Parents worried about busing little ones in fall

Heather Knutson asked the school board to consider having bus stops at the local daycare centers for 2014-15.

Heather Knutson asked the school board to consider having bus stops at the local daycare centers for 2014-15.

By Marcie Klomp

With the Elma school closing and Lime Springs only having fourth grade (albeit it district-wide fourth grade) parents are worried about busing their young children to Cresco. In addition, some Elma parents would like other districts to be able to bring buses in to pick up children.

From Lime Springs, Heather Knutson spoke during open forum at the April 14 school board meeting. She requested bus stops to include the daycares in town. “Many daycares will have little ones and won’t be able to take the little ones to the bus stops. We’re requesting to make daycares as a stop, so little kids don’t have to walk in the snow, rain and cold.”

Knutson gave each board member a copy of letters written by the three home daycares (Amy Leverson, Darcy Moser and Jill Tibbals) who agreed to being a bus stop.
She also asked if the library could be a drop off spot on early outs as there is usually a program taking place. No comments were made at this time.

• In other business, the board had to make a decision on whether to accept the open enroll out applications that were submitted after the March 1 state-mandated deadline. There were nine students wishing to leave How-Winn, two to CAM, a virtual school, and seven to other districts. The applications had been received by the other districts on time, but were mailed late to H-W.

Supt. John Carver recommended to accept the past deadline applications.

Board member Karlos McClure disagreed. “Once you make allowances, you are stuck. You are setting a precedence.”
Duane Bodermann responded, “If they turned it into the other district on time, they should be left to go, since they want to go.”

Doug Berg stated he was torn. “If we grant this, they might [enroll back in]. If we don’t, they’ll be gone next year, and they won’t be back.”

James Kitchen wanted to know the reason behind the request to open enroll out.

Carver helped solve the dilemma. “If you deny them, they could come and petition the board. That would force the issue.”

The board decided to contact those who sent in a late application and invite them to a meeting with the board.

• Board members gave an update on their school contacts.
McClure visited Lime Springs with Supt. John Carver and commented, “The boiler room is cleared out, and the wall is fixed.”

Scott Fortune attended a Secondary Career and Technical Education Task Force meeting. The purpose of this task force is to develop a plan to help students in junior high and high school learn about non four-year college careers.
He is excited about the idea, but disillusioned at how the education system works. Several committees have different goals which sometimes work against each other.

Fortune commented he would like to dump the education system out of a bucket, sort it out and reassemble it! Districts are being stretched, pushed and pulled in many different directions.

Fortune was also very impressed with the Simon Estes concert and the bands that performed with him. “The music department was like ‘Wow!’”

• Board President Fortune presented Bodermann and Kitchen with the book “Digital Leadership,” in which they were quoted. “This is complimentary of the board,” he said. The author, Eric Sheninger gets the district’s Weekly Administration Update.

• Scott Thomson spoke on the Howard-Winneshiek Community School Foundation. “It was created in 2001 on the advice of Attorney Henry Elwood. It was not until now that the Foundation has become active due to the encouragement of Supt. Carver, Principal [Tim] Felderman and H-W school accountant Clint Farlinger.”

The committee consists of Thomson as president; Felderman, Farlinger and Wendy Schatz as ex officios; Bryan Sheehy as vice-president; Joe Braun as secretary/treasurer; and members Libby Schwade, Tanya Riehle, Nick Ferrie, Michelle Midthus, Melodee Balk and Bruce Weigel. (Look for more information on this in the months to come.)

• The board righted a wrong at the meeting as they made a resolution to allow a piece of land to be conveyed to the owners for which it was intended. When Ridgeway school closed, some land was conveyed to various entities and one sliver was missed. This resolution makes the transfer legal.

• Two insurance companies (V&V and CIA) showed interest in the school’s insurance, and either one or both will be submitting a bid in the near future.
•The board voted to up the pay for substitute teachers. Carver had looked at area schools and found H-W’s pay scale was on the low side, making it hard to get subs. The board voted to raise the daily pay for subs from $90 to $110.

• High School Guidance Counselor has a full plate, so part of her job, as advisor for the student leadership team, was added to the duties of Brenda Lentz, Success Program Coordinator. Principal Tim Felderman explained Lentz will be in charge of the Site Council that will give students more say in policy and academics in the district. The student leadership team is being reorganized into Site Council that will have students, community members and teachers.

The April 14 meeting was scheduled to be held in Lime Springs, but was changed to Cresco. The board decided to have the May 12 meeting in Lime Springs, which was to be held in Elma.

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