Mid-Prairie Community School District
Kalona, Wellman, West Chester
Mid-Prairie Central Office Community Room, Wellman, IA 52356
April 28, 2018 – 8:00 a.m.
President Jeremy Pickard called the special meeting to order.
Board members present: Denise Chittick, Gabrielle Frederick, Jim Hussey, Jodi Meader, Jeremy Pickard, George Schaefer, and Marianne Schlabach.
Board members absent: None.
Also Present: Mark Schneider, Jeff Swartzentruber
Marianne Schlabach moved to adopt the agenda as presented. Seconded by Jodi Meader. Motion carried 7-0.
Board Chair Jeremy Pickard opened the meeting with an explanation of the process for the meeting.
Board Chair Pickard invited Mr. Trent Yoder made an announcement. Yoder introduced himself and the history of his conviction and a bit of his family history. He followed with a history of the process. He covered the history of his volunteering within the school. Formally announced that he will not volunteer in any school events for the remainder of the school year. He clarified the Kalona Spelling Club as not a part of Mid-Prairie.
Discussion of Policies and Procedures relating to Volunteers and Community Organizations
Board Chair Pickard discussed the need for procedures. He referenced policy 903.2 Community Resources and the logical process that needs to be followed by the board.
Superintendent Mark Schneider thanked the public for coming today. He referenced policies 903.2, 903.3, 905.1 as some others that will still need to be identified by Administrators and Board Members. He referenced the background check process and commented on the process. What school sponsored activities will require a background check? He provided examples of situations to consideration. He then discussed Non-School Sponsored or Sanctioned Activities or Distributing Information, what’s included? Should the Mid-Prairie name or logo be allowed for use on these Non-School Sponsored activities, including club athletic teams for children in our community? Should the District distribute information for these Non-School Sponsored activities?
Pickard opened the discussion to the Board. It was noted that in addition to the identification of the Non-School Sponsored, we need to identify the larger group of stakeholders, not just in the District but outside the District—adults, students, staff, board—broadly defined. It was again noted the difference between Board Policy and Administrative regulations. Context is also important in making a decisions.
Pickard noted that it takes two readings of a Policy before it can be implemented.
Consider Appointment of Committee to Review and Develop Policies
Board Chair Pickard discussed the history of committees at Mid-Prairie. He recommended to the Administration that a committee be convened. He then opened this up to discussion. There were affirmations. It was noted that there needs to be expediency to this situation in a quick timeline. It was suggested prior to the start of the Fall School Year. Policies we have now are the policies that are in place through the remainder of this school year.
Discuss Status of T. Yoder as volunteer
Board Chair Pickard noted that this item is slightly changed based upon Mr. Yoder’s announcement at the beginning of the meeting. Pickard then discussed the timeline the Board used this week up to the point of this meeting. He started with Monday evening’s closed session and moved through the events of the week up to this morning. He noted that School Board’s role is not to be a part of the day to day operations. Day to day operations are the responsibility of the Superintendent and administration. Pickard read and discussed Board Policies 200.3, 204, including delegation to Superintendent. He then opened the floor to the Board and Schneider to share their thoughts. It was clarified that Yoder’s statement is through the end of the School Year. It was recommended by a Board Member that the Board and Superintendent reserve the right to reinstate Mr. Yoder beyond the School Year’s end. Mr. Yoder is not dictating the timeline. The Board recommends the timeline be at a minimum by the time of implementation of a new policy, if at all. Thoughts of the role of the Board and the role of the Superintendent were discussed. Affirmations for Schneider and the Administration were expressed by some of the Board Members.
Superintendent Schneider then read the following public statement:
To the School Board Members, Staff Members, Parents and Community Members of the Mid-Prairie Community School District –
A decision I made in 2015 concerning the volunteer status of Trent Yoder has greatly divided the Mid-Prairie community. For this I apologize. While I have enjoyed my 30-year career as a Mid-Prairie Teacher, Elementary Principal, and Superintendent, in order for me to help work toward a resolution to this issue and the other important issues facing this district, I need the support of the school board, school staff, parents and community.
Therefore, at the May 14th Mid-Prairie School Board Meeting, I will ask the School Board to take a vote of “confidence” or “no confidence” as it relates to my superintendent responsibilities.
The time between now and May 14 will allow the School Board the opportunity to gather staff member, parent, and community opinion about my future effectiveness. Obviously, the public is welcome to attend this meeting.
If the result is a vote of “no confidence,” I will immediately submit my resignation effective June 30, 2018. While I am not quite ready for retirement, I will leave with no hard feelings looking forward to having more time to properly spoil my grandchildren.
The meeting adjourned at 8:54 a.m.