ACSD Board of Directors holds annual meeting at Waterville Elementary to organize for school year

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors met for its regular monthly meeting at Waterville Elementary Monday, September 21, as the Board traditionally does in September each year. Prior to the meeting, ACSD board members and staff members could tour the Waterville Elementary facility.
During the Superintendent’s Report, ACSD Superintendent Dave Herold informed the Board and those present about a couple of issues that are being considered in school districts across the state. He noted that schools may soon have to consider having a policy in place regarding drones being flown over events held at schools. He also noted that schools may also have to put policies in place regarding who can be in areas such as dugouts or on playing fields and courts during sporting events. The latter, Herold noted, comes after the death of a bat boy who was struck in the head earlier this year at a baseball game.
Waterville Elementary students Cael and Nathan gave a presentation on the composting project that Waterville Elementary students are participating in. They gave examples of items that are not compostable, such as meat or dairy products, and items that are, such as fruit and vegetable peelings. The students are anticipating having a garden at the school, so the compost will be used in the garden.
Superintendent Herold gave a presentation on the Adequate Yearly Progress report for ACSD. This is a federally mandated report as part of the No Child Left Behind Act. Herold noted that in 2014, all schools in the nation were to be 100% proficient in the areas of reading and math, which he said no schools are. He also explained how the results are determined. There have to be 30 students in any given class or subgroup in order for the results to count. Herold explained that for some of the smaller schools, this can actually be an advantage as there may not be enough students in the class or subgroup for it to count. Students and schools are expected to do better on test scores than the previous year’s scores, and that is how the progress is expected to be measured.
Herold noted that many educators feel the scoring system is flawed, and he noted that at least 60% of the school buildings in Iowa have been placed on the Schools In Need of Assistance (SINA) list because they cannot meet the goals set by the federal government in proficiency. He also noted that ACSD students test higher than most other schools in their Area Education Agency (AEA) and most other schools in the state, but the district still has buildings on SINA lists or watch lists because they didn’t reach their target goal or do better than the previous year. He also pointed out that Iowa is only one of four or five states in the nation that have not been granted a waiver in order to meet some of the goals set by the federal mandates.
Under old business, the Board approved the Certified Annual Report for 2014-2015, the Special Education Supplemental for 2014-2015 and the Transportation Report for 2014-2015. The Board then adjourned, and immediately re-convened for its annual Re-Organizational Meeting held at the start of each school year.
At the start of the Re-Organizational Meeting, Board Secretary Janice Rea acted as temporary Board President, calling the meeting to order and explaining the results of the school board election. Board members Tim Waters, Thomas Baxter and Patty Nordheim all retained their seats on the school board, winning four-year terms. The oath was administered to the elected board members, and Allan Rissman was selected as the Board President once again, with Nordheim being selected as Vice President. The time and place for the regular board meetings will be as follows: regular meetings will be held the third Monday of each month, at the high school in Waukon, with the exception of the September meeting, which will be held at Waterville Elementary. Regular meetings will begin at 7 p.m. April through October, and at 5 p.m. November through March. Janice Rea was appointed Board Secretary/Board Treasurer.
The named depositories for General, Management, Physical Plant and Equipment, Activity, School Infrastructure Local Option, Debt Service and Lunch funding will be as follows: Waukon State Bank, $13,000,000; Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank, $5,000,000; Fidelity Bank, $1,000,000; and ISJIT/ISCAP $1,000,000.
In personnel matters, the Board approved staff for the 21st Century program. The driver education per student reimbursement rates were set as follows: 2015-2016, $180; 2016-2017, $182.50, and 2017-2018, $185.00. Ken West was hired as fall/spring driver education instructor. The Board approved changes in Angie Zezulka’s and Dolly Boland’s classroom associate hours, and both will be getting more time. The request to increase Tharin Benson’s special education teaching position from .5 to 1.0 was approved. Benson was also approved for hire as the assistant varsity baseball coach. Trevor Mincks was approved for hire as a high school associate.
The Board approved students for PSEO and contracted classes, and Superintendent Herold noted that this semester Waukon High School students are taking over 1,200 hours of college level courses. Five students were approved for early graduation, pending their meeting all graduation requirements.
Dave Herold and Karen Burke were re-appointed as Level 1 Child Abuse Investigators. Attorney Richard White was re-appointed as a Level 2 Child Abuse Investigator. Gretchen DeVore was appointed as the MCGF (Multicultural Gender-Fair) Coordinator. Jennifer Garin was re-appointed as Truancy Officer.
The Board approved the Health Occupations Consortium and Auto Consortium classes. Al Rissman was appointed as the Board's delegate to the Iowa Association of School Boards. The Board also approved the purchase of a self-propelled floor scrubber from Dalco for $6,638.81. Buildings and Grounds Director Bill Hennessy noted that this model would be easy for the staff in the Waterville kitchen to use, and it is compatible to the scrubber used in the Waukon Middle and High Schools for parts and accessories. The Board also approved the purchase of two lawn tractors from Waukon Implement for a cost of $8,365.03, after trade-in. Hennessy said that the tractors being used now are older and in constant need of repair. The attachments that the district currently uses will be compatible with the new lawn tractors as well.
Sunday usage of the Middle School gym for fifth and sixth grade volleyball games through the Waukon Park and Recreation and Wellness Department was approved. Volleyball practice for the varsity team was approved for Sunday, October 25, which is the day before the Regional Tournament begins. FFA trips for the District Greenhand FireUp October 7, the National FFA Convention from October 27 to October 30, and State FFA Leadership Conference April 17 to April 19 were approved. FFA Advisor Jessica O’Connor noted that this year there are 13 new members to the FFA, which is a high number. They will attend the Greenhand FireUp. She also noted that the FFA students will be attending the National Convention in Louisville, KY, and this is the last time the convention will be there until 2024.
The Board also approved several cheerleading events. The October 18 Iowa Shrine Bowl Tryouts, the October 25 Iowa High School Cheer Competition and the November 15 Iowa School Honor Squad were all approved. The annual first grade field trip to attend a production of the Nutcracker Suite was also approved, with students attending December 11. The Board also approved the use of the football field October 14 for the annual Fields of Faith event.
Prior to adjournment, the Board approved the first reading of the following board policies: 102-Equal Educational Opportunity, 102.E1-Annual Notice of Nondiscrimination, 102.E2-Continuous Notice of Nondiscrimination, 102.E3-Notice of Section 504 Student and Parental Rights, 102.E4-Complaint Form, 102.E5- Witness Disclosure Form, 102.E6-Disposition of Complaint Form, 102.R1-Grievance Procedure, 104-Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harrassment Policy, 104.E1-Complaint Form, 104.E2-Witness Disclosure Form, 104.E3-Disposition of Complaint Form, 104.R1-Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harrassment Investigation Procedures, 410.2-Summer School Licensed Employees, 503.1-Student Conduct, 505.2-Student Promotion-Retention-Acceleration, 603.2-Summer School Instruction, 601.1-School Calendar, 604.1-Private Instruction and 604.7-Dual Enrollment.