At their regular meeting Nov. 21, the North Mahaska School Board decided to let bids for a new school bus and also for having paving work around the school.

Superintendent Randy Moffit suggested they look into getting a 70-passenger vehicle, rather than the 65-passenger units they have heretofore purchased. He pointed out that this would serve their needs better for athletic activities. They would like to have the bids by the December or January meetings. The funds for the purchase are largely available in the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy fund now, although a small balance of the purchase may have to come out of next year’s PPEL money. Next fiscal year, plans are to purchase a nine-seat Suburban.

Board members decided it would be advisable to seek bids for both concrete and asphalt for paving the parking lots, perhaps doing the more high-traffic areas in concrete.

In other old business, the review of the 800-Series Policy, pertaining to business procedures, was unanimously approved.

In new business, the Staff Development Program was reviewed. Moffit pointed out that they have been working with the Bridges Math and Literacy LTD programs, which tie closely with the Comprehensive School plan. Curriculum mapping helps faculty, staff and administration focus on long-term goals. A third aspect of the Staff Development Program are areas of concentration suggested by faculty.

In other new business, Phil Morris was hired as a bus driver, subject to his receiving licensure.

The resignation of bus driver Curtis Williams was unanimously accepted.

For his report, Superintendent Moffit discussed input he’d been receiving regarding next year’s school calendar. So far, he’d received indication that the staff would like to have an extra staff development day at the beginning of the school year. They would also like to have school on Dec. 22, but not on Jan. 2. Martin Luther King Day would be designated a holiday, but could also be used as a make-up day. There also seemed to be consensus for an extra in-service day at the end of the year. Because of days already missed, Martin Luther King Day will be used as a make-up day this year.

Moffit also passed out a copy of this year’s and last year’s school budgets. He pointed out that this year’s budget had gotten an increase in excess of $52,000 in open enrollment funds. He also noted that the band general supplies budget had increased greatly for this year due to a gift.

Moffit informed the Board that, due to the volatile nature of gas supplies this year, he had roughly doubled the budgets for natural gas, electricity and diesel, although he hoped it would not be necessary to use those entire budget lines. For ease of management, the art, physical eduation and operation and maintenance budget lines for the high school and elementary school have been combined.

The board wondered if it might be worth considering switching to propane for heating. Moffit said it might be worth investigating the cost involved in switching existing equipment for the use of propane.

In the Principals’ Reports, Mr. Ray reported for the elementary school that the elementary fund-raiser had brought in between $6,500 and $7,000. At this point the money is earmarked for a sound system for the gym, with some funds possibly left for social studies texts.

For the secondary school, Mr. Meyerholz reported that the football team had experienced some success and that the volleyball team was also doing a good job. He also pointed out that Coach Pickering had been named Class IA state assistant coach of the year.

Meyerholz noted that he is on the committee to plan the MS bike ride this year, as well as on the committee to select the middle school principal of the year. He is also participating in the School Administrators of Iowa program of mentoring newer administrators. He has been working with principal at Lynnville-Sully.

The board asked Meyerholz about the detention rate at the middle school. He replied that it was relatively low and that the vast majority of detentions were given out for tardiness.

In the Board Comments section of meeting, lights for the parking lots and ball diamonds were brought up, as well as repairing holes in the walls of the boys’ restrooms.

Herald staff writer Sue Salisbury can be reached by email at salisburys@oskyherald.com

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