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February 8, 2021

Mid-Prairie Community School District

Kalona, Wellman, West Chester

Mid-Prairie High School Multi-Purpose Room, Wellman, IA  52356

February 8, 2021 – 6:15 p.m.


President Jeremy Gugel called the meeting to order.

Board members present:   Mary Allred, Denise Chittick, Jeremy Gugel, Jodi Meader, Marianne Schlabach, and Jeremy Pickard (arrived at 6:25 p.m.; left at 6:50 p.m.; returned to the meeting at 7:05 p.m.).

Board members absent:  Gabrielle Frederick, and Jeremy Pickard (arrived to the meeting at 6:25 p.m. left at 6:50 p.m.; returned to the meeting at 7:05 p.m.).

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

Marianne Schlabach moved to adopt the agenda as presented.  Seconded by Jodi Meader.  Motion carried 5-0.


Middle School HVAC Controls

Superintendent Schneider, District Building and Grounds Manager Maury Gallagher, and Middle School Lead Custodian updated the Board on the status of the Middle School HVAC Controls.  The Middle School currently has Siemens DDC controls installed by Modern Controls in 2015 during the geothermal upgrade.  There has been nothing but issues since these were installed because of lowest bid status.  All other buildings in the District use the CI3 controls and have experience few to no issues.  A quote from CI3 using Schneider Electric DDC Controls has been obtained.  A base quote of 84,900.00 with an additional option to replace 2 stand-alone Johnson Controls DDC controllers for $9,100.00 was discussed.  There is a need to get a comparable bid, although we are consulting legal counsel on exactly what needs to happen, and we are still investigating it.  The funds to pay for this project will come from CARES Act dollars—ESSER II Funds.  The Board asks questions for clarification on cost savings for utilities and service calls.  There is no recommended action for tonight as this is to bring the Board up to date on the current situation.  The Board informally asked for Schneider to continue to pursue this course of action.

Jeremy Pickard arrived at 6:25 during this agenda item

Chapter 103 Rules & School Board Policies

Superintendent Schneider and Amy Shalla, Special Education Administrator, updated the Board that the State Board of Education has adopted final rules concerning student restraint and seclusion.  These means that the changes are necessary for certain Series 500 policies that touch on these issues in addition to revisions made during the recent review process.  Shalla discussed these changes in detail and how these affect students and classroom procedures.  The Board Policies related to these new revisions will need to be acted upon to meet the requirements.  The Board asked questions for clarification and understanding of the issues.

Facilities Committee

Superintendent Schneider reviewed the last Facilities Committee meeting of February 3, 2021.  This is an opportunity for the Committee to regroup following the Committee’s final report in January of 2020 prior to the COVID pandemic.  A few new facility issues have occurred since that report.  The February 8th meeting was an opportunity to bring the committee up to date on the issues and changes to their previous work.  Significant time will be devoted to Facilities in the Board’s agendas this Spring.  Bond refinance for General Obligation Bonds will be a part of the Board’s process.

Principal Positions

Superintendent Schneider provided his thoughts to the Board on the processes to hire a New Middle School Principal and a permanent Virtual Academy Principal.  The Virtual Academy Principal position has not been opened to the outside—as this is a half time position.  The Middle School Principal position is open to both inside and outside applicants—currently there are approximately 20 applicants.  Schneider is reaching out to staff and community members to serve on the Middle School Principal interview committee.  A Middle School student group will also be included in the process.  Because of COVID concerns and space issues, some of this process may not be held on the Middle School campus but could be at the City of Kalona.  Board members expressed appreciation for Pennington’s commitment to the District over the past 17 years as both an educator and an administrator.

Board Member and Administrator Dialogue

The Board asked about the possibility of Virtual days instead of strictly staying with Snow Days that are added to the end of the calendar.  The Administrators will have a meeting to discuss this.  There is some struggle with the quality of virtual learning from home as well as the quality/availability of internet and lack of 1:1 computer equipment in the elementary grades.  Currently, the last day of school is scheduled to be the 1st of June, the Tuesday after Memorial Day.

The Board asked if there has been anything exceptional or exciting in the past months.  It was noted that the extracurricular activities have been one source of joy for our students as not every state is allowing activities.  Administrators recognized staff for stepping up to help each other to get through the day when wrinkles occur.  Tracy Fisher and Mark Kleese were recognized for their efforts on clearing snow during the past few weeks with the large amounts of snow that have come down.

Jeremy Pickard left the meeting at 6:50 p.m.

Board Development and Inservice Activities

Nothing of note at this time.

Announcements and Suggestions for Next Agenda

The next regular Board meeting will be on Monday, February 22, 2021, at 6:15 p.m. at the Central Office Community Room.  Agenda items to include:  Middle School HVAC Controls, Begin discussion of facilities, and Second Readings on Policies.


Public Forum– 7:00 p.m.

No one spoke.

Consent Items

Denise Chittick moved to approve the following consent items.

Minutes of Previous Meetings

The minutes of January 11, 2021;

Finance Report

The Finance Report for January 2021;

Payment of Bills

The bills as listed for January 25, 2021 and February 8, 2021; Prepaid Bills; and Hills Bank ACH Transactions for the month of January 2021;

Open Enrollment Requests

Misty Tyree requests Carsen Tyree (Grade 6) and Landen Tyree (Grade 9), attend Mid-Prairie from Keota Community School District for the 2020-21 School Year;

Nikaia Feltes requests Ariana Feltes (Kindergarten), attend Mid-Prairie from Williamsburg Community School District for the 2021-22 School Year;

Jake and Mackenzie Pedersen request Eleanor Pedersen (Kindergarten) attend Mid-Prairie’s Home School Assistance Program from West Branch Community School District for the 2021-22 School Year;

Greg and Mindy Lybeck request Hudson Lybeck (Grade 6) and McKinzie Lybeck (Grade 9) attend Mid-Prairie’s Home School Assistance Program from Iowa City Community School District for the 2021-22 School Year;

Heather Brokaw requests Gracyn Brokaw (Alternative Kindergarten) and Hadley Brokaw (Alternative Kindergarten) attend Washington Community School District from Mid-Prairie;

Personnel Items

Contract issued to Josh Moore, Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach, $3,022 per annum;

Work Agreement issued to Rebecca Hathaway, West Elementary Special Education Paraprofessional, $13.76 per hour;

Resignation of Marc Pennington, Middle School Principal, $107,540 per annum, effective end of the 2020-2021 School Year;

Resignation of Kara Beatty, Middle School Boys Track Coach, $2,603 per annum, effective immediately;

Resignation of Erica Rosdail-Davis, West Elementary Special Education Paraprofessional, $13.79 per hour, effective February 5, 2021;

Fundraising Requests

Band and Choir request approval to raise funds through emailing and texting family and friends during the time period March 4th through 12th seeking direct donations to their programs in order to begin to raise funds for the next music trip;

Prom Request –Approve the attendance of Virtual Academy Students to attend the 2021 Prom event due to the impact of COVID-19 in the 2020-2021 School Year.

Marianne Schlabach seconded the consent items.  Motion carried 5-0.

Special Presentations

Honor Retiree

Superintendent Schneider and Board President Gugel introduced this time of recognition of Sue Schweinfurth, High School English Teacher.  Schweinfurth will retire—take the early separation package—at the end of the 2020-2021 School Year with 30 years of service to the Mid-Prairie District.  Opportunity was given for those in attendance to recognize Schweinfurth and thank her for her impact on the lives of students and colleagues.  A number of staff and Board members told stories and expressed appreciation for Schweinfurth’s contributions as a leader, professional, and friend.  Superintendent Schneider presented Sue Schweinfurth with a plaque in recognition of her service to the District and Community.

Jeremy Pickard returned to the meeting at 7:05p.m near the start of this agenda item.

Jeremy Pickard moved, with regret and congratulations, to approve the resignation and early retirement of Sue Schweinfurth.  Jodi Meader seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.

Student Learning

First Reading – Review Series 500 Board Policies

The Board reviewed the Series 500 Board Policies and discussed revisions and changes during the Work Session.  This specifically included Board Polices 503.1 Student Conduct; 503.5 Corporal Punishment, Mechanical Restraint and Prone Restraint; 503.6 Physical Restraint and Seclusion of Students. 

Jodi Meader moved to approve on First Reading the Series 500 School Board Policies as presented.  Mary Allred seconded the motion.    Motion carried 6-0.

First Reading – Board Polices 503.1 Student Conduct; 503.5 Corporal Punishment, Mechanical Restraint and Prone Restraint; 503.6 Physical Restraint and Seclusion of Students

This agenda item was combined and approved as part of the previous agenda item.

Middle School HVAC Controls

Superintendent Schneider referred the Work Session agenda item on the Middle School HVAC Controls and asked if there were any questions.  He noted that the Board should table this item as further research is completed.  No action is requested at this time. 

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 7:24 p.m.