Winfield-Mt. Union opts for 'hours' rather than 'days'
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
WINFIELD — The Winfield-Mt. Union school board agreed at its meeting Wednesday night that the best calendar for its students for next year would be one where the hours are counted instead of the days.
This innovative calendar would also have some extra hours built in to use should the school need to make up hours canceled due to weather. According to school officials, the State of Iowa mandates that the school have 990 hours of instruction per year or 180 days of instruction. W-MU has scheduled 1,190 hours for the next school year.
The board also approved an early start date of August 20, 2014, for the 2014-2015 school year.
“I have met with the teacher calendar committee to have an understanding and develop this calendar in which we are keeping track of hours,” said Superintendent of Schools Pat Coen. “The thing I am very happy about with our teachers is that we have a longer school day anyway so we have enough hours that we could end school earlier than we are, but our teachers have made the commitment to continue to spend that time with our kids even though we are surpassing the number of hours.”
Coen went on to explain that due to the extra hours the W-MU calendar has built in, should there be a day missed due to snow or a delay, there will be no need to tack on extra days at the end of the school year.
“If we don’t have any snow days, we will have almost five additional days worth of school by the hourly calculation,” said Coen.
The board also heard a report from elementary school principal Gabe Wylder on preschool registration.
“Tuition forms went home Thursday, Feb. 13, just after the last board meeting,” Wylder said. “So far the response has been promising.”
Out of the 26 families with four-year-old children, 20 families have made a commitment to enroll their child in W-MU’s preschool, according to Wylder.
Eleven families out of the 28 with three-year-old children were sent letters about the three-year-old class have responded so far, Wylder told the board.
According to Wylder, only three families have stated that they do not wish to send their three-year-old to preschool at this time. The reason for not sending a three-year-old to preschool could be as simple as parents just wanting to spend more time at home with the child, Wylder stated.
“We are still waiting on six responses from families of four-year-olds and 14 families of three-year-olds,” Wylder concluded.
The board also:
• Approved a bid of $6,750 from School Bus Sales for bus cameras.
• Approved a bid from Richards Electric for $6,870 for small gym lighting.
• Approved a bid of $10,320 to sand and refinish the main gym floor from Integrity Hardwood Floors.
• Approved hiring Eric Spencer as custodian and Mitch Wachs as head golf coach.
The next school board meeting will be April 9 at 6 p.m. in the media center.