ACSD Board of Directors addresses variety of issues

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors met for its regular monthly meeting Monday night, June 16. Superintendent Dave Herold summarized for the board members several pieces of legislation that have been passed over the last year. He also noted that a representative of Senator Tom Harkin’s office had visited the district to present a Congressional Record and to thank the ACSD for all the work they have done with the community.
Herold also noted that the 20-year agreement with the City of Waukon for land with the Junior High has been filed with the Secretary of State. He also clarified that the soccer fields near the school are not school property, but belong to the City of Waukon.
During the Principals’ Reports, Waukon Junior High and Waterville Elementary Principal Joe Griffith noted that Waterville Elementary has moved its summer school and summer feeding programs to Harpers Ferry, as that is a more central location to meet the needs of their students and parents.
Junior and Senior High summer school students have been working on building and planting raised bed gardens in the high school courtyard, and will be taking a trip to Minneapolis, MN to sleep overnight in the aquarium at the Mall of America, as well as have an opportunity to go snorkeling and visit the area’s University of Minnesota campus.
Senior High School Principal Dan Diercks noted that the corn and soybeans planted in the FFA test plot are growing. He also noted that concrete will be poured in the high school greenhouse for facilities for students to learn aquaculture and how to raise fish starting next fall.
Dennis Mahr, head of Maintenance and Grounds, updated the Board on several summer projects that have been completed. Transportation Director Randy Nordheim informed the Board that the district’s school vehicles put on a total of 365,981 miles this past school year, down 9,000 miles from the previous year.
During the communication portion of the meeting, Linda Groe and Lisa Snitker presented the Board with information on the school library program, which serves libraries at all four learning centers within the district. Snitker gave a presentation on various projects the libraries have been involved with, including a few videos that have been made.
Sophomore students made a 45-50 minute documentary entitled “Allamakee County The Story of Us Part II”, which highlighted historical events in the county through re-enactments and interviews. Some of the events depicted in the video include Fish Farm Mounds, the murder of Sheriff Bulman and the murder of school teacher Inga Magnusson. She also showed examples of the book trailers made by eighth grade students and explained how the library at the junior high and high school is using QR codes on the books and an iPad to allow students to view book trailers and decide if they want to check the book out or not.
Under new business, the Board approved the following personnel matters: the resignations of Bev Krambeer from her para-educator position, Faye Nolting from her foodservice position and Paula Zychowski from her para-educator position were all accepted. A salary increase for 21stCentury staff was approved, as were the following hires: Amy Bieber as High School Cheerleading sponsor, Bryce Muenchow as assistant musical director, Tyler Benzing as summer custodian help at Waterville Elementary, Ann Deering as a third grade teacher at East Elementary, Kelli Olson as a sixth grade teacher at West Elementary, Tharin Benson as junior high boys’ basketball coach, Dennis Dahlstrom as a substitute bus driver (pending his meeting all certification requirements), Tami Magner as a volunteer softball coach (pending her receiving a coaching certificate), and Leah Stammeyer as a special education associate. The Board also approved the transfer of Chris Dahlstrom from junior high football to eighth grade football.
The Board also approved changes to the student handbook as well as the teacher handbook. Board member Tom Baxter asked for clarification on one issue in the teacher handbook, regarding students with a detention being prohibited from library sign-out for study halls. Principal Diercks explained that it is viewed as a privilege to be able to sign out of study hall to visit the library. However, if a student with a detention needs to use the library resources for a class, that would be allowed; it would not be allowed if it was for “leisurely activities.”
A lunch rate increase to $1.85 for students and to $3.27 for adults was approved, in accordance with Federal guidelines. Enrollment fees for the 2014-2015 were approved at $85 for junior high students and $95 for high school students. Technology fees have been waived. For the 2013-2014 school year, rates for the junior high were $70 enrollment plus a $30 technology fee and for the high school it was $80 enrollment plus a $30 technology fee.
A bid from Leithold Music for a new piano, in the amount of $5,190, was accepted. Funds for the piano were raised by the Allamakee Music Boosters through their “Buy a Key” fundraiser. Changes to the coach’s handbook were also approved. The Board approved using Adam Anderson Construction for snow removal for the 2014-2015 school year. A fundraiser by Food and Fitness was approved to allow the group to sell an entrance fee to a fun run or 5K, with proceeds used to give out to groups in order for the groups to purchase fruits, vegetables and other healthy snacks to distribute to after school programs or other events as a healthy option.
The Board also approved the Mid-Iowa School Improvement Consortium, which Herold noted ACSD has been using for a number of years as a second assessment tool. Sunday usage of the high school gym for basketball practice was approved for July 13. The District Design Special Education plan was also approved, as was the recommendation to approve bills through June 30, pending the board president’s approval.