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November 13, 2017

Mid-Prairie Community School District

Kalona, Wellman, West Chester

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

November 13, 2017 – 7:00 p.m.


President Jeremy Pickard called the meeting to order.

Board members present:   Denise Chittick, Gabrielle Frederick, Jim Hussey (arrived at 7:16pm), Jodi Meader, Jeremy Pickard, George Schaefer, and Marianne Schlabach.

Board members absent:  None [Jim Hussey at beginning of meeting –arrived at 7:16pm].

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

Marianne Schlabach moved to adopt the agenda as presented.  Seconded by Jodi Meader.  Motion carried 6-0.

Public Forum

No one spoke.

Consent Items

Marianne Schlabach moved to approve the following consent items.

Minutes of Previous Meetings

The minutes of October 9, 2017 and October 23, 2017;

Finance Report

The Finance Report for October 2017;

Payment of Bills

The bills as listed for November 13, 2017, Hills Bank ACH Transactions for the month of October 2017; October 31, 2017 East Elementary and West Elementary Construction Draw and prepaid bills;

Open Enrollment Requests

Sean and Jessica Anderson request Ever Anderson (Kindergarten) attend Washington Community School District from Mid-Prairie;

Personnel Items

Contract issued to Kara Beatty, 8th Grade Girls Basket Ball Assistant Coach, $1,701.00 per annum;

Work Agreement issued to Kay Debler, Associate at MPHS, $13.51 per hour;

Work Agreement issued to Sydney Miller, Associate at MP West, $13.51 per hour;

Resignation of Sherry Ingalls, Bus Driver, $24.79 per hour, effective February 2, 2018;

Resignation of Pete Cavanagh, 7th Grade Boys Basketball, $3,100 per annum, effective immediately;

Fundraising Requests

Mid-Prairie Band and Choir request approval to raise funds through sale of poinsettias from November 1st to November 18th for expenses related to the Band and Choir trip to New York City;

George Schaefer seconded the consent items.  Motion carried 6-0.

Special Presentations

Honor Retiree

The Board honored recent retiree, Richard Grimm.  Richard served as a Bus Driver for 18 years in two different stints of service. Various people present expressed thanks to Richard for his service to the District and our students.  Superintendent Schneider presented Richard a plaque of recognition.  Richard expressed thanks for the opportunity to serve and for the recognition.

Staff Member Spotlight

Superintendent Schneider and Principals introduced 12 staff members to be recognized and highlighted the contributions and commitment of this group of colleagues.  Each is making significant contributions to the educational experience of our students and their teams.

(Jim Hussey arrived at 7:16pm)

State Senator Kevin Kinney

Iowa State Senator Kinney was present via invitation from Board Chair Pickard to discuss the different initiatives under consideration and debate at the state level.  He shared opening remarks, discussed State Supplemental Aid, the SAVE Fund extension and expansion, and extension of Operational Sharing arrangements.  Staff and Board members asked questions—topics included: School voucher program debate, Funding at the State and Federal levels including tax credits as incentives to attract business, TLC Funding growth and continuity, adding a fourth Math credit requirement and one computer Science credit requirement, funding Transportation for rural schools, priority for initiatives to hire teachers and administrators of color, and mental health initiatives and resources for students.  The Board expressed thanks for his presence and openness to work with the State legislators and constituencies in Iowa.

Student Learning

Back Pack Program/School Pantries Presentation

Superintendent Schneider introduced Leanne Bender and Tracy Rusch, Guidance Counselors at Mid-Prairie West Elementary and Mid-Prairie Middles School, respectively.  They discussed the different initiatives in place within the District to assist with food insecurities for students over the weekends and after school during the week.  This includes the Operation Backpack sponsored by Feed the Kids and HACAP (students served from Kindergarten through 6th Grade), and the School Pantry Initiative at the individual schools in the District (students served from Preschool through High School).  The Board asked questions for clarification and expressed deep appreciation for the work of the school staff and supporting organizations.

First Reading of School Board Policy 503.4, Good Conduct Rule

Superintendent Schneider and Principal Strickland introduced the revised policy for consideration of the Board.  This policy had been tabled after initial discussions and recommendations during the October 9, 2017 meeting.  Under Section A., items 5. and 6., were added as a result of the earlier meeting.  Also, consequences were changed to one-third of the season in section C., for a first offense.  Discussion and clarifying questions by the Board to Administrators ensued.  Concern for a definition of a length of a season—possibility of 3 months as a definition was expressed, as was providing a definition of bullying.

Jim Hussey moved to approve School Board Policy 503.4, Good Conduct Rule on first reading as presented.  George Schaefer seconded the motion.

Hussy then moved to amend School Board Policy 503.4 to define the maximum length of a season at the end of Section C. as three months.  George Schaefer seconded the motion.  Discussion on the amendment ensued with clarifications and possibilities given.

The question was called for the motion to amend—the second motion, immediately above.  The motion failed 7-0.

The first motion to approve on First Reading as presented is now before the Board.  Motion approved 7-0.


Certified Enrollment

Superintendent Schneider shared the 2017 Certified Enrollment Report from the Department of Education Portal that shows current count for October 2017 versus October 2016.  He highlighted the decline of 9.57 Students and the decline of Resident Students in the District at 7.0 Students, both FTE. He clarified the difference between FTE and actual number of students; basically the District Enrollment is up slightly, just over 1 student. 

Early Separation Benefits for 2017-18

Superintendent Schneider noted that it has been 2 years since an early retirement incentive has been offered to eligible employees.  He explained the positive and conversely the detrimental effects of offering this incentive.  He explained the turnover savings calculations for both certified staff (teachers) and classified staff (hourly) at an individual position basis.  The recommended incentive for 2017-18 includes a monthly benefit of $640 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, albeit the latter would be at differing rates depending on classified staff positions.  Jim Hussey noted that he would not vote on a possible motion due to a conflict of interest.

George Schaefer moved to approve the Early Separation Plan as presented for Certified and Classified Staff.  Marianne Schlabach seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.  Jim Hussey voted “Present”.

Administrative Reports

Principal Jay Strickland presented an update for the High School. Highlights included: The High School as Active Shooter training with staff and Washington County law enforcement;

Principal Robin Foster presented an update for East Elementary.  Highlights included: National Literacy Week went well and thanks to each Board Member who participated; Parent Teacher Conferences at East were attended at 97%; A Professional Learning Day on social skills took place for East and West Elementary teachers that focus on these skills for students.

Principal Marc Pennington presented an update for the Middle School.  Highlights included: 435 students are in the building; Worked recently with Washington County law enforcement to flesh out in-building scenarios with staff.

Principal Bill Poock presented an update for West Elementary and the District’s Preschools.  Highlights included:  Parent Teacher Conferences at West were attended at 95%; Grandparents Day will be Wednesday, November 22nd with valet parking options.

Principal Amy Shalla presented an update for the Alternative Learning Center and Special Education interests of the District.  Highlights included: Recognition of the long time block without a break has led to some attendance issues that they are continuing to address.

Board Development and Inservice Activities

IASB Annual Convention – November 15-17, 2017, Des Moines (Mid-Prairie Presentation)

All Board members and Superintendent Schneider are registered for this event for Thursday, November 16, 2017.  Transportation has been arranged to the event.  Jim Hussey has shared the revised Power Point slide show file on the Board Document site to allow for continuing review by the Board.   A review of assignments was confirmed.

Announcements and Suggestions for Next Agenda

The next regular Board meeting will be on Monday, November 27, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at the Central Office Community Room.  Next meeting: Mark’s evaluation; Jared Klein; Second Reading of the Good Conduct Policy; and Nutrition Policy Discussion.


The meeting adjourned at 9:52p.m.