Board cuts school facility improvements cost to $16 million
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
What began as a $37-million school facilities improvement plan has been reduced to $16 million.
That’s what Mt. Pleasant Community School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mike Wells related to about 75 residents attending Monday night’s Mt. Pleasant School Board meeting.
Wells said that a September bond referendum will include $14 million in expenses to air condition and provide safe entrances and exits to the district’s four elementary schools and $2 million for technology upgrades and purchases.
What about the remaining $21 million which included among other things a performing arts auditorium, 500-seat practice gymnasium and improvements to the Mapleleaf athletic complex or new athletic facilities at the high school?
“The rest of the plan will be put on the back burner,” Wells said.
Directors had a work session May 29, during which time they scrutinized surveys submitted from district patrons.
That input, board President Brad Holtkamp said, played a major role in the decision to pare the improvements denoted in the district’s five-year strategic improvement plan.
“As a board, we made our decision on public input,” Holtkamp said. “For the most part, we followed the community’s wishes. You (district residents) will have the final say on whether we get it or not (referencing the bond referendum vote).”
In other agenda items, the board approved a pair of 28E sharing agreements with the Harmony Community School District. “I see it as a win-win situation,” Wells said. “Harmony is struggling financially.”
The first agreement is to share Mark Porth, Mt. Pleasant maintenance director, one day a week with Harmony. The sharing agreement will generate an additional five students on Mt. Pleasant’s 2014 certified enrollment or $31,500 (each student brings $6,300 in state funding).
Harmony will pay $19,000 toward Porth’s salary. Consequently, Mt. Pleasant will net a $51,500 impact by sharing Porth.
Secondly, Mt. Pleasant will share Tonya Stutzman, MP human resources director, with Harmony one day a week, which is a continuation of an agreement that began during the 2013-14 school year. Again, the sharing agreement will generate an additional five students, and Harmony will pay $7,500 for Stutzman’s services.
Directors awarded the milk bid to Anderson Erickson and the bread bid to Bimbo Bakeries USA for the next year, the same vendors as the past school year. Wells said the bid prices reflected a slight increase from the past year.
Following are AE’S milk-bid prices: half-pint 1 percent, $0.2364; half-pint skim, $0.2259; half –pint chocolate, $0.2359; gallon, 2 percent, $4.0407; 12-ounce chocolate, $0.6849.
Bimbo’s prices were as follows: 51-percent whole-grain white bread, $1.92; 100-percent whole wheat bread, $1.47; 53-percent whole wheat hamburger buns, $1.87; 53-percent whole wheat junior buns, $2.49; 53-percent whole wheat hog-dog buns, $2.49.
Prairie Farms also bid on milk products, but Bimbo was the only bidder for bread.
Personnel items included the following contract approvals: Amanda Reynolds, Van Allen/Salem Title I; Elise Cook, high school language arts; Martha Lisantti, Harlan Title I; Kemlyn Bappe, middle school instructional strategist; Katie Stoops, preschool teacher; Robyn Willham, preschool teacher; Sara Kremer, preschool teacher; Jason Martinez, middle-school principal; Norma Whitaker, Salem special education teacher; Scott Stribe, assistant varsity football; Rocco Russo, eighth-grade football; Michael Pilcher, middle school exercise science; Karen Knapp, junior kindergarten.
Resignations were accepted from: Carol Bain, food service; Jayson Campbell, middle school associate principal; Dori Goble, middle-school science; Amelia Conrad and Vicki Brammer, Lincoln one-on-one para-professionals; Michael Stuart, middle-school exercise science, middle-school wrestling, assistant varsity football; Tabitha Schimmelpfennig, middle-school cheerleader; Jeff Schultz, head varsity volleyball; Libby Sturgeon, .5 ELL teacher, .5 para-professional; Natalie Duffie, high school one-on-one para-professional; Emily Vogelgesang, Lincoln first grade; Jagdeep Kang, assistant boys’ soccer.
In other business, the board:
• Appointed Stephanie Zinkle as District 3 director. She replaces Melody Yaley, who resigned her seat last month due to her relocation to Texas.
• Heard a presentation from students involved in the district’s scuba diving class. District expenditures totaled $25,000 for the fall and spring semester classes.
• Approved the student handbooks for the 2014-15 school year.
• Presented a plaque to Paul Beatty, recognizing him for eight years of service to the district as an elementary school principal and later as director of instruction. Beatty resigned recently to accept a position with the Area Education Agency.
• Met in closed session to discuss the purchase of real estate and to evaluate the superintendent.
Directors meet again in regular session Monday, July 14, at 7 p.m. in the Central Office.