The Clarinda Board of Education has identified proposed priority legislation for the next session of the Iowa General Assembly.
During a meeting on July 14, directors selected four areas they want state legislators to focus on and take appropriate action that will benefit school districts.
Cited by the Clarinda board were preschool programs; special education; supplemental state aid; and mental health. The priorities will be forwarded to the Iowa Association of School Boards to assist that organization in developing a legislative strategy for 2022.
Superintendent Chris Bergman said that it is vital for local residents to “be aware that preschool is not fully funded,” meaning that for every student served, state money does not cover all of the costs.
“So the rest is absorbed through the school district,” she said.
In some other districts in the Clarinda area, Bergman noted, “the community provides that extra half. There are different ways to do that. It’s something we need to keep talking about. What does that look like for our community?”
Regarding special education, Director Ann Meyer said she would like to see it “funded differently. We were supposed to get 40 percent, but we don’t even get that.”
She said there are “not very many districts in Iowa that are in the black as far as special education funds. It is a high need and an important need.”
The amount of supplemental state aid is determined by the legislature, after consideration of proposals put forth by the governor and members of the Iowa House and Iowa Senate.
A figure of 2.4 percent was approved during the last session. Adequate funding “will be important next year,” Bergman said.
By selecting mental health as a priority, the Clarinda board supports efforts to establish systems that offer preventive and treatment services and comprehensive school mental health programs.
In other matters at the July 14 meeting, the board approved the sale of district technology equipment that has become outdated.
Examples are iPads, laptop and desktop computers, monitors, towers and accessories.
Bergman said that, following procedures that are in place, the items will be advertised for sale.
Board President Greg Jones noted that material that is not acquired through the sale can be purchased by a recycling company.
Files on the computers have been “wiped” by the district’s information technology staff, and a similar procedure to permanently delete data can be performed by the recycler.
In a related action, the board approved the sale of non-district material currently located in the building at 1180 South 16th Street that is being converted into Cardinal Innovation Learning Center.
The material includes metal shelving and other items in good condition that were present in the building when it was purchased. None of the items to be sold belong to the Clarinda district. Procedures will also be followed for offering this material for sale.
In other business, the board:
Approved awarding respective contracts to A & E to provide dairy products, and Pan O’Gold to provide bakery and bread items to the district for the 2021-2022 school year. Co-Food Service Directors Traci DeBolt and Joyce Johansen recommended the action, based on competitive bidding and vendor satisfaction. Regarding food, ware wash and small equipment items, the board in May approved a purchasing agreement with Green Hills Area Education Agency, which accepted bids from Martin Brothers and Rapids Wholesale.
Approved the renewal license and services agreement with Filament Essential Services for $4,058 for the 2021-2022 term. The firm provides Web site services, system and mobile app support, texting services and domain registration. The district’s information technology staff recommended the renewal.
Approved a Page County Fair partnership agreement involving several entities -- the fair board; the Page County Youth Advisory Committee; the Clarinda, Essex, Shenandoah and South Page school districts; the Brokaw FFA Chapter; and the Davis Rodgers FFA Chapter. The agreement, which will be reviewed annually, is intended to coordinate the relationships, events, activities and responsibilities of the groups related to the presentation of the county fair.
Approved changes to the master agreement with the Clarinda Education Association regarding the supplemental pay schedule. With the revisions, the percent of base pay for the vocal music instructor position at the middle school and high school will rise from 12.5 percent ($4,741.75) to 14 percent (($5,310.76), and the base pay for the middle school band position will go from 8.5 percent ($3,224.39) to 12.5 percent ($4,741.75). The vocal music position responsibilities now include the show choir, the musical theater small group competition and the variety show. For the band position, responsibilities include the jazz band, along with giving music lessons and assisting with the high school marching band.
Approved instructional fees for the 2021-2022 year. For students in the grades 7-12 building, the fee will be $50, and for pupils at the PK-6 building, the fee will be $30. The figures represent a $10 increase from previous fees, which had remained the same for the past three years.
Approved an addendum to the superintendent’s contract for five additional vacation days, three professional days and a salary increase of 1.55 percent.
Approved a reduction in the director of student service’s contract from four days a week to two days a week through Dec. 22, 2021.
Approved the continuation of a shared personnel agreement with the Stanton School District for the 2021-2022 year, enabling Shirley Maxwell to assist with the transition of Nancy McKinnon to the position of finance director for the Clarinda district. McKinnon’s transfer from administrative assistant was approved by the board in a separate action. Maxwell will be paid $44.82 per hour for eight hours a day, plus additional hours as needed and determined by both districts.
Approved hirings, for the 2021-2022 year, of James McCalla as custodian; H.T. Adams as activities director; Dietrich Engstrand as seventh grade girls’ basketball coach; and Zach Goering as assistant high school girls’ basketball coach.
Approved transfers, for the 2021-2022 term, of Julia Harris from paraprofessional to food service; Jason Gordon from alternative high school instructor to 7-12 health teacher; Sara Honold from at-risk coordinator to 7-12 school counselor; and Matt Bird from seventh grade girls’ basketball coach to eighth grade girls’ basketball coach.
Approved the resignation of Curtis Maassen as middle school football coach for the 2021-2022 year.