A proposed policy regarding support of students qualifying for national competition or events was discussed during the April meeting of the Emmetsburg Community School District's Board of Education. The meeting was held Monday, April 14, due to scheduling conflicts for several board members on the normal Wednesday, April 16 date.
Superintendent John Joynt began the discussion on the proposed policy for student performances, which originally came about following the qualification of a group of students for the National History Day competition in the nation's capitol last school year. The question of the district's financial support for such special opportunities had been raised and the board decided a set policy needed to be developed to address the concern.
In the proposed policy, it is noted that performances by students below the high school level should be allowed on a very limited basis, but also that all groups of students should have the opportunity to participate and that extensive travel by one group of students should be discouraged.
Under the policy, the superintendent would exercise discretion as to whether the event would be beneficial to the educational programs of the district and the participating students. Any contest not approved by the superintendent would become the responsibility of the students and their parents.
The proposed policy calls for individuals and groups qualifying for regional, national or international academic events to receive $500 from the district in financial support.
"We have talked about this over the past few months, and I wanted to get something in front of you to look at and consider," Joynt told the board members. "You can review this and we can take action on it if you wish next month."
Joynt also informed the board that a budget amendment hearing will need to be conducted in May. "We are going to need to adjust our budget to reflect the West Elementary building project. First, we overestimated the cost of the wall in the old library, which will result in a savings, but we are also looking at putting new ceiling tiles in the third grade rooms, as well as repairing the water damage in the fourth grade room."
According to Joynt, the water damage to the ceiling, while being covered by insurance, would not amount to much of a payment from the carrier, in the opinion of the architect for the project, since the contractor addressed the damage as soon as possible.
"The primary reason we need to adjust the budget is that over a year ago, back in February and March of 2013, we had to put together a budget, making estimates to the end of the current year 2013 and then estimate into the new year 2014," Joynt explained. "We just didn't estimate enough funding for the work at West in the 2013-14 school year, and because some of the funding is from the general fund, we will need to amend the budget to show that expense."
Joynt noted that paying the contractor for the building project's progress would put the district over its' published budget amount for the current year, but that the payments do not represent overspending on the project. "I just underestimated in which fiscal year the bills would come due. That's why we need to amend that portion of the budget."
Joynt also gave the board some items for summer capital improvement project consideration, with funding coming from the district's Physical Plant and Equipment Levy.
"We'd like to do some work in the main girls locker room, adding a white board and epoxy flooring and in the main boys' locker room, we'd like to install new lockers to address air quality. Mr. Griffin would like to replace the floor scrubber for the High School and Middle School, which would be in the range of $10,000 as well," Joynt said. "We'd like to expend less than $100,000 on our summer projects, because other things do pop up during the year."
The board approved a pair of personnel actions, starting with the approval of Ryan Jensen as a volunteer baseball coach, and the acceptance of a resignation from Jessica Cedar as Freshman Volleyball Coach. The board then approved the recommendation of Athletic Director Joe Carter to name Jessica Cedar as the Assistant Varsity Volleyball Coach for the coming season.
Athletic sharing arrangements for swimming with Algona and soccer with Spencer were also approved without comment by the board.
The board was also updated on the status of negotiations between the district and its' education association.
"We have tentatively settled on a four percent increase to the total package for our certified staff," Joynt explained. "We have also agreed to some additions to the Master Contract dealing with Peer Review and Collaboration time as requested by the association."
The board approved the tentative agreement unanimously, with members Scott Kibbie and Rick Bird absent and not voting.