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Legislative Priorities Adopted By Board

Fees, Bids Approved During June Meeting

June 27, 2017
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

Legislative priorities for the upcoming year were discussed and approved by the Emmetsburg Community School Board of Directors. The Board also approved bids for nutritional products and approved a lease-purchase agreement for a new school bus during its June meeting on Wednesday, June 21.

Every year, the Iowa Association of School Boards circulates a list of potential Legislative Priorities to school boards across the state. The local school boards are asked to identify their priorities from the list, or to submit suggestions, for the IASB's lobbyists to pursue during the upcoming Legislative session. For the coming year, the IASB suggested 30 possibilities for school boards to consider.

As the board members had received the priorities prior to Wednesday's meeting for study, Board President Tammy Naig asked each of the six members present to list their priorities from the master list. As each member listed their choices, they offered some brief remarks as to why they identified their priorities.

After tallying the priorities, the board agreed on five Legislative Priorities for the Emmetsburg Community School District.

One of the first priorities identified by the board was for the School Funding Policy. The priority would support a school foundation formula that provides sufficient and timely funding to meet educational goals; equalizes per-pupil funding; provides a funding mechanism for transportation costs that reduces the pressure on the general fund and addresses inequities between school districts.

The priority also supports the inclusion of factors based on changes in demographics, including socioeconomic status, remedial programming and enrollment challenges; incorporates categorical funding in the formula within three years and includes a mix of property taxes and state ait.

A second priority addresses Supplemental State Aid. The priority would support setting supplemental state aid. For the Fiscal year 2018, it asks that the supplemental state aid be set by the Legislature by January 31, 2017. For FY 2019 and future budget years, it asks that the Supplemental State Aid be set at least 14 months prior to the certification of the school district's budgets and also asks that the Supplemental State Aid be set at a rate that sufficiently supports local districts' efforts to plan, create and sustain world-class schools.

A third priority is Mental Health, which supports increased statewide access to and funding for mental health services for children.

The fourth priority identified by the board addresses Unfunded Mandates, opposing any new mandates that do not provide sufficient and sustainable funding for successful implementation.

Finally, the board identified a priority addressing the Statewide Penny Sales Tax, or SAVE(Secure an Advanced Vision for Education. The priority supports a repeal of the December 31, 2029 sunset on the statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure. The priority also supports preserveing the integrity of the statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure including the tax equity provisions in the following manner: No diversions or expansions of allowable uses prior to the current 2029 sunset date; and continued growth in the per pupil amount beyond the 2029 sunset date.

In other business, the board reviewed bids for bread and dairy products for the nutrition program for the coming school year. Upon recommendation of Deb Goeders, Nutrition Service Director, the board approved the bids of Okoboji Bake Shop for all bakery products and Anderson-Erickson Dairy for dairy products, the same suppliers as last year. Other bakery bids were received from Bimbo Bakeries of Sioux City and Dean Foods of LeMars.

The board also received information on vehicle purchases for the coming year. After leasing two Bluebird Vision school buses midway through the 2016-2017 school year from School Bus Sales of Waterloo, the board was offered an option to purchase one or two Bluebird Vision 65-passenger gasoline powered buses, or leasing options for the two vehicles.

Outright purchase price for one bus with $87,901, or two buses for $174,802. A three-year lease for one bus was $30,130.34, or $59,917.90 for two buses per year. A third option, leasing to own with a balloon payment, was also discussed.

"So far, we've been very pleased with the two gas buses we leased earlier this year,"?noted Joe Carter, K-12 Director of Programs. "I don't think I'd ever buy a bus outright again without leasing it first."

Board member Ed Meyer questioned the need for two large passenger buses, and wondered if a smaller capacity bus might be useful for the district. "I'd think we could get by with an 11 or 12 passenger van instead of a big bus."

After discussion, Carter agreed to look into a smaller passenger capacity bus and report back at the July meeting.

On a motion by Meyer that was seconded by Board Member Dan Chism, the board approved a lease to own with balloon payment in three years for one passenger Bluebird Vision gas bus. The motion was passed unanimously with Board member Jane Hoyman absent and not voting.

A second transportation recommendation from Superintendent Schmidt for the purchase of two Ford Expeditions, with prices of $46,775 and $45,975, from Emmetsburg Ford, was tabled by the board, in lieu of learning more about a smaller capacity bus. The issue will be re-addressed in the July meeting.

Hot lunch fees will rise by 10-cents for the coming school year for both lunch and breakfast, following a recommendation by the State Department of Education. Student Breakfasts will cost $1.30 and lunch will cost $2.70, following the board's approval.

In personnel matters, the board accepted the resignation of Lisa Jesperson as a custodian and Halie Cody as a Middle School Paraprofessional. Additionally, the resignation of Steven Pfaffle as Vocational Agriculture instructor/FFA?advisors at the conclusion of the first semester of the 2017-18 school year was accepted.

The board approved employment contracts for Whitney Kibbie as a Special Education/At Risk instructor and Roger Hankey as a bus route driver.

"Roger has consented to take over the town route that Jay (Sidles) drove last year," Schmidt explained. "This will allow Jay more time for maintenance duties on our buses and vehicles."

Also approved were contracts for Danielle Auten for Eighth Grade Girls Track; Arik Kerr for Seventh Grade football and Kari Kahl for Seventh Grade Volleyball.

The board also officially approved a waiver request for the Emmetsburg Community School District to offer Spanish III?and Spanish IV classes this coming year through the Iowa Online system, as no instructor has been found to fill the vacancy for the position.

A total of 34 students will be taking Spanish III in the coming school year, while 20 students will be taking Spanish IV.

The district is still searching for a High School Science instructor, and on a motion from Meyer, a pre-authorization to utilize Iowa Online for the science classes if need be for the coming year. The pre-authorization motion was approved unanimously by the board.



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