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December 14, 2020

Mid-Prairie Community School District

Kalona, Wellman, West Chester

Mid-Prairie Central Office Community Room, Wellman, IA  52356

December 14, 2020 – 6:15 p.m.


President Jeremy Gugel called the meeting to order.

Board members present:   Mary Allred, Jeremy Gugel, Jodi Meader, and Marianne Schlabach.

Board members absent:  Denise Chittick, Gabrielle Frederick, Jeremy Pickard.

Also Present:  Mark Schneider, Jeff Swartzentruber, Robin Foster, Rachel Kerns, Marc Pennington, Bill Poock, Amy Shalla, Frank Slabaugh, and Jay Strickland.

Jodi Meader moved to adopt the agenda as presented.  Seconded by Mary Allred.  Motion carried 4-0.


Virtual Academy Presentation

Frank Slabaugh, Principal for the Mid-Prairie Virtual Academy, presented on the new Virtual Academy.  In particular, he focused on an overview of the web-based software and then moved to what a Virtual Academy lesson looks like to a High School student.  The Board asked questions for clarification and selected details.  The Board thanked Slabaugh for his work in Virtual Academy.

2020 Spring Fine Arts New York Trip

Choir Director Collette McClellan discussed the Spring of 2020 Fine Arts Trip to New Your City.  The trip did not take place due to conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Board delayed the trip last Spring.  Refunds—not yet issued--are possible to some extent but not 100%.  Refunds will most likely be a percentage of the total fees paid if the trip is cancelled.  It is estimated that 100 students were signed up to participate in the trip.  Postponing to June of 2021 would require allowing two graduated classes to participate and brings additional complications.  As COVID-19 conditions continue, it is becoming nearly impossible or practical to reschedule the trip in a near future timeframe.  Until the trip is officially cancelled, a reimbursement of parental/student/family payments cannot be made.  The Board asked clarifying questions.

High School Physical Education Exemption for Block Scheduling

Superintendent Schneider introduced and explained the Chapter 12 Waiver for High School PE. The District meets the requirements for in class minutes but not the day’s requirement because of the Block Scheduling of classes for students.  As a result, an exemption needs to be applied for so students meet the requirements.  It is requested that the Board approve the application for the exemption.

Board Member and Administrator Dialogue

The buildings have been doing well.  The COVID numbers have not surged post-Thanksgiving as could have been anticipated.  The Board expressed appreciation to the staff and administrators for the hard work and great work that is being accomplished in the very abnormal conditions.

Board Development and Inservice Activities

The Board reported on the Virtual IASB Annual Conference sessions.  It was noted that this format was quite different and challenging.

Announcements and Suggestions for Next Agenda

The next regular Board meeting will be on Monday, January 11, 2021, at 6:15 p.m. at the Central Office Community Room.  Agenda items to include:  Discussion about continuing the Wednesday Early Out in the Second Semester, Series 500 First Reading, and Bus Bid acceptance.


Public Forum– 7:00 p.m.

No one spoke.

Consent Items

Marianne Schlabach moved to approve the following consent items.

Minutes of Previous Meetings

The minutes of November 23, 2020;

Finance Report

The Finance Report for November, 2020;

Payment of Bills

The bills as listed for December 14, 2020; Prepaid Bills; and Hills Bank ACH Transactions for the Month ended November 30, 2020;

Open Enrollment Requests

Seth and Amber Talbot request Tristan Talbot (Grade 1) attend Mid-Prairie’s Home School Assistance Program from Fairfield Community School District for the 2020-21 School Year;

Kenton and Kidron Miller request Mateo Miller (Kindergarten) and Mira Miller (Grade 4) attend Mid-Prairie’s Home School Assistance Program from Washington Community School District for the 2020-21 School Year;

Personnel Items

Contract issued to Kevin Cortum, 7th Grade Boys Basketball Coach, $2,267.00 per Season;

Fundraising Requests

MP Wrestling requests approval to raise funds through the sale of Poured Soy Candles from November 23rd to December 4th for the payment of volunteer coaches, coaches’ apparel, state tournament expenses and helping with the costs of a new wrestling room;

HS Prom Committee requests approval to raise funds through the sale of cloth masks in January and February of 2021 for purchase of decorations for Prom activities;

Approval of HSAP Graduate – Tyler Yoder is approved as a December 2020 High School Graduate of the Mid-Prairie Home School Assistance Program.

Jodi Meader seconded the consent items.  Motion carried 4-0.

Student Learning

High School Physical Education Exemption for Block Scheduling

Superintendent Schneider/Board President Gugel asked if there were any further questions from the early Work Session agenda item.  As stated in the Work Session, it is recommended that the board approve the application for the exemption.  The public was given an opportunity at this meeting for comment—no comments were brought to the Board. 

Jodi Meader moved to approve proceeding with the application of Exemption of the Chapter 12 Physical Education due to the fact that our high school has block scheduling.  Mary Allred seconded the motion.    Motion carried 4-0.

Early Separation Incentive for 2020-2021

Superintendent Schneider noted that an early retirement incentive was offered last fiscal year to both licensed and classified staff.  He recommends consideration to offer an early separation incentive for the current school year.  He explained the positive and conversely the detrimental effects of offering this incentive, especially two years in a row.  He explained the turnover savings calculations for both certified staff (teachers) and classified staff (hourly) at an individual position basis.  The recommended incentive for 2020-21 includes a monthly benefit of $655 for health insurance through age 65 for Certified Staff. Additionally, a Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA) for both Certified Staff and Classified Staff will be offered based on the number of unused Sick Days, however, the latter would be at differing rates depending on classified staff positions.

Mary Allred moved to offer an Early Separation Incentive the 2020-2021 School Year to licensed and classified staff members with the program stipulations and benefits as presented.  Jodi Meader seconded the motion.    Motion carried 4-0.

2020 Spring Fine Arts New York Trip

Superintendent Schneider/Board President Gugel asked if there were any further questions.  As stated in the Work Session, it is recommended that the board approve the official cancellation of the New York Fine Arts Trip.  The Board noted the very limited options given the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jodi Meader moved to cancel the Fine Arts trip to New York that was originally scheduled for Spring Break in March 2020.  Mary Allred seconded the motion.    Motion carried 4-0.

Superintendent Commitment Statement

Superintendent Schneider shared the document that is normally presented for discussion and signatures by the Board and Superintendent the meeting after completing the Superintendent Annual Evaluation.   This document signals the Board’s intention, not legally binding, to extend a contract, or not, for the next School Year—2021-2022.  The document was circulated and signed by Board members present and by Superintendent Schneider.

Work Session

Completion of Unfinished Work Session Items

There were no unfinished items from the Work Session section of the meeting.


Nothing added from earlier in the meeting.


The meeting adjourned at 7:16 p.m.