school district has no expense.” He went on to say the Athletic Booster Club still needed to approve the issue.

The company would sell the advertising and give back some money to the school until the screen was paid off in about three years. Then it would be a 50/50 proposition.

Scott Wiley, a member of the Booster Club, said, “If the school wants it, you can have it. If not, we’d [Booster Club] love to take it.” He advised the board to see how the program worked at New Hampton, where Schwig has an account.

Board member Duane Bodermann suggested, “Maybe we could have the kids do it. We could get a TV at Wal-Mart and have the kids run it . . . but then we’d have to sell ads.”

Talk went to having it be a “school” thing, where profits could go to the general fund for all kids. Wiley reminded the board that all money raised by the Booster Club goes back to the athletes because that is what the Athletic Boosters sponsor.

Gaus told the board the school district might not be able to own the equipment


because it would be making a profit, which is not legal according to the state of Iowa.

• Field trips were approved, including one for the VREP students. The group was not official until later in the meeting, but the trip was approved since it would not cost the district any money.

• The Clerical Agreement with the district was approved. Staff working one to seven years get a 20¢ increase and those working eight or more years get a 50¢ increase. The additional cost to the district was $30,079.35.

• Gaus reported to the board about money left in the 2009 bond. “We have to spend $604,000 by this fiscal year.” Suggestions he gave to the board included about $200,000 for two new buses; an air lock system in the K-8 building; update the HVAC system at the high school; and going forward with the one-to-one initiative.

Each item has a positive impact on the school by saving money for utilities or enticing students to come to H-W for the iPad.

• The board approved utilizing PMA Financial as the analyst of H-W finances.

• No actions were taken on hiring a facility analyst for the facility committee; hiring the Comprehensive School Improvement Assesment Analyst for the Student Environment and Success Committee; and Revising the Mission Statement.

• The board approved a new high school curriculum guide.

• The board approved the request to the Iowa Department of Education for a feasibility study. Bodermann asked if there was a charge and was told “no charge.” He said, “I approve.” Doug Berg reminded him the study would be required if the board was to close a building [meaning Elma Elementary which Bodermann represents]. Bodermann still approved it.

• The board approved requiring volunteers to pass a background check.

• The construction contract for Spring Ahead Learning Center in Lime Springs was approved by the attorney and in turn by the school board. It was to go to the USDA before the end of March for approval.

• Infloor radiant heat was approved for SALC. The cost had started out at $29,200, but after some research by the contractor, was reduced to $18,500.

• The next regular meeting of the school board will take place April 23 at Elma Elementary.



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