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Emmetsburg School Board Approve 2019-2020 Budget, Restructuring for Administration Approved

By Staff | Mar 26, 2019

by Anesa McGregor

With approximately two dozen staff and faculty on hand for the regular hearing of the Emmetsburg Board of Education, the Board looked at several items for approval on Wednesday. March 20.

Superintendent Amanda Schmidt, reviewed the proposed budget and explained how the budget was figured in length. The proposed tax rate (per $1,000 taxable valuation) has been set at $11.97183 for fiscal year 2019-2020. This is one tenth of a percent higher than fiscal year 2018-2019. In a roll call vote, Hoyman, Dietrich, Brennan, Meyer, Chism and Roethler voted aye, with Kibbie voting nay.

Along with the proposed FY 2019-2020 budget, the School Board, in a roll call vote, unanimously approved a Budget Guarantee for FY 2019-2020. This resolution states that the School Board will levy property tax for fiscal year 2019-2020 for the regular program budget adjustment as allowed under Section 257.14 of the Code of Iowa.

The Code of Iowa says that school districts with declining enrollments may receive additional funds that guarantee that the current fiscal year’s total regular program district cost is equal to the previous year’s regular district cost.

This is a guarantee that is enrollment is lower than projected, the school has the ability to obtain dollar amounts needed to equal the prior year’s program district cost.

The School Board also held a public hearing on the FY 2019-2020 Academic Calendar and unanimously approved it as follows:

August 16 will be the day for new teachers with August 20 being the first day for all teachers. The students will begin school on August 23. Winter break for students is tentatively December 23 through January 2, with the Easter holiday scheduled for April 10 through 15. April 14 and 15 are built in as snow make up days. The last day of the FY 2019-2020 school year is scheduled for May 22.

Administrative restructuring was looked at based on the recommendation by Schmidt following a Wednesday, May 13 work session meeting where staff was given the opportunity to give their thoughts and viewpoints on staffing.

The decision to restructure came sooner than expected and was based on financial projections and the vacancy of the elementary principal position.

The following recommendation is for a one year transition for Mr. Hanna so he can decide what will best benefit the students and staff of the district in the years to come. The plan recommended by Schmidt is a Superintendent/Elementary Principal, a Middle School Principal, and a High School Principal.

The administrative structure of 3.0 full time employees with the duties for the structure being decided by Mr. Hanna and the current administration was unanimously approved.

Schmidt also submitted a sports sharing agreement with Spencer. The district has a student that would like to play tennis. All expenses for the participation will be incurred by the student. The Board gave unanimous approval.

Bids were taken on the IH tractor the district is selling. The district received four sealed bids as follows: $6,150; $6,500; $8,150; and $5,611. School Board Director Dan Chism asked who the bids were from but was not given an answer.

The motion was made to accept the bid of $8,150. In a roll call vote, Kibbie, Dietrich, Brennan, Hoyman, Roethler, and Meyer voted aye, with Chism voting nay.

Chism stated he would not vote for something without all information.

Schmidt recommended the approval of a contract to Ashley Stein as a First Grade teacher. Unanimous approval was given.

Schmidt also recommend the approval of the following resignations: Joe Carter- Elementary Prinicpal/Director of Programs/ Assistant Football Coach, Roger Jespersen – Custodian/ Groundskeeper, Cathy Waugh – Cook, Jamie Kruger – High School Counselor, Maria Riemers – High School Spanish, and Allison Hartwig – High School Math. Unanimous approval was given.

Area resident Bruce Nelson was on hand for public comment during the school board meeting to discuss playing games with balls on the hill during events.

“I would like to start a discussion about the current policy about playing with balls during Friday night football games on top of the hill,” Nelson began. “The current policy is no balls allowed on top of the hill during games. Some of my best memories growing up were on top of that hill.

“I want my kids to imitate the kids on the field,” Nelson continued. “I really feel something is missing. I know that some of the reason the current policy was created is because parents were dropping kids off and leaving and the liability of it.”

Nelson stated how fun it was to imitate the players that were on the field and the action going on. He feels that it is in the best interest of everyone if kids were imitating the football players. It’s the players on the field the kids look up to and want to be like when they get older.

“I feel the pros outweigh the cons by allowing kids to play on the hill,” Nelson said. ” I would like to suggest another supervisor or parent volunteer to watch the kids to prevent any issues or liability problems. I hope to get a conversation started about this policy and see if we can find a way to rewrite it.”

Discussion moved on to the purchasing of a new bus.

“I would like to remind the Board that the current activity bus is 12 years old,” Schmidt said.

“I would like to add that the district has spent between $15,000 and $22,000 in repairs for this bus in the last four years,” Lisa Chapman, Board Secretary stated.

Three bids were received from School Bus Sales for $114,341; Thomas Bus Sales for $111,023; and from Hoglund Bus for $117,897.

According to Schmidt, the norm is to keep activity buses longer; however, with the repair costs so far, it will only get worse.

Jay Sidles, Transportation Supervisors, recommended the Blue Bird from School Bus Sales or IC from Hoglund Bus.

Unanimous approval was given to purchase the Blue Bird bus from School Bus Sales for $114,341. It will be used for all activities and is a larger bus for this purpose.

Mr. Embrock spoke to the board regarding events and activities for the high school.

Students will be taking the Iowa Statewide Assessments of Student Progress (ISASP) the week of March 26, Future Camp will be working with students for three days, and the National Honor Society/ Academic Awards Ceremonies are be held on March 25 at The Shores.

Mrs. Christensen discussed events and activities in the Middles School.

The Middle School Showcase was on March 12 and attendance was down, they are hoping, due to weather.

Iowa State Extension Office created a day of activities for Seventh and Eighth Grade boys on March 14. Topics covered dealt with leadership.

The Seventh and Eighth Grade girls attended the STEM Festival at ILCC on March 14. It was a great opportunity to see what opportunities are available. Mr. Carter discussed the Elementary school. He showed a difference that has been made by transitioning to all day preschool.

The next School Board meeting will be April 17.