Numerous personnel moves were approved by the Emmetsburg Community School Board during its March meeting Wednesday, March 19. Among the actions taken was the hiring of a new high school vocal music director.
"I would recommend the hiring of Luke Miller for the 7-12 vocal music position," Superintendent John Joynt told the board members to start the discussions. "He is an Ida Grove native, graduate of Iowa State and has taught five years at Ruthven-Ayrshire and three years at Alta-Aurelia, as well as some time at Okoboji and Armstrong-Ringsted."
In his recommendation, Joynt also proposed hiring Miller at step 11 of the master contract. Miller will replace Dave Fog, who elected to take early retirement after over 30 years of service to the district.
Joynt then recommended the transfer of Randy Olson from his current Middle School Special Ed position to the Elementary Title I position, as well as the transfer of Deena Fries from her current high school Special Education position to the Middle School position vacated by Olson's transfer.
Additionally, Joynt recommended board approval of a plan to allow Missy Birkey one year off from her seventh grade volleyball coaching assignment, with Molly Rodemeyer to assume the duties for the coming year.
Resignations were tendered by Erin Siefken from her Individual Speech contract, as well as from Randy Nosbisch from his Vocational Agriculture and FFA positions and Amy Ripperger from her Spanish and Computer duties.
On a motion from board member Kim Campbell with a second from board member Rick Bird, the hirings and transfers were approved on a 5-0 vote of the board with members Tammy Naig and Scott Kibbie absent and not voting. Erin Siefken's resignation was accepted, pending suitable replacement, while the resignations of Nosbisch and Ripperger were also accepted, with letters of appreciation for their service to be sent on behalf of the board.
In other business, after a public hearing that drew no comments from the public and a review of the proposed budget by Joynt, the board approved the final budget for the coming school year, which features a budget spending authority of $9.756,430.
"That number is a little misleading," Joynt noted. "We have the authority, by law, to spend up to that amount, but our actual budget will be more around the $7,700,000 amount."
To fund that amount, the final tax rate per $1,000 of taxable valuation will be set at $11.39825, which is down from the current year's $11,97 rate.
"Basically, our tax rate went down because our enrollment stayed pretty much the same while our property values went up," Joynt explained to close the discussion.
The board learned that work on the new additions to West Elementary are "on schedule" according to Joynt.
"They tell us they're on schedule, and I told them we're moving in this summer," Joynt said, noting that brickwork on the exterior of the structure is continuing and that sheetrock work is underway in the office area. Roofing work also continues on the structure.
"There was some water damage to the ceiling in the fourth grade room and a bit to a third grade room," Joynt noted, "but they addressed that very quickly."
"What about mold from the water damage?" asked Board President BJ Schany.
"They got heaters in those rooms right away and dried them out," Joynt said. "They have checked and found nothing and the architect is also keeping an eye on the situation."
As far as coverage for the damage, Joynt noted that the architect and contractor are handling the issue. "It should be covered," Joynt assured the board.
Another item of discussion revolved around a list of potential projects for the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy fund. Currently, ongoing or projected work includes carpeting in the high school, carpeting at West Elementary, painting the high school gym, the alternative high school lease and the purchase of a new route bus.
"Something we need to take a look at are the lockers in the boys' locker room," Joynt told the board. "Tom Griffin informed me we have the wrong kind of lockers in there; we need to have the open style."
Joynt noted that during football season, players' equipment is placed in closed lockers and does not get a chance to air out, creating odor issues.
"We need to look at some improvements there and in the girls' locker room, such as a white board for their half-time meetings, and such," Joynt added.