School Board supports legislative action

The Clarinda Board of Education has formally expressed support for legislative action to deal with issues impacting the district and the delivery of services to students.

During a meeting July 8, directors approved the top four priority issues the Iowa Association of School Boards has identified for the next session of the Iowa General Assembly.

One issue is the need for an increase in funding to enable districts to provide preschool services such as full-day programming and transportation, thus ensuring that all 4- and 5-year-olds have the ability to attend statewide voluntary programs.

The Clarinda district will be offering half-day preschool beginning with the 2020-2021 year, and local officials plan to encourage legislators to appropriate a sufficient amount of money so that full-day classes can be scheduled.

Regarding the issue of mental health, the overall goal is to support efforts to establish comprehensive community systems that offer preventive and treatment services, along with school mental health programs. Student access to in-school and telehealth services from mental health professionals is deemed essential.

On the issue of school funding, a policy is supported for a foundation formula that provides adequate and timely funding to meet educational goals, and that equalizes per pupil funding as well as reflects actual costs for special education services.

“There are districts in Iowa who are getting more per pupil than we are,” director Ann Meyer said. “We’re not alone in that way. We say we have equity and equality in education, but we do not. One of the first things [is] to get that remedied.”

Another issue is the need to set supplemental state aid within statutory requirements so districts can make sound financial decisions on programs and staffing levels.

Director Darin Sunderman said the district needs to know that the state aid will be forthcoming each year in order for contracts to be negotiated successfully and staffing requirements to be met.

In other matters at the meeting, directors approved the 2020-2021 good conduct protocol for students.

The protocol, which was presented to the board in May of 2019, was developed through a collaborative process involving input from staff members.

The protocol notes that a student’s “participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege and carries expectations of exemplary responsibility and behavior.”

Listed in the protocol are different categories of offenses for which disciplinary action will be imposed. Listed are measures that will be taken, such as suspension of students for specified periods.

Activities covered by the protocol are athletics, instrumental and vocal music performances, drama productions, speech contests, FFA, National Honor Society, all co-curricular clubs (e.g., Spanish Club), all honorary and elected offices (e.g., homecoming king/queen/court, graduation speaker, class officer, student government officer or representative), state contests and performances for cheerleading or any other activity where the student represents the school district.

Superintendent Chris Bergman said revisions of the protocol may occur in the future, based on changing circumstances.

Also at the meeting, Bergman, on behalf of the district, expressed appreciation for the work of four former school bus drivers who combined for a total of 68 years of driving experience. They are Richard Negley, 32 years; Mike Williams, 15 years; Kenney Wagoner, 13 years; and Mick Miller, eight years.

In addition, Bergman noted that Negley served 12 years on the school board.

In other business, the board:

Awarded the 2020-2021 dairy bid to A&E, and the bakery and bread bid to Pan O’Gold.

Approved an application payment of $46,919.93 to JR & Co. for completed work to date on roof projects at Clarinda High School and Garfield Elementary School. The payment covers materials and labor. CMBA, the district’s architectural consulting firm, reviewed and certified the request.

Approved instructional fees for the 2020-2021 term: high school, $40; middle school, $30; and elementary school, $20.

Approved a recommendation to have the State of Iowa complete the district’s audit for fiscal year 2019-2020. Finance Director Colby Pedersen said the state “will assign us a manager, and will have someone come down here” and conduct the auditing process.

Approved 260-day contracts for district administrators.

Approved the hiring of bus drivers David Long, Richard Owens and Darrel Robberts.

Approved the hiring of associates Christi Breach, Dianna McClarnon, Lauren McNees, Lydia Pippert, Karina Lininger, Karlee Barlow, Megan Fidler, Rachel Marckmann, Julia Harris, Taryn Maxwell, Cassie Luft, Heather Harris, Cindy Darrah, Lisa Nellis, Jaime Gaunt, Makenna Cason, Courtney Ridnour, Kim Grebert, Caren Boltinghouse, Joy Strait, Danni Samuelson, Jean Minor, Lori Haffner, Laura Bielfeldt, Stephanie Sunderman, Jeanette Carson, Misty Johnson and Kris Wise.

Approved the transfer of Andrew Harris from middle school teacher to high school teacher; and the transfer of Kim Williams from fifth-sixth grade teacher to Title 1 reading.

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