ACSD Board of Education updated on variety of events as current school year comes to a close

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors met for its regular monthly meeting Monday, May 18. The meeting opened with a public hearing on amending the 2014-2015 budget. There were no written or oral comments, so the hearing was closed. Later in the meeting, the Board approved the amendment to the budget.
During the reports portion of the meeting, ACSD Superintendent Dave Herold noted that there hasn’t been much to report on the legislative front at the State level. The State Supplemental Aid has not yet been decided, and it may not be until June of this year.
During the Principals’ Reports, East and West Elementary Principal Ann Hart noted that as the year is winding down, students have been busy with field days and awards programs this week. Waterville Elementary and Junior High Principal Joe Griffith explained that the Athletic Booster Club paid for repairs to a wall mat in the Junior High gym. He also noted that field days and awards ceremonies have been taking place these last few days of school.
Waukon Senior High Principal Dan Diercks noted that the high school band and choir students received five 1 ratings at their contest last Friday. He also noted that the school had a speaker in just before Prom last month to entertain and talk to students about making good choices. “We had a safe and wonderful prom,” he noted. He also informed board members and those in attendance that there will be an open house from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. this Saturday, May 23 at the new house built by students in the Waukon High School Construction class.
Building and Grounds Director Bill Hennessy explained to the Board that the booster pump system for the high school is still operational, and that insurance will pay most of the cost to replace it. The district will have to pay $6,000 to replace the system, and insurance will pick up the balance of $31,900. Later in the meeting, the Board approved the purchase of a new booster pump system from Winona Controls for a total purchase price of $37,900.
Food Service Director Julie Magner informed the Board that the Allamakee County Cattlemen grilled locally grown beef for students May 7, and she said it was also the largest count they’d had for lunch all year. Transportation Director Randy Nordheim thanked the bus drivers for all their work, especially these past 12 days when there were 39 additional routes made for activities and field trips. Nordheim said 36 of the school vehicles were inspected earlier this month, with just a few minor things found. Nordheim said they were issues that would be expected with normal use of the vehicles.
Under new business, the Board approved staff for the 21stCentury After School Program and accepted resignations from Lacy Lloyd from her associate position, Todd Neal from his head boys golf coaching position and Donna May from her high school associate position. The Board approved issuing contracts to the following: superintendent, principals, shared curriculum director, transportation director, building and grounds director, food service director, business manager, technology director and technology assistance. Michelle Finnegan was hired as the eighth grade volleyball coach, pending receipt of her coaching certificate. Louise Wild was hired as the fall musical assistant. Adam Benzing was approved as summer custodial help at Waterville Elementary School.
Dan Liddiard was present at the meeting to discuss with the Board a request from the Waterville Fire Department regarding a sidewalk. Liddiard noted that the fire department was not looking for any financial assistance from the school district; they simply wanted to be “good neighbors” and make sure the school would be okay with the fire department putting in an eight-foot-wide sidewalk to the property line. The district approved the request.
The fund raising calendar for the 2015-2016 school year was approved. Out-of-state field trips for the members of the high school's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter to attend the National Leadership Conference in Chicago, IL from June 29 to July 2 and for eighth grade students to attend a program entitled “Cannons at the Fort” in Prairie du Chien, WI were also approved.
A junior high football camp was approved to begin Sunday, August 16. A proposal from Barb Winters-Kelly regarding videography expansion was presented to the Board. Board member Patty Nordheim noted that it would be interesting to be able to fly one of the drones listed on the proposal. Technology Director Shawn Gordon explained that drones have been used in the agricultural field to check on crops, and that the drones listed on the proposal could be used with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) test plot, as well as for students to practice programming and also filming. The proposal was approved.
A bid from Winona Controls was accepted for a boiler antifreeze system. Superintendent Herold explained that this past winter there was a break in a pipe in the main tunnel between the high school and West Elementary. Buildings and Grounds Director Bill Hennessy noted that the system had lost most of its antifreeze and would need to have that replaced. The cost would be $14,900.
A bid from Weber Paper Company for a new floor scrubber, with options, at $6,569 was also approved, as was a bid from Five Star Telecom Inc. for fiber optic cable to the new press box at the Waukon High School football and track stadium for a total of $9,530.74. Herold noted that the cable would have to be installed in order to be able to use the new press box, and it would give the district an opportunity to live-stream games and events if they chose to do that.
A sharing agreement with North  Winneshiek School District for a Shared Guidance Counselor was approved. The Board also approved the NICC Auto Consortium Contract for 2015-2016. The Staff Policies and Administrative Rules Handbook for the 2015-2016 school year was also approved. The Board also approved the following grade structure reorganization: West Elementary: Pre-Kindergarten through second grade; East Elementary: third grade through fifth grade; Waterville Elementary: Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade; Waukon Middle School (also a name change from Waukon Junior High): sixth grade through eighth grade; and Waukon  High School: ninth grade through 12th grade. Herold noted that the changes would also make it easier for the district when filling out progress reports, annual yearly progress reports, and other State-mandated reports. The Board then took a brief recess before going into closed session.