ACSD Board addresses variety of personnel items, other matters

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors met for its regular monthly meeting Monday night, June 15. Board member Patty Nordheim was absent.
During the Secretary’s Financial Report, Board Secretary Janice Rea noted that School Board elections will be held in September of this year. Those wishing to file papers to be considered for election to the Board may do so up until July 31.
During the Superintendent’s Report, ACSD Superintendent Dave Herold noted that the State legislative session is over. He noted that the legislators passed a 1.25% Allowable Growth for 2015-2016 school year funding, with additional one-time money in the amount of $111 per student. Herold stated that the one-time payment has stipulations on it and can be used to purchase text books, library books, for transportation, and for student achievement or student initiative. “We’re not sure if the Governor will sign the bill,” Herold said, explaining that Governor Terry Branstad has mentioned bringing legislators back to look at 2017 as well.
Lisa Snitker, the K-12 District Teacher Librarian, gave the annual library report to the Board. The total books checked out for all the elementary school centers for the 2014-2015 school year was 69,360. For the senior and junior high libraries, the total was 6,081, with Snitker noting that in the junior high and high school, the number of books checked out has risen over last school year. She noted that students are also learning how to use the library website to request a book be held for them to check out.
Snitker also showed examples of some of the videos that students have been making as part of their school work, including a newscast at the high school and a documentary on the history of Allamakee County, which was made by the 2014-2015 sophomore class. While making the documentary, students also learned how to research from primary sources, such as going to the museum in Waukon to search for information in the old documents and microfilm housed in the basement of the County Courthouse Museum.
In personnel matters, the Board approved 21stCentury After School Program personnel. Brent Beyer and Mike Shupe were approved as volunteer cross country coaches, and the Board accepted the resignation of Nathan Todd from his position as 21st Century Site Coordinator. The Board also accepted the resignation of Julie Hjerleid from her elementary teaching position, with reimbursement to the district for all costs associated with the late resignation. A transfer was approved for Mason Berns to move from Waterville Elementary fourth/fifth grade teacher to East Elementary fourth grade teacher to replace Hjerleid.
The Board also approved hiring Tharin Benson as a half-time middle school special education teacher and head boys golf coach to replace outgoing coach Todd Neal, pending receipt of Benson’s coaching certificate. The Board also hired Jarod Dahlstrom as a volunteer football coach, as well as Brennan Hartley, pending Hartley’s receipt of his coaching certificate.
The Board approved a salary increase for 21st Century Staff, as well as hiring Jeanette Ruegnitz as a .4 shared Human Resources Director with the Postville  Community School District. Superintendent Herold noted that Ruegnitz has “extensive background” in insurance and employee benefits, and would be able to help the district be sure it is in compliance with regulations pertaining to the Affordable Care Act. He noted that her salary can be covered by Operational Sharing Fund guidelines.
In other matters, high school student and Waukon Boy Scout Troop 64 member Dolan Jones discussed his plans for his Eagle Scout project with the Board. Jones proposed to build a shed on the northeast side of the soccer field, across from the west parking lot of the high school. The shed will be 15 feet by 21 feet and made of tin. Jones noted that the shed would be placed on a four-inch concrete slab, with approval from the City of Waukon. If the City does not approve, the shed could be placed on skids. Jones estimated the total cost of the project to be around $4,000. He explained that he would be funding the project using a 1/2, 1/4, 1/4 plan that he devised with the help of outgoing Waukon High School Principal Dan Diercks. Jones is asking for $2,000 from the Allamakee Music Boosters, $1,000 from the Allamakee Athletic Boosters and $1,000 from the School Board. The project would be started in late July and should be finished by August. The Board approved his request.
The Board also approved a cheerleader camp for August 4 and 5 at the high school gym and track. Approval was also given to changes to the student and teacher handbooks, as well as the coaches’ handbook for the 2015-2016 school year. The Board also approved a bid of $17,900 from Indi-Com Electric and Surveillance for security cameras to be installed at East, West and Waterville Elementary Schools and one camera to be upgraded at the high school, and also for keyless entry to some district buildings.
Price increases in student and adult lunches were also approved in order for the district to meet requirements of Section 205 of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. Prices for the 2015-2016 school year will be as follows: paid student lunch, $1.95; reduced student lunch, $0.40; adult lunch, $3.34; paid student breakfast, $0.90; reduced student breakfast, $0.30, and adult breakfast at $1.15. Free student lunch and breakfasts will remain at no charge.
A joint sharing agreement with Decorah Community School  District and ACSD for a curriculum coordinator was approved, as was the agreement with the Postville Community School   District for a shared Human Resources Director. The Board also approved the recommendation to move bank accounts, as is the district’s policy to do every four years. The district will continue to use local banks.
The Board approved paying bills through June 30, 2015, as well as a possible Sunday practice for the varsity baseball team, pending postseason tournament results. The Board also received an update on funding for the press box renovation project taking place at the high school football and track stadium. The Dave and Nancy Einck family has donated $25,000 for the project in honor of their late son, former Waukon High School student athlete Mitch Einck, and the Board approved the use of boys and girls athletic/unallocated funding to pay for the remaining $12,500.52 of the project. “No General Fund expenditures will be used for this,” Superintendent Herold noted. As the last item of business before adjourning, the Board also approved Affordable Healthcare Act Procedures.