EACSD Board of Directors approves bus leasing option, hears from Superintendent about district’s financial outlook

by Susan Cantine-Maxson

The regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Allamakee Community School District (EACSD) was held at Kee High School in Lansing Monday, June 15. The meeting was called to order by Board President Heather Schulte and the following board members were present: Kelli Mudderman, Bruce Palmborg and Melanie Mauss, with board member Bobbie Goetzinger absent. Also present at the meeting were EACSD Superintendent Dr. Dale Crozier, Kee Middle School and High School Principal Mary Hogan and Board Secretary Marian Verdon.

After the board adopted the agenda, the meeting was opened up for audience comments, but there were none. After the approval of the agenda, the usual and customary authorizations were made including the July consent items, minutes of the June meeting, bills for July, Secretary’s Financial Report for June, and the Student Activity and Food Service Reports.

The board approved food service bids for milk and bread for the 2019-2020 school year. Only one company bid for each item, and Prairie Farms was selected for milk and Sara Lee/Bimbo Bakeries was the bidder for bread.

Superintendent Crozier presented the board with three options for bus leasing and purchasing from Hoglund Bus Company: Option 1) re-lease two units coming off lease with a cost of approximately three years of payments of $11,000 with a balloon payment around $28,000 to purchase; Option 2) re-lease units coming off lease to own would be an annual fee of approximately $20,000; or option 3) buy two new units on a three-year lease of approximately $16,000 with a balloon payment of approximately $44,000. The board approved Option 1.

Principal Hogan presented the Revised Student Handbook, which included just a few minor revisions under Emergency Preparedness. The board accepted the revisions.

The board approved the resignation of Deborah Sullivan, Middle School Special Education teacher. The board also approved contracts with Melissa Cota for that Middle School Special Education teacher position, with Tammy Manning for Assistant Volleyball Coach, and with Kyle Goetzinger for Assistant Football Coach.

In closed session the board reviewed the Safety & Suicide Protocols per Iowa Code 279.70 IAC 281-14.4. This was reviewed more extensively at last month’s meeting after the closed session but more needed to be discussed about suicide prevention. The district has presented two years of training but possibly needs to include more training during the coming year.

Principal Hogan reported that she was working on registration materials, had finished the handbook, was finishing up room assignments and assigned duties and completing the welcome letters to teachers and parents.

Superintendent Crozier reported that the district had purchased a tuba and may still purchase a French horn which may come out of Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) funding or sales tax expenditures. The board approved these expenditures.

Dr. Crozier stated that Rural Schools of Iowa has been a good advocacy group for support of rural districts. He stated that expenditures for the year are slightly over last year but revenues are also up. He suggested that the financial outlook for the school district looks good, but he said the two biggest obstacles ahead are the large graduating classes of 2020 and 2022, which are classes of about 40 students. Dr. Crozier explained that there are no other classes that are that large, which means that the State aid will drop considerably and, in turn, will necessitate budget reductions which will probably result in staff reduction. Brainstorming possible solutions might include more sharing of teachers and staff with other districts. Another possibility might be to encourage Kee High School alumni or residents of the district to donate to the Dubuque Foundation Fund for Eastern Allamakee Schools to increase the fund to help carry the district through tough financial times. He used the following example: If 30 people each gave $100,000, that would increase the endowment to $3 million, which would make a sizable addition to the yearly budget from interest payments.

The meeting ended with a closed session for superintendent evaluation prior to adjournment.

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