ACSD Board of Directors decides on matters in preparation for next school year at regular monthly meeting

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors met for its regular meeting Monday evening, March 16. During the Superintendent’s Report, ACSD Superintendent Dave Herold discussed items in legislation at the State level, including school funding and the start date for the next school year this fall. He noted that start date has still not yet been determined.
During the Principals’ Reports, Junior High/Waterville Elementary Principal Joe Griffith noted that students will soon be going on field trips. He also noted that they are working on scheduling visits for fifth, sixth and eighth graders to visit the new schools they will be attending in the fall to help them with their transitions.
High School Activities Director Jennifer Garin noted that the track season has begun. Golf season practice also began Monday, and Garin said that this was the first time in a very long time that the students could be on the golf course the first day of practice. The high school play is scheduled for April 17 and 18, and Prom is planned for April 25. Garin also informed the Board that the focus for next year’s Project Lead the Way program is going to be computer science and software engineering, and she is writing grants to try and secure some funding to help with that. Garin also congratulated the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter on a first-place team finish, as well as many first-, second- and third-place individual placements at the State Leadership Conference this past weekend.
Waukon High School Principal Dan Diercks also congratulated the FBLA chapter, noting that the group broke the 300-point barrier in team scoring, which hasn’t been done before. Diercks also told the Board that the Academic Awards/National Honor Society event was held last week. In order to get an academic award, students needed to have a grade point average of at least 3.33. There were 26 freshmen, 45 sophomores, 34 juniors and 38 seniors who received awards. Over one-third of all the high school students have a 3.33 GPA, or better. There were also 25 new inductees in the National Honor Society. Diercks also reported that the Night at the Pops music show was very well attended, with entertainment from students in fifth through 12th grades.
Gretchen DeVore, Curriculum Director, explained to the Board about FAST training, which is an early literacy program. The program tests students three times per year to see if students meet benchmarks for literacy. Students who have not met benchmarks and have been “red flagged” will get extra help. Parents of these students will be notified at parent/teacher conferences to discuss how both the school and parents can work with the children to improve their literacy.
Barb Winters-Kelly talked with the Board about an upcoming site visit for the 21st Century programming. She noted that this will be the third year for the grades seventh through 12th grant in Postville. This visit to the area schools will be to make sure the schools are following guidelines, and will be useful for securing future funding for the program. Winters-Kelly explained to the Board that she has compiled a list of those who have contributed by volunteering time, supplies or in an advisory capacity, and the list is close to 200 people.
In personnel matters, the Board approved 21st Century After School Program personnel. Kelly Liddiard was transferred from Waterville Elementary second and third grades to West Elementary second grade. The Board accepted the resignation of Wanda Christianson, due to retirement, from her head cook position at Waterville Elementary. Lennie Burke and Terry Grotegut were approved as substitute bus drivers, pending meeting all requirements.
The Board approved Marcia Hesse’s request for five additional family illness leave days. Blaine Snitker was re-hired as eighth and ninth grade baseball coach, a position he has held for the past two years. The Board approved the transfer of Julie Connor from Junior High Special Education to Waterville Elementary second and third grades, and also approved the involuntary transfers of Lisa Snitker from 7-12 Librarian to K-12 Librarian; of Don Thies from East Elementary Special Education/P.E. Teacher to East Elementary/Waterville Elementary P.E. Teacher; and of Sarah Schacherer from West, East and Waterville Elementary music teacher to West, East, Waterville and Middle School sixth grade music teacher.
Open gym for boys basketball Sundays, starting March 22, and open gym for girls basketball Sundays in June was approved. An out-of-state field trip for fifth graders to the Villa Louis historical site in Prairie du Chien, WI and for Secondary 21st Century students to visit Mayo Clinic and the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, MN were approved. The Board also approved a field trip for Waterville Elementary fourth through sixth graders to go to Prairie du Chien, WI in May as a reward for their success and hard work with the Accelerated Reading program last year for bowling and swimming. Expenses would be paid from the Waterville Activity Account and Parents for Progress.
Numerous summer projects were approved, including projects to make the sidewalks more handicapped accessible at the high school, junior and elementary schools, fixing a heaved sidewalk by the junior high administrative offices, installing a new drain line in the main kitchen, and tuck pointing and masonry repair at the old junior high school, West and the high school, among other projects.
Technology Director Shawn Gordon presented the Board with information on purchasing new projectors and networking equipment. The Board went with Gordon’s recommendations to accept the bid from Marco for the networking equipment at a cost of $129,981.79. Gordon noted that the district may be able to get some money for the project from ERATE funding, which is through the State. The district could get 80% of the funding, and could be looking at receiving somewhere around $111,360. The funding is based on the free and reduced lunch program in the district.
The Board also accepted Gordon’s recommendation regarding projectors, which would involve the district purchasing projectors and materials from Midwest Computer Products, Inc. for $4,800, resulting in a savings of nearly $2,000. Installation would be done by the ACSD Technology Department and the custodians. A proposal on the purchase of new laptop computers was tabled.
The Board approved the Director of Transportation and Director of Buildings and Grounds Sharing Agreements with Eastern Allamakee Community School District and also approved the School Board Resolution for the Affordable Care Act. Board Secretary Janice Rea explained that this is something that was recommended by the company that is helping the district with working through the Affordable Care Act. It was recommended that the Board approve the resolution and place it on file.
The first reading of the following board policies was approved: 406.5-Licensed Employee Group Benefits and 412.3-Classified Employee Group Benefits. The Board also approved the following budget levies for 2015-2016 for the Proposed Budget: Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL)-.33, Voted PPEL-.09578, Management-.55201, Debt Service-.47530. The Board also approved a Budget Guarantee Resolution.
The Board set a date and time for a public hearing on the 2015-2016 budget for 7 a.m. April 6. The Board also heard opening negotiations between the ACSD and the Allamakee Community Education Association. Prior to adjournment, Board President Al Rissman reminded everyone that April will begin the schedule of the regular monthly meetings being held at 7 p.m.