EACSD Board of Directors discusses full-day preschool option; Julie Hawes hired as varsity volleyball coach

by Susan Cantine-Maxson

The regular monthly meeting of the Eastern Allamakee Community School District (EACSD) Board of Directors was held Monday, May 21 at Kee High School in Lansing. Board members Bruce Palmborg, Bobbie Goetzinger and Board President Heather Schulte were present, along with Board Secretary/Business Manager Marian Verdon, Kee High School and Middle School Principal Mary Hogan, New Albin Elementary School Principal Chad Steckel and EACSD Superintendent Dr. Dale Crozier. Absent were board members Kelli Mudderman and Melanie Mauss.

President Schulte called the meeting to order. The initial item on the agenda included approval of the 2018 budget amendment which allows the budget to cover additional revenues and expenditures not covered in the original budget. Public comments were called for but none were given. The normal and customary authorizations were approved.

The  board approved the 2017-18 budget amendment and also approved the EACSD Certified Teaching Staff Employee Handbook, with items previously covered by the Master Contract now being covered in the Employee Handbook. The board also approved a grades 9-12 PE Waiver, which allows Physical Education requirement waivers for high school students involved in athletic activities).

Approval was also given to the Keystone Information Technology Contract Agreement and to Teacher Leadership Compensation Contracts. Contract resignations given approval included Jaime Colsch as assistant football coach and Patrick Wagner as junior high girls basketball coach. The board approved contracts for Julie Hawes as head varsity volleyball coach and Amy Peterson as assistant varsity volleyball coach.

The board then authorized the acceptance of bids for propane. A technology purchase was also discussed which involves moving toward 1:1 computer usage for middle school students. The purchase would also involve updating the computers that the high school currently has, updating office computers and some elementary computers. The board received two bids regarding the purchase consideration and the money for the purchase is available from sales tax funding. The board approved approximately $39,000 to purchase the recommended computer models.

The full-day Preschool Program was discussed. Principal Steckel presented material to the board about the requirements placed on the preschool program and how difficult it is to get through the curriculum in just three hours each day. He noted the majority of districts which have all-day preschools indicate that the full-day preschools have better educational results. He talked to 14 of the 16 parents involved in next year’s preschool, and all of the parents were receptive to the idea. They also felt it was a benefit instead of having to arrange for half-day daycare. Steckel suggested a schedule of four full days with one day off for the teacher to conduct professional development and teacher leadership.

Steckel also discussed the three-year-old program but noted the continuity is not guaranteed so he recommended only instituting a full-day program for four-year-olds at this time. He said this should help the kindergarten and first graders reach grade level achievements. Steckel noted that if parents want to have a child attend half a day, they have that option but transportation would be up to the parents.

Board members were in agreement that the full-day preschool is a benefit. Discussions centered on the need to charge tuition or not. Superintendent Crozier recommended a monthly tuition for nine months. If a family cannot afford the tuition, scholarships may be available through the HAWK program.
In personnel and compensation matters, the central office staff received the same percentage increase as the teachers. The following staff members received contracts for the upcoming year: Mary Hogan, High School Principal; Chad Steckel, Elementary School Principal; Michele Martin, Superintendent’s Administrative Assistant; Janet Heiderscheit, Business Manager; and Marian Verdon, Business Manager.

Principal Hogan asked the board to review the student handbook for next year. Hogan also explained to the board what field trips sixth, seventh and eighth grade students had taken during the year.

Principal Steckel said almost all of the elementary classes have had a field trip this year; many have gone to the Driftless Center.

Dr. Crozier discussed the food bank possibly using space at the former middle school. Darcy Pringle had emailed Superintendent Crozier that the food bank would be open Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. weekly. This schedule would minimize contact with any students in the same building. He is checking on the insurance situation and recommended that there be a minimal charge to cover the costs which may be incurred, such as an increase in utilities.

Superintendent Crozier suggested that rental charges for other groups need to be taken into consideration as well. Crozier asked the board to consider this suggestion to propose specifics at the June meeting. The board agreed with the concept and will consider other regulations at future meetings. Crozier said he would bring forth ideas which offer success for the food bank and protect the interests of the school.

Workman’s Compensation insurance is being reviewed for the school district. There will be some increase because of some on-the-job injuries. Crozier recommended staying a member of the Rural School Advocates ($750 membership) and Iowa School Financial Information Service (ISFIS) ($475 membership) organizations since both groups are lobbying groups for rural schools.

He said there will be a list of rules coming out about  emergency preparedness and about plans for safety scenarios. He believes the district is in good shape with its current plans. Crozier brought up the idea of including wrestling as an extra-curricular program by sharing with Waukon High School. Crozier also brought up the idea of day care in the district and said that may be worth exploring in the future since he feels it is a need in the area. He concluded that the administration is working on a two-year professional day shared with the MFL/MarMac School District.

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