An advisory committee will be put together soon to address the future needs of the high school building at the recommendation of Dr. Wayne Sesker, former Forest City superintendent and now facilities consultant, who made an assessment of the building during a recent visit.
At the regular school board meeting Monday, Superintendent Fred Maharry said that the middle school and the elementary buildings checked out favorably but Sesker had concerns with the 1916 structure. Maharry pointed out that Sesker did not indicate that the building should be closed anywhere in the near future. Sesker was contacted to make a site visit by the administrators.
The committee will be made up of administrators, staff, board members, students, parents and community members. The goal of the group will be to look at short and long term goals regarding the high school building. "This is a challenge," Maharry said, "but by delaying this conversation, we're making a mistake. We don't shy away from challenges. We need to get people involved and our priority is to get the community involved."
The superintendent asked the board members to come up names of people they would like to see be a part of the committee. He also put out an invitation to anyone who would seriously want to serve on this committee to contact him or any board member.
Once the committee is formed and begins meeting, hopefully within the next 45-60 days, recommendations on what improvements they feel should be made and how those improvements should be funded will be brought to the school board for consideration. Areas of concern include the wiring system throughout the building, heat loss due to the long hallways and tall ceilings, accessibility and parking.
Maharry expects the committee will meet on a regular basis for up to two years. "Our priority is the community. We want to be very open about all of this," he said.
In other school board business:
* Spraying of the school grounds was discussed. Ron Gullickson has offered to spray the school grounds for the same fee as last year and has included some additional spraying as options. A bid from Mike's Lawn Care will be sought as well.
The board members had some concerns over the costs and what areas should be sprayed.
Superintendent Maharry said that it has been discussed that staff members do some of the spraying but decided to hire out as that would be "one more assignment on their list.." Depending on the lawn product used, additional classes may be necessary to bring the staff up to the proper licensing if it was decided to allow them to do the spraying.
Board member Richard Marshall pointed out that some of the chemicals have fertilizer in them. "My feeling is that the more fertilizer we use, the more we have to mow. I don;t think we need to use that much fertilizer."
Maharry agreed and said that a closer look will be made to determine what areas should be sprayed and what areas maybe do not necessarily need to be sprayed.
The board will continue discussion of this topic at the February meeting with hopes of approving a bid so spraying may begin in late March if the weather cooperates.
* The superintendent and high school principal Larry Martin reviewed driver's education salaries with instructors Kevin Hammer and Sheldon Weinert. Last year, the instructors were paid $120 per student; the administrators would like to see that fee increased to $130. Maharry said he would also like to see these instructors sign contracts so things may be handled the same way as other extracurricular duties on Schedule B.
Maharry also suggested raising the cost of the training from $180 to $190 per student. "We know the car lease is the same as it was last year but we don't know the cost of gas yet," he said, adding that the school is not out to make money on the class, but to break even. For the last several years, the school has had to throw in money to pay the costs not met by students.
Marshall said he was concerned about approving the salary increase without checking with the Alta Education Association.
The board agreed to up the parent's cost and the salary increase contingent on approval of the AEA. If the salary increase is not approved, the parent's fee will remain at $190.
* The board approved two school calendars for the 2005-06 year. Both calendars show the start date to be Aug. 24. Option 1 shows classes will be complete May 24. Option 2 was drawn up with two state-paid professional development days for staff to take part in. Maharry said that he and other superintendents have been told that the state may be funding these two work days for the staff. The state decision is expected soon.
If the additional funding is not received Option 1 would be implemented. If the funding is provided, there will be a work day in January and a work day in February.
* The board will offer Jim Braunschweig a contract to serve as the assistant baseball coach at a fee of $1,575. Braunschweig served as the freshman coach last year. /it was pointed out that the way the numbers look right now, there will not be enough guys for a freshman team.
* One resignation was also approved. Ruth Paulsen, a second grade teacher, will take an early retirement at the end of the school year. "Ruth's service to our district is appreciated and we wish her all the best in the future," Maharry said.
* The board has set a Jan. 24 meeting to discuss goal setting and a Feb. 7 meeting to begin talking about the new budget.
* The next regular monthly school board meeting is set for Feb. 14.