Wind power hopes dashed
Sioux Central schools are preparing for a new school year with several new key staff members, a number of campus projects nearing completion, and the realization that the school's wind power hopes have been dashed.
Peggy Wetherell has been named as the new principal for the elementary grades, and will begin that job Wednesday. She is familiar to the district, with a number of relatives in the area, and former teaching experience in the area means that she taught many patrons of Sioux Central, and even some of its teachers, according to Superintendent Bonnie Meyer.
Also new is Melanie Hjelm, who will be the district's agriculture teacher as well as teaching some computer science courses, and will lead the FFA program. Nikki Krager, shared with Iowa Central Community College, will teach business and the new web technology class.
Keith Stoeber has been hired as the district's technology director. Christine Olson will join the school's early childhood program.
Students returning to the K-12 campus at Sioux Rapids will find several upgrade projects completed over the summer.
Dave and Joan Baily have given the parking lot area across from the Simonsen building to the school district, which will in turn allow Gingerbread House day care to build a new playground there. School officials said they were grateful for the Baileys' gesture, and said that the Gingerbread effort in the community this past year has been such a success that they suspect it may expand in the future.
The middle school and the media center have been painted this summer. The staff parking lot has been painted, and new lights will be installed. An auction was held in conjunction with Tall Corn Days to get rid of salvageable items from the old Sioux Rapids building, and a playhouse built as part of May Term classes has also been sold to raise funds.
One project the school won't see is the long-planned wind turbine to power the campus electrical system. The school board recently saw a switch in votes that killed the previously-approved project by a single vote.
Superintendent Meyer, a supporter of the project, did little to hide her feelings on the matter in her report for the district's monthly newsletter.
"I was very disappointed with the wind turbine vote. I think it would have been a positive for the district. The board first voted to approve the project at their May meeting. Then one board member changed his mind and brought it back at the June meeting. They decided to put it to a vote of the public," she wrote. "Schools operate under 'Dillon's Law' that says if something is not specifically stated, they can't do it. An attorney's opinion told us that we could not put this up for a public vote. So it was brought back again at the July meeting and defeated 3-2. Maybe you might want to take a look at this again in the future."