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November 9, 2020

Mid-Prairie Community School District

Kalona, Wellman, West Chester

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

November 9, 2020 – 6:15 p.m.



President Marianne Schlabach called the meeting to order.

Board members present:   Mary Allred, Denise Chittick, Gabrielle Frederick, Jeremy Gugel, Jeremy Pickard (arrived at 6:40 p.m.), and Marianne Schlabach.

Board members absent:  Jodi Meader, Jeremy Pickard (arrived at 6:40 p.m.).

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

Denise Chittick moved to adopt the agenda for the Retiring Board as presented.  Seconded by Gabrielle Frederick.  Motion carried 5-0.


Mid-Prairie ESports

Superintendent Schneider introduced High School Teachers Kurtis Broeg and Chad Surom, and students who presented a concept to start a new ESports program at Mid-Prairie.  Additional computer equipment would be needed at a cost of $31,777.  The equipment would be built by students and components could be upgraded in the future rather than replacing the computers.  Computers would also be available for use in the Business Lab for students during the school day.  If approved, the first year this could be a club status program with hopes to move it to more formal status in subsequent years.  A recommendation to approve the formation of an ESports program beginning in the Spring of 2021 was made to the Board.  The Board asked questions about rules, plans, club versus official activity, and other program details.

Home School Assistance Program Presentation

HSAP Director, Rachel Kerns, presented on the current status and happenings at the Home School Assistance Program.  Highlights included: 517 students are in the program on Count Day 10/1/20; 90 students are in the 28E Sharing Agreement with 4 other Districts—included in the total number; 19 students have joined since the 10/1/20 Count Day; the increased numbers have resulted in the hiring of 3 additional supervising teachers—all part-time; and the building is used every day for various group enrichment programs with 265 students participating.  The Board asked questions for clarification and details on various aspects of the program.  The Board thanked Rachel for the work of her staff especially in a challenging time.  (Jeremy Pickard arrived at the beginning of this agenda item at 6:40 p.m.)

IASB Priorities

Gabrielle Frederick will represent Mid-Prairie at the IASB convention where legislative priorities will be acted upon. The resolutions and priorities for the delegate sessions.   She asked for input on wording additions and changes, if any.

Board Member and Administrator Dialogue

No concerns noted at this time.  Appreciation was expressed for East Elementary’s Trunk or Treat.  Amy Shalla shared about the necessary shifts and changes for staff coverage due to the effect of the Pandemic.

Board Development and Inservice Activities

Delegate Assembly for IASB and Convention are next week.  Most all Board Members are participating.

Announcements and Suggestions for Next Agenda

The next regular Board meeting will be on Monday, November 23 2020, at 6:15 p.m. at the Central Office Community Room.  Agenda items to include: Superintendent Evaluation (return by 11/20/20 to Jeff Swartzentruber)—this will be a closed session; various other business items.


Consent Items

Denise Chittick moved to approve the following consent item.

Approve Minutes of October 26, 2020 and November 4, 2020.

Motion seconded by Gabrielle Frederick.  Motion carried 6-0.

Adjournment (Sine Die) The Board President adjourned “sine die” the final meeting of the 2019-2020 School Board at 7:02 p.m.

New Board of Education – Organization of the 2020-2021 Board

Board Secretary, Jeff Swartzentruber, called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.

Nominations for President of the Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 School Year: Jeremy Pickard nominated Jeremy Gugel for President of the Board.  Additional nominations were requested by Swartzentruber, and there were none.   Seconded by Gabrielle Frederick.  Motion carried 5-0 as Jeremy Gugel abstained from voting.

Nominations for Vice-President of the Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 School Year:  Jeremy Pickard nominated Denise Chittick for Vice-President.  Additional nominations were requested by Swartzentruber, and there were none.  Seconded by Gabrielle Frederick.  Motion carried 5-0 as Denise Chittick abstained from voting.

The Oaths of Office were administered to Jeremy Gugel as President and Denise Chittick as Vice President of the School Board for the 2020-2021 School Year.

New President Jeremy Gugel, again, called the meeting to order.

Denise Chittick moved to adopt the agenda as presented for the New Board.  Seconded by Gabrielle Frederick.  Motion carried 6-0.


Public Forum– 7:00 p.m.

No one spoke.

Consent Items

Gabrielle Frederick moved to approve the following consent items.

Minutes of Previous Meetings – No additional minutes are presented for approval at this time;

Finance Report

The Finance Report for October 2020;

Payment of Bills

The bills as listed for November 9, 2020; Prepaid Bills; and Hills Bank ACH Transactions for the month of October 2020;

Open Enrollment Requests

Shanda Bergren requests Jardin Mufaume (Grade 11), attend Mid-Prairie from English Valleys Community School District for the 2020-21 School Year;

Personnel Items

Contract issued to Matthew Hoeppner, Varsity Softball Head Coach, $4,197.90 per season;

Fundraising Requests – No fundraising requests were presented for approval;

Mary Allred seconded the consent items.  Motion carried 6-0.


SBRC Resolution for Additional Allowable Growth for Enrollment and ELL

Superintendent Schneider noted the additional allowable growth resolution that, if passed, will allow the District to increase spending authority of $79,808 for Open Enrollment Out in the Fall for the 2021 School Year and of $7,757 for ELL Beyond 5 Years.   These amounts are a result of the Certified Enrollment data from the October 1, 2020, count date.

Gabrielle Frederick moved to approve Resolution 1109201 for increased spending authority of $79,808 on Open Enrollment Out for the 2020-2021 School year and $7,757 for ELL Beyond 5 Years.  Mary Allred seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:    Gabrielle Frederick           - yes

                           Mary Allred                       - yes

                          Jodi Meader                       - absent

                         Jeremy Pickard                  - yes

                         Marianne Schlabach          - yes

                         Jeremy Gugel                    - yes

                         Denise Chittick                  - yes

Motion carried 6-0.

7:15 PM – Public Hearing – Bus Specifications

Board President Gugel opened the Public Hearing for School Bus Specifications.  No one spoke. The Public Hearing closed at 7:16 p.m. 

Approval of Bus Specifications and Request for Bids

Board President Gugel asked the Board if there were any questions, clarifications or discussion for the School Bus Specifications as presented.

Denise Chittick moved to approve the bus specifications as presented and to put the specifications out to bid with a due date of December 15, 2020 at 1 p.m.  Gabrielle Frederick seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.

Student Learning

Mid-Prairie ESports

Board President Gugel asked if there were any questions or additional discussion items related to the ESports presentation from the Work Session agenda item earlier in the meeting.  There was a request of the Board to move to create an ESports program if that is the direction the Board believes is needed at this time. There are 3 seasons split as Fall, Winter, and Spring.  The first season would be Spring 2021.

Jeremy Pickard moved to approve E-Sports as a District Official Activity and approve the expenditure of no more than $31,777.00 for computer equipment to support the activity and that will remain a part of the High School Business lab.  Gabrielle Frederick seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.

Sharing Agreement with Hillcrest Academy for Girls Basketball

Superintendent Schneider shared that the District has been approached by Hillcrest Academy Officials about the possibility of sharing High School Girls Basketball.  If the District were to share Girls High School Basketball, it would not move the District to a higher classification than 3A.  It is reported that we currently share Wrestling and Girls Soccer with Hillcrest Academy.  Activities Director, Tyler Hotz shared of his discussions and feedback received to date.  Hillcrest Academy would provide a coach at their cost.  While Hillcrest Academy would like an answer very soon, the final decision on sharing Girls Basketball is a decision of the Board.  It is expected that there would be two students, possibly three for this season.

Gabrielle Frederick moved to approve Hillcrest Academy’s request to share High School Girls Basketball with Mid-Prairie Community School District for the 2020-2021 School Year, effective immediately.  Denise Chittick seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.

Current District COVID Situation

Superintendent Schneider shared the District’s current status with regard to COVID.  There was discussion between Board Members and Administration about the ongoing navigation of the current of situation and the types of criteria that may need to be set as parameters for any future decision.  While it appears there is slight improvement from last Wednesday’s meeting.  10% of the teachers, 32% of the Paraprofessionals—17% overall for staff—were absent today, November 9th.  Student absence data jumped from <6 to 16 with Positive COVID Test today.  14.4% of the students were absent today for COVID Positive Test, COVID quarantined, and other illnesses.  The District would qualify for application to the State for 100% on-line learning at the illness percentage we are experiencing.  There is no doubt that District numbers are increasing overall and very similar to both Washington County and Johnson County statistics.  The Board expressed appreciation for the ongoing work of the Administration AND the Staff due to the unknowns each day.  The Administrators agreed that the Staff have stepped up in a significant way and expressed thanks for their investment in the situation, especially their graciousness.  This includes teaching the students who are quarantined.  Discussion of development of a matrix continues, though a hard and fast set of parameters may add a different type of stress to the complexities of the situation.

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 8:25 p.m.