WACO wants to do it again; okays four-day week waiver
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
WAYLAND — WACO Community School District will submit a waiver to the Iowa Department of Education for continuation of the innovative school year (4 + 1 calendar) for the 2014-2015 school year.
School directors, during last night’s regular board meeting, hosting a public hearing on continuation of the four-day school week (there were no comments by the public during the hearing) and then unanimously approved submitting the waiver.
However, dependent on action by the Iowa Legislature, the waiver could be a moot point.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Darrell Smith said there is talk of changing the school year from a day requirement (currently 180 days per year) to an hour requirement with 1,080 hours of instruction per year the proposed school year.
“If it (school year) goes to 1,080 hours, this waiver would be a moot point,” Smith said. “However, we are going to cover ourselves.”
The superintendent said the innovative school calendar needs a minimum of three years to gauge its effectiveness. “We need the input of staff and students during that time.”
Gary Brose, board vice president, asked Smith what the district will do regarding its calendar if the state does opt for the 1,080-hour school year.
“Then, we could do whatever we wanted,” Smith said. “It opens a lot of opportunities. We will build enough hours in to cover late starts, you generally can count on five to eight late starts a year.”
In other agenda items, directors approved new wheels for the district, accept the low state bid of a 2014 Chevrolet Malibu for $17,881,75. The district will also have to pay approximately $900-$1,000 in shipping costs for the vehicle, Smith said.
Five bids were received, ranging upward to $24,325.56 for an all-wheel drive GMC Terrain. “I really like the Terrain because it is four-wheel drive, but I don’t like it $6,500 more,” Smith quipped.
He said it is important that the district continually update its vehicle fleet. “We will use the Impala for driver’s education. We need to keep up the fleet because we’re putting teachers in the vehicles and driving down the road. We have to make sure they (teachers) are safe.”
Directors also approved purchasing software for archiving electronic communication from district email accounts. The software will cost $500 annually. Smith said the cost was worth it for peach of mind. Currently, the district has no archiving mechanism.
In personnel matters, board members approved the open enrollments from the district of Gunnar Wibstad and Ella Kann, both kindergarten students. The students are enrolled at Winfield-Mt. Union. Open-enrollment applications from Tabitha Metcalf, Santana Clark and Elijah McAllister, all students enrolled at W-MU, were rejected because they did not meet the March 1 filing deadline.
Kelly Hartzler’s resignation as secondary school secretary was approved as was the contract for Brandy Parsons as drill team coach. Parsons will be paid an annual salary of $1,882.
Finally, the board:
• Learned that school enrollment is down about 27-30 students.
• Was told that the district’s innovative calendar is attracting a lot of interest from many school districts, both in and out of state. The East Sac County Community School District (Sac City) wants to take a look at it. Inquiries for look sees have also been received from Ottumwa and Bloomington, Ind., Smith said.
• Approved elementary and secondary student handbooks.
• Tabled action on the media specialist assistant’s job description because Smith said the position currently does not need to be filled.
• Approved school bus routes.
WACO directors meet again in regular session Monday, Nov. 18, at 6:30 p.m. in the junior/senior high school media center.