New supt. announced at meeting

By Marcie Klomp

John Carver was announced as the new superintendent at Howard-Winneshiek Schools, pending a background check. He hails from Van Meter, Iowa and will begin his duties July 1.

He asked for and received a three-year contract. Board member Duane Bodermann would have rather had a two-year contract, but when told a new superintendent is on two years probation, he conceded it was a two-year contract anyway.

• In other school business, it was stated work is being done on the concrete casts that will be used in the construction of Spring Ahead Learning Center in Lime Springs. May 3 will be the first monthly meeting at the site.

• Superintendent Dianne Anderson explained School Board Recognition Week is May 6-12 and presented each with a certificate of appreciation.

 

 

 

 

 

She said, “School board members face complex and demanding challenges. Part of their job is to establish a vision for the school, and they come from all walks of life.” Scott Fortune is owner of a tool and die company; Doug Berg is a program analyst; Duane Bodermann is a farmer; Karlos McClure is a retired superintendent and grandfather who attends many events; and Jim Kitchen is a self-proclaimed “ditch digger” or dirt contractor.

• The board approved the hiring of another kindergarten teacher in Cresco for the 2012-13 school year. Previous class sizes had been fixed at 22 students per teacher in kindergarten. This year, there were 58 students with three teachers for an average of 19 students per class. Next year’s class is expected to be 79 students. Four teachers would keep the average at 20 students per class.

A second-grade teacher was also added, due to enrollment.

In comparison, with the smaller kindergarten class moving up, a first grade teaching position was eliminated. The first-grade teacher will have the option of moving up or down a grade.

A technology assistant position will be retained for another year due to the increased workload the approved one-to-one iPad initiative created.

• Transportation Director Bill Kosters reminded board members of the plan to replace two school buses per year. He gave them two bids with Hoagland being the company with the best quote at $162,174, including trade-ins.

The district is able to get by with smaller buses with a capacity of 65 students, but next year a 72-passenger bus will be needed. “There was an increase of $12,000 from last year for the 72-passenger bus. I just wanted to let you know.”

• Kosters told those in attendance he was hiring an independent contractor to pull the band trailer to events. “The current truck is a 1997, one ton four-wheel drive. It broke down a bunch of times and cost around $10,000 in repairs over the past few years.” The contract will cost the district about $3,500 and will save the district from purchasing a newer vehicle.

• Field trips were approved.

~ Elma PreK-fifth grade to Cedar River Complex in Osage on May 8

~ LS/C – K & first grade to Hospital and Hatchery in Decorah on May 11

~ CE: Second grade to Lake Meyer in Calmar on May 18

~ CE: Third grade to Natl. Eagle Center and Lark Toys in Minnesota on May 11

~ Eighth grade to Ft. Snelling, Minn. on May 11 – Base Camp Active Learning Camp

• Athletic Director Jim Obermann presented the district’s first coaches handbook. “I relied on other schools. It is an adaptation of New Hampton and other schools.” The approval was tabled until board members could look over it better.

• There was very little change to the population over the school district at the last census, so the board member districts will stay the same.

• Food Manager Cheryl Dickman explained the board needed to approve an increase of a nickel per lunch to comply with federal guidelines, which the board did. K-6 prices will be $2.05 for lunch and 7-12 will be $2.25. Breakfasts will stay the same.

Because of the Federal Hunger-Free Kids Act, the wording of the school menu has changed over the past few years. Dickman explained, “The government hasn’t done anything on 30 years on healthy food.”

Now there is a program where the Iowa Dept. of Education can search for the best deals in food. Schools are asked to find locally-grown items and the state finds the rest.

Howard-Winn has always tried to have healthy foods for its students, so that hasn’t changed. What has changed is the wording of the menu. It now lists more whole grain items. Dickman joked it’s the same pizza, but now some kids won’t eat it because it says whole grain in front of it.

The Wisdom and Wellness program will be held in Elma and Cresco again. Lime Springs-Chester will have the opportunity to attend one of those two schools.

• Anderson reported on the State Site Visit Report, saying H-W had a very good evaluation. The full report can be found on the school’s website.

• Business manager David Gaus talked about the last audit and said, “We’re upping our accuracy to the board and community and increasing our transparency.

• Anderson noted changes in registration fees for 2012-13. “We looked at what other schools had been charging and felt we could go up a little.”

Some increases included $5.00 in book rent; $20.00 for summer band; straight $50.00 for percussion rental; $5.00 increase for adult activity ticket; and $40.00 fee for iPads; along with a charge for covers for iPads. Preschool assessment was free for a half-day and $500 for the year for a full day.

• The school board voted to purchase new wrestling mats and install a hoist to move them. The new mats will be used in the gym, and the old mats will permanently stay in the wrestling room and will not need to be moved. Moving them shortens their life expectancy.

Mats cost $21,738, the hoist costs $14,438 and electrical costs $590 for a total of $36,176. The Booster Club and Youth Wrestling have been saving for years and donated $5,000 each for the mats. They also promised $1,000 each over the next three years to help pay for them. That leaves the district paying around $20,000.

• First-year High School Principal Tim Felderman presented the board with the updated student handbook. He explained how he came to his decisions. “The first year, you observe and ask question and learn what polices are working and what policies don’t. This is a compilation of all the processes.’

• Board member Jim Kitchen proposed sending a letter home to parents at the Elma school to see what services the families are pleased with and not so pleased with. It was suggested by an Elma teacher to also ask the same question at the other schools. Bodermann gave his opinion. “My kids went through it. I haven’t had any complaints.”

The next board meeting will be May 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Lime Springs-Chester Elementary.

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