Mid-Prairie Community School District
Kalona, Wellman, West Chester
Mid-Prairie High School Gymnasium, Wellman, IA 52356
April 12, 2021 – 6:15 p.m.
President Jeremy Gugel called the meeting to order.
Board members present: Mary Allred, Denise Chittick, Gabrielle Frederick, Jeremy Gugel, Jodi Meader, Jeremy Pickard, and Marianne Schlabach.
Board members absent: None.
Also Present: Mark Schneider, Jeff Swartzentruber, Robin Foster, Rachel Kerns, Marc Pennington, Bill Poock, Amy Shalla, Frank Slabaugh, and Jay Strickland.
Gabrielle Frederick moved to adopt the agenda as presented. Seconded by Mary Allred. Motion carried 7-0.
High School Boys Varsity Basketball Trip to Kansas City
Varsity Basketball Coach Daren Lambert opened the discussion by providing a handout. Varsity Boys Basketball seeks approval from the Board to participate in a boys’ basketball event called “The 12 Courts of Christmas” to be played December 22nd in Kansas City Missouri at the Hy-Vee Arena. The costs of approximately $2,500 would be covered by fundraising to Boys Basketball Resale—they planned to start by asking for donations. The Board asked clarifying questions of Lambert and Hotz.
Update on Principal Searches
Superintendent Schneider provided an update on the search process for the Elementary School Principal and High School Principal Positions. Elementary School Principal: Interviews were conducted, Thursday, April 8, 2021 and finalist interviews were conducted on April 10, 2021. An offer has been extended pending School Board approval to Greg Jergens. This has been added to the Consent Agenda Items in the Business Session. High School Principal: Applications are still being accepted through April 15, 2021. The interview teams are being selected. The initial interview team meeting will be April 19th with interviews scheduled for April 26th.
Board Member and Administrator Dialogue
Bill Poock presented on the Preschool Program to the Board. Mid-Prairie Preschool has 3 teachers serving 3 and 4 year olds. There is one Alternative Kindergarten Teacher and six Paraprofessionals who also work in the program. Current students served are 14 3 year olds and 73 4 year old students. There are also 12 Alternative Kindergarten. 99 total students are enrolled in the program for this school year. The enrollment push is underway and will continue to for the next two weeks. The curriculum used is Creative Curriculum along with other curriculum developed by the teachers within their PLC Team. The focus is preparing students for Kindergarten for each age group. He discussed the Gold Objectives and Assessments as required by the State of Iowa. He provided some of the Literacy objectives as examples for the Board along with observation tools that are used by teachers. The Board expressed appreciation for the comprehensiveness of the program and how it prepares students for Kindergarten and beyond.
Board Development and Inservice Activities
Nothing to add at this time.
Announcements and Suggestions for Next Agenda
Agenda item moved to the end of the meeting.
Public Forum– 7:00 p.m.
Parents addressed the Board to express thanks for the work of the Board, then spoke in favor of removal of the mask policy currently in place for a number of reasons for the remainder of the current school year. Additional concerns expressed included: Concerns about the contact tracing and quarantine of students—how many students who were quarantined were then diagnosed with COVID-19? Is there a way to bend the rules and make masks optional within the school setting? Has there been consideration of the ISASP testing results because of the mask requirements—a recognition of the importance of the tests? Mental health issues related to masking were noted. The public forum ended at 7:37p.m. with the Public Hearings interspersed during this time at 7:15 pm. And 7:20 p.m. as noted below in the Finance Section.
Denise Chittick moved to approve the following consent items.
Minutes of Previous Meetings
The minutes of March 22, 2021;
The Finance Report for March 2021;
Payment of Bills
The bills as listed for April 12, 2021; Prepaid Bills; and Hills Bank ACH Transactions for March 2021;
Open Enrollment Requests
Laura Whitehall requests Hank Whitehall (Kindergarten), attend Mid-Prairie from English Valleys Community School District for the 2021-22 School Year;
Zach Williams and Skyler Winter request Dexter Williams (Kindergarten), attend Mid-Prairie from Iowa City Community School District for the 2021-22 School Year;
Matt and Sarah Stoutner request Quinn Stoutner (Kindergarten), attend Mid-Prairie from Keota Community School District for the 2021-22 School Year;
Andy and Deanne Townsend request Adin Townsend (Grade 3), Ahna Townsend (Grade 7), Andrew Townsend (Grade 11), Anthony Townsend (Grade 1), and Ashton Townsend (Grade 6), attend Mid-Prairie from Washington Community School District for the 2021-22 School Year;
Michaela Tinnes requests Milo Tinnes (Kindergarten) attend Mid-Prairie’s Home School Assistance Program from Keota Community School District for the 2021-22 School Year;
Lincoln Cobb requests Graecyn Cobb (Kindergarten) attend Mid-Prairie’s Home School Assistance Program from Washington Community School District for the 2021-22 School Year;
Tyler and Staci Friese request Carson Friese (Kindergarten) attend Keota Community School District from Mid-Prairie;
Contract issued to Greg Jergens, East Elementary Principal, $95,000 per annum to be begin August 1, 2021—this was added to the Consent Agenda by Superintendent Schneider;
Contract issued to Adrianna Pacha, High School English Teacher, $38,906 per annum to be updated to 2021-2022 rate at IBB settlement;
Contract issued to Mikayla Ulin, Middle School Art Teacher, $38,906 per annum to be updated to 2021-2022 rate at IBB settlement;
Contract issued to Jamie Clark, 7th Grade Girls Assistant Track Coach, $1,499.25 per season;
Contract issued to Aaron Fleming, 8th Grade Girls Assistant Track Coach, $2263.87 per season;
Resignation of Haley LeGrande, HS Special Education Teacher, $38,906 per annum, effective end of 2020-2021 Contract Year;
Resignation of Kara Beatty, HS Special Education Teacher, $42,275 per annum, effective end of 2020-2021 Contract Year;
Resignation of Jay Strickland, HS Principal, $121,980 per annum, effective end of 2020-2021 Contract Year;
Resignation of Gerry Beeler, Bus Driver, $25.69 per hour, effective April 23, 2021;
Mid-Prairie Baseball requests approval to raise funds by conducting a youth baseball camp between May 7th and May 14th for the purchase of equipment, supplies, and coaches apparel;
Home School Assistance Program Roots and Shoots group requests approval to raise funds with free will donations through the Spring Annual Flower Fundraiser, Fall Mum Fundraiser and other related activities involving plants and growing between April of 2021 to April of 2022 for sustainability of greenhouse activities to provide growing and learning opportunities for Home School students and families;
Class of 2023 requests approval to raise funds during the Grand March on April 24th by freewill donation for Prom expenses for Spring of 2022.
Mary Allred seconded the motion. Motion carried 7-0.
High School Boys Varsity Basketball Trip to Kansas City
Superintendent Schneider and Board President Gugel asked if there were any questions from the Work Session.
Jeremy Pickard moved to approve the Boys Basketball participation in the event on December 22, 2021 to Kansas City Missouri. Mary Allred seconded the motion. Motion carried 7-0.
District Mask Policy
President Gugel opened the Board discussion by asking for comments. Board members discussed the current rule/policy and approach, as well as the current situation and data within the District. One of the largest issues is the necessity to quarantine if the Washington County Health Department Guidelines are followed. There were opinions expressed in favor of making masks optional—noting that students and staff are out and about the community without masks. Recognition that the no matter what decision is made, there are those in the community who will not be pleased. The original decision to implement the mask policy was not made in fear, but to assure that students could stay in school.
Marianne Schlabach moved to leave the current District Mask Policy in place for the remainder of the 2020-2021 School Year. Gabrielle Frederick Seconded the motion. Motion failed 3-4 with Jeremy Pickard, Mary Allred, Jodi Meader, and Jeremy Gugel voting against the motion.
Mary Allred moved to make masks optional and return to mandatory masks for a building when the building positive COVID sickness rate is 2.5% on a 7 day rolling average basis. Jodi Meader seconded the motion. Motion failed 3-4 with Marianne Schlabach, Jeremy Pickard, Gabrielle Frederick, and Denise Chittick voting against the motion.
Jeremy Pickard moved to make masks highly recommended for students and staff at East Elementary, West Elementary, Mid-Prairie Middle School and the Home School Education Center and return to mandatory masks by building if the 7-day rolling average in a building is 3% or higher of COVID Positive, COVID Quarantined, and Other Illness as counted among students beginning April 26, 2021. Denise Chittick seconded the motion. Motion Carried 4-3 with Gabrielle Frederick, Mary Allred, and Marianne Schlabach voting against the motion.
Mary Allred moved to make masks highly recommended for students and staff at Mid-Prairie High School and return to mandatory masks in the building if the 7-day rolling average in a building is 3% or higher of COVID Positive, COVID Quarantined, and Other Illness as counted among students beginning April 26, 2021. Jodi Meader seconded the motion. Motion Carried 4-3 with Marianne Schlabach, Jeremy Gugel, and Gabrielle Frederick voting against the motion.
Denise Chittick moved to require mandatory masks in school vehicles if any school building in the District is 3% or higher of COVID Positive, COVID Quarantined, and Other Illness as counted among students and staff beginning April 26, 2021. Mary Allred seconded the motion. Motion carried 7-0.
7:15pm Public Hearing on the 2021-22 Certified Budget
President Gugel opened the floor for the Public Hearing to allow for input on the Certified Budget for 2021-2022 School Year. This was published in the local paper on March 25, 2021, and April 1, 2021. No one spoke from the public. Gugel closed the public hearing at 7:16 p.m.
Approve the 2021-22 Certified Budget
Superintendent Schneider and Business Manager Swartzentruber recommended the Board approve the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year Budget for filing to the Washington Auditors Office and Iowa Department of Management by April 15, 2021.
Gabrielle Frederick moved to approve the 2021-22 Certified Budget as presented. Jodi Meader seconded the motion.
7:20pm Public Hearing on the 2020-21 Budget Amendment
President Gugel opened the floor for the Public Hearing to allow for input on the 2020-2021 Budget Amendment. This was published in the local paper on March 25, 2021, and April 1, 2021. The Amendment addresses the additional expenses incurred in this Fiscal Year related to COVD-19 Relief Funds. No one spoke from the public. Gugel closed the public hearing at 7:21 p.m.
Approve the 2020-21 Budget Amendment
Superintendent Schneider and Business Manager Swartzentruber recommended the Board approve the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year Budget Amendment filing to the Iowa Department of Management.
Gabrielle Frederick moved to approve the 2020-21 Budget Amendment as presented. Denise Chittick seconded the motion. Motion carried 7-0.
Redemption of 2014 General Obligation School Bonds and Approval of the Levying of Property Tax for Fiscal Year 2021-22 for the Redemption.
Superintendent Schneider recommends a continuation of the use of an Additional Debt Levy to pay off bonds more quickly to save interest costs and improve the prospects of future bond issues by opening more levy room for property taxes. The current maximum levy is $2.70. This Year, Fiscal Year 2021, was the third year for the additional levy and resolution where the District levied $580,000 additional funds for debt service to be paid in July of 2021—a three-year total of $1,430,000. This will save the District $576,800 in interest over four years. The resolution presented for approval tonight is for $680,000 additional Debt Levy for Fiscal Year 2022. It will save the District $148,225 of interest. The resolution is recommended for approval and will maximize the Debt Service Levy at $2.695, of which $1.25 is the additional Debt Service Levy.
Marianne Schlabach moved to approve the Resolution authorizing the redemption of General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2014, dated August 1, 2014, approving a fourth amendment to escrow an amended and substituted Paying Agent, Bond Registrar and Transfer Agent Agreement, and Levying a tax for Fiscal Year 2021-22 for the redemption of General Obligation School Bonds, Series 2014, dated August 1, 2014 in the amount of $680,000. Denise Chittick seconded the motion.
Roll Call Vote: Gabrielle Frederick - yes
Mary Allred - yes
Jodi Meader - yes
Jeremy Pickard - yes
Marianne Schlabach - yes
Jeremy Gugel - yes
Denise Chittick - yes
Motion carried 7-0.
Completion of Unfinished Work Session Items
There were no unfinished items from the Work Session section of the meeting.
Announcements and Suggestions for Next Agenda
The next regular Board meeting will be on Monday, April 26, 2021, at 6:15 p.m. at the Central Office Community Room. Superintendent Schneider announced that the Interest Based Bargaining Team reached a tentative agreement for a compensation package for the 2021-2022 School Year at their meeting earlier this afternoon. MPEA/MPESSA are preparing to take the agreement to the Association for a vote. Once ratified by the Association, there will be a Special Board Meeting within the next week to approve the agreement, and then contracts and work agreements can be prepared for staff signature.
The meeting adjourned at 8:35p.m.