Mt. Pleasant School Board considering new superintendent contract policy
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Mt. Pleasant Community School District directors were informed Monday night of a new policy on the superintendent contract and contract non-renewal.
The existing policy has been in the news in recent months. That’s because the school board violated the existing policy when it awarded Superintendent Dr. Mike Wells a three-year contract when hiring him last year.
Language in the current policy (302.2) regarding the appointment of a superintendent reads: “The board of directors shall appoint the superintendent of schools for an initial term of not more than one year. After serving at least seven months, the superintendent may be employed for a term not to exceed three years.”
During Monday night’s meeting, directors were informed of the proposed policy change which will be considered by the board’s policy committee before it is passed with a recommendation to the full board.
Wells said the new policy language was recommended by the Iowa Association of School Boards.
The proposed policy reads:
“The length of the contract for employment between the superintendent and the board is determined by the board. The contract will begin on July 1 and will end on June 30. The contract will state the terms of employment.
“The first two years of a contract issued to a newly employed superintendent is considered a probationary period. The board may waive this period or the probationary period may be extended for an additional year upon the consent of the superintendent. In the event of termination of a probationary or non-probationary contract, the board will afford the superintendent appropriate due process, including notice by May 15. The superintendent and board may mutually agree to terminate the superintendent’s contract at any time.
“If a superintendent’s contract is not renewed by the board, the contract will be extended automatically for additional one-year periods beyond the end of its term until it is modified or terminated as mutually agreed to by the parties, or until the superintendent’s contract is terminated consistent with statutory termination procedures.
“It is the responsibility of the board to provide the contract for the superintendent.
“If the superintendent wishes to resign, to be released from a contract, or to retire, the superintendent must comply with board policies dealing with retirement, release or resignation.”
No timeline was given for adoption of the policy. A new board policy requires at least two readings, so it appears likely the policy will not be adopted until late summer.
Darren Hanna, who is replacing Paul Beatty as school district director of instruction, said that summer school for students in grades kindergarten through third grade began Monday and the first day went well.
“We have a great mix of kids attending,” Hanna noted. “I have to compliment the group (who organized the summer school program). They only had about three weeks to plan it and it was really smooth today.”
The program is being housed in the basement of the middle school and runs for 16 days, ending June 30, from 8 a.m. to noon. Theme of the program, which provides math and reading instruction, is “Under the Sea.”
“It is just a great group of kids, they are really upbeat,” Hanna noted.
Some 81 students signed up for the program. Students are provided a breakfast snack, mid-morning snack and sack lunch at noon.
Anne Davidson, a Mt. Pleasant resident, asked the board to consider implementing a middle-school soccer program.
“We don’t have a soccer presence here that would be viable for all students,” Davidson said. “We have great recreation programs for other sports, but don’t for soccer.”
She asked that the board consider middle school soccer in its strategic planning dialogue. “If we start looking at strategic planning, please consider it (middle school soccer) in the long term. It is a relatively inexpensive sport…Junior high soccer is co-ed in other schools (districts). We won’t be able to compete (in soccer without a middle-school program). Soccer isn’t something you can just pick up.”
Wells said the district surveyed students and results indicate a strong interest in soccer. “We want to define the criteria for adding activities and sports. (Activities Director) Scot Lamm is working on that with the coaches.”
School board members meet again in regular session Monday, July 14, at 7 p.m. in the Central Office.