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Clarinda School District adds new bus to fleet
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Clarinda School District adds new bus to fleet

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HJ - Student exits Clarinda School Bus

A Clarinda student gets off the bus at the PK-6 building in Clairnda on the first day of school. The Clarinda Community School District Board of Directors voted Nov. 11 to start the processd of purchasing a new bus for the district. (Herald-Journal file photo)

A new school bus will be part of the Clarinda School District’s fleet for the 2021-2022 year.

The Board of Education at a meeting Nov. 11 approved the start of a process to purchase the vehicle. Bids will be solicited, then a recommendation will be brought to the board for consideration.

A 2005 model bus currently being used will be traded in, adhering to the district’s policy of “rotating out” older buses and replacing them with newer ones, said Board President Greg Jones.

Director Ann Meyer said the district was “scheduled to order a bus last year, and then we chose not to. So it’s been two years since we’ve purchased a bus.”

The new vehicle will be equipped with seat belts for passengers -- meeting safety requirements that have been established.

The bus “will be a little bit more expensive than previous buses because they put seat belts in,” said District Finance Director Colby Pedersen. Estimates have put the cost at $120,000, but the exact figure will not be known until bids are received.

The purchase will be made with funds generated by the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL).

During the Nov. 11 session, several organizational actions were completed.

Jones was re-elected board president and Stacy Pulliam was elected vice president, with their terms to last until November of 2021.

School board meetings will continue to be held on the second and fourth Wednesdays each month, except in July and December. The sessions will begin at 4 p.m. in the board room at the McKinley building.

Financial institutions were selected as depositories of school district funds. They are Bank Iowa, Cornerstone Bank, Great Western Bank and PCSB Bank in Clarinda, along with Wells Fargo, a group organization that pools money from multiple districts in Iowa.

The board president, district business manager and superintendent were authorized to have access to bank accounts and financial portfolios. The reimbursement schedule for authorized travel expenses for business conducted by and for the district was approved, as was the treasurer’s report for the 2020 fiscal year.

The Clarinda Herald-Journal was designated as the district’s official newspaper for the 2020-2021 school year. The paper will publish district notices and minutes of board meetings.

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Assignments were made for board members to serve on specified committees -- finance, facilities, policy, school improvement, activities and technology, and also on the Legislative Action Network and the Page County Conference Board.

In other business, the board:

Approved an action to seek authority from the Iowa Department of Education’s School Budget Review Committee for $114,896 as modified supplemental funds, due to changes in open-in and open-out enrollment. Pedersen said enrollment out primarily included students attending online academies that are offering virtual learning options during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adopted a resolution to continue the Instructional Support Levy for another five years to provide financial support for the district and its students. The levy, which was set to expire on June 30, 2021, produces revenue through a combination of property taxes and an income surtax, and cannot exceed 10 percent of the district’s regular program costs. Approval of the levy extension came after a public hearing earlier in the meeting during which no oral or written objections were expressed or received.

Approved an amendment to an agreement between the district and Green Hills Area Education Agency for additional days of service to be provided to students by a school-based interventionist.

Approved the donation of a bandsaw from Jeff McCall for the industrial technology class at the high school.

Approved a bid from Wallin Plumbing and Heating for $11,286.44 to replace the heat pump at the Garfield-PK-6 building. A compressor has failed on the current equipment, which was installed in 1997 and is original to the building. The district also received a bid from Trane for $16,111.

Approved a bid from Degase Home Improvement of $75 an hour for snow removal on district property at 1180 South 16th St., the former Shopko location. The bid from Degase was the only one submitted for the work.

Approved an application for a $4,075 grant from the Region 13 Consortium for equipment to be used in the district’s agriculture program.

Approved the award of a $3,750 grant to the district from the Fremont-Page-Taylor Decategorization and Community Partnerships for Protecting Children (CPPC) Board to support the school-based, after-school at-risk tutoring program.

Approved the addition of an assistant bowling coach position. Currently there is only a head coach for more than 35 athletes participating in the sport.

Approved hirings of Deitrich Engstrand and Katie Kendall as paraprofessionals; and Mackenzie Clark as a fifth grade teacher.

Decided to cancel the Nov. 25 regular board meeting, and instead scheduled a work session on Nov. 23.

Heard comments from Clarinda resident John Van Nostrand, who questioned the district’s actions in switching to an online format for a recent high school theater production in response to public health issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. Later in the meeting, Jones said that “decisions are always made for the kids’ safety, with the utmost importance. I think most people understand that. I don’t discourage anybody from sharing their concerns. If we had all the answers, we wouldn’t have a problem. We’re where we’re at because of circumstances.”

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