ACSD Board of Directors hears updates, takes action on personnel and a variety of other matters in preparation for upcoming school year

by Brianne Eilers

The Allamakee Community School District (ACSD) Board of Directors met Wednesday, June 30 for a brief special meeting. The following personnel were approved: Kaia Piggott as Payroll Secretary, Andy Reichard as Technology Director, George Farning as Custodian, Carley Sweeney as volleyball volunteer coach and Lori Jacobs as West Elementary Secretary. The board also approved an amendment to the Foodservice Administrative Assistant contract and accepted the resignation of Bailey Roth from her paraprofessional position.

Under new business, the board members approved an increase from $105/day to $115/day for certified substitute teacher pay. The meeting was then adjourned.

The ACSD Board met for its regular monthly meeting Monday, July 19. Board member Scott Melcher was absent.

Under the Consent Agenda in personnel matters, the following recommendations were approved: Matt Teslow as bus driver, Karrie Zidlicky as substitute bus driver, Jarod Dahlstrom and Cody Snitker as volunteer football coaches, Mary Berns as cook, and After School Program staff. The board also accepted the resignation of Jackie Johnson from her paraprofessional position.

There were three open enrollments out of the school district that were approved. The board also approved an agreement with Chileda in La Crosse, WI for student attendance, as well as cooperative agreements for swimming with Decorah High School and wrestling with Kee High School.

ACSD will be renewing the Backpack Program that offers meals and snacks sent home with eligible students for the 2021-2022 school year. The board also approved the Free and Reduced School Meals Policy, as well as an agreement with Johnson Controls Service.

During the Communications time of the meeting, the board reviewed the Vehicle and Facility Usage summary reports. Board President Al Rissman noted that the reports are put together by Pat Klinge, and he said she does a very good job with that. The total number of miles for the 2020-2021 school year on the district’s suburbans, car and van was 12,514 miles. The total amount of money received by the district for school facility usage during the 2019-2020 school year was $225.

In his Superintendent’s Report, Jay Mathis noted that Andy Reichard began as Technology Director and Kaia Piggott began as Payroll Secretary earlier that same day as the meeting. Mathis also reported that Jess Keenan has met with kitchen staff in her new capacity as Food Service Director. He also noted that progress is being made on summer projects.

The new buses the district ordered should be delivered soon, and Mathis noted that the district will need to replace a van and suburban this year, as well as purchase a new bus. Mathis also advised that he is waiting on guidance from the Department of Education and the district’s administrative team and Professional Learning Community (PLC) teams regarding projects being paid for by Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. He and district buildings and grounds director Bill Hennessy will meet with Vic Amorosa of A&J Associates engineering firm to discuss Amorosa’s recommendations in regard to such projects.

In his report, Transportation Director Andrew Eberling also noted that the new school buses are being finished up and should be delivered soon. He asked to keep the family of district bus driver Kenny Lough in thoughts and prayers following his sudden passing, noting that Lough did a lot of things around the bus barn and will be missed. Eberling also stated that the summer has been a busy one with activities and also getting buses cleaned and repaired to be ready for the new school year.

Buildings and Grounds Director Bill Hennessy reported that the custodial staff is working on cleaning the rooms and floors. Summer projects are moving along too. He noted that the middle school gym floor should be getting waxed in the next couple of weeks.

Under new business, the board approved updates to the Staff Policies and Administrative Rules and the Certified Staff Handbook. The board members then discussed what their selections would be for the Iowa Association of School Board legislative priorities. Ultimately, the board members decided that mental health, Supplemental State Aid, standards and accountability, and teacher recruitment and licensure would be their choices for this year.

The board approved Jess Keenan’s suggested increases in hours for existing staff. In her recommendation, Keenan explained that this would allow the department to cover hours without hiring additional staff. A bid from Casper Plumbing and Heating in the amount of $54,483 was approved for a dust collection system. Mathis noted that ESSER Funds can be used to pay for the system.

The board approved two foreign exchange students, one from the Philippines and one from Egypt, for the next school year. The board also approved a bid from Dakota Hawes for snow removal at the cost of $90/hour.

The final item before adjournment was the approval of the first reading of several board policies: 200.3 - Responsibilities of the Board of Directors 206.1 - President; 206.2 - Vice President; 213 - Public Participation in Board Meetings; 213.1 -Public Complaints; 302.5 - Superintendent Evaluations; 303.6 - Administrator Evaluation; 401.14 - Employee Expression; 412.3 - Classified Employee Group Insurance Benefits; 501.14 - Open Enrollment Transfers-Procedures as a Sending District; 501.15 - Open Enrollment Transfers-Procedures as a Receiving District; 502.3 - Student Expression and Student Publications; 502.3R1 - Student Expression and Student Publications Code; 504.3 – Student Publications; 504.3R1 - Student Publications Code; 505.5 - Graduation Requirements; 603.6 - Physical Education; 604.1 - Private Instruction; 606.2 - School Ceremonies and Observances; 701.2 - Transfer of Funds; 711.2 - Student Conduct on School Transportation; 711.2R2 - Recording Devices on Student Transportation; 803.1 - Disposition of Obsolete Equipment; 804.6 - Use of Recording Devices on School Property; 804.6R1 - Use of District Owned Recording Devices on District Property Regulation; 905.3 - Weapons in the School District.