Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

MPCSD board reviews next year’s budget, school calendar

Mar 13, 2018

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Mt. Pleasant Community School District’s tax rates are going up ever so slightly this year — increasing from 13.66 to 13.82 for fiscal year 2019.

Even though the tax rate is going up because the taxable valuation rollback is being adjusted from 0.57 to 0.56, property tax is actually decreasing slightly.

Mt. Pleasant Community School District (MPCSD) board secretary Ed Chabal said that most of the increase in direct tax rates was in the management fund. There will be a more detailed budget report next month, which also will include comparisons to other school districts.

A public hearing for the budget report is April 9, at 6:15 p.m. in the Mt. Pleasant Community High School’s Media Center.

During the MPCSD board meeting Monday, March 12, the board also approved a public hearing for the 2018-2019 school calendar. MPCSD superintendent John Henriksen said that next year’s calendar is very similar to this year’s, with school starting on Aug. 23.

There will be the same number of early outs and the same number of full professional development days for teachers next year, with a slight change to hold two of those days on a Friday instead of a Monday to keep a consistent routine for students.

The public hearing for the 2018-2019 school calendar is also April 9.

Regarding the 2019-2020 school year, Burlington Community School District’s board has voted to join the southeast Conference. The MPCSD’s athletic director and Henriksen’s recommendation is to embrace Burlington in the conference.

Aside from football, MPCSD already plays Burlington in all other sports, including at the middle school level, so “it shouldn’t be a big change for us,” Henriksen said.

The other conference superintendents were divided between providing this information to their school board versus having their school board take a vote on the action. Washington and Fairfield presented the information to their board. Keokuk voted “no” in adding Burlington to the conference.

The MPCSD board requested to speak with the athletic director for more information before deciding whether or not to take a vote. Even if Mt. Pleasant voted “no,” Burlington would still be added to the conference.

In other news, the board also reviewed a few policy changes including clarifications to student immunizations and open enrollment requests as well as holding the second reading regarding restrictions for people required to register on the Sex Offender Registry.

Under board policy 501.2, the board reviewed an addition of a paragraph that reads before enrollment at a MPCSD school, students must provide the administration with their health immunization certificate. Failure to provide this information within a time period set by the superintendent could lead to suspension, expulsion or denying admission to the student.

Under board policy 501.9, the board reviewed the addition of a paragraph saying open enrollment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The determining factors for approval of open enrollment requests will be whether the special education program available in the district is appropriate for the student’s needs and whether the enrollment of the student will cause class size to exceed the maximum amount.

The area education agency director of special education serving the school district will determine whether the program is an appropriate fit for the student. The student will remain in the sending district until the final determination is made.

The second reading of a policy to restrict registered sex offenders on school district grounds was held. The policy was again approved by a slim margin, with Board members Kevin Sandersfeld, Martha Wiley and David McCoid voting “no.” With this second reading, the policy becomes a part of school code.

Henriksen mentioned to the board that he received a phone call from someone recently concerned with the restrictions in this policy, which only allows someone required to register on the Sex Offender Registry to be on school property to attend the high school graduation ceremony. The registered sex offender would have to receive approval from the superintendent to attend his/her child’s high school graduation and would be accompanied by district administration the entire time they were on campus.

Henriksen also informed the board that the City of Mt. Pleasant is seeking to vacate a closed right of way on the west side of Van Allen Elementary School. The right of way was platted as a city street, but never developed or used by the public. The city wants to close the street to accommodate construction of a storage building on the north end of the right of way. It would be sufficiently separated from the school property line.

If the school district has an issue with the city vacating this street, they are welcome to address it in the city council meeting on Wednesday, March 14, when the city is receiving public comments and will take final action.

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