Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 19, 2018

WACO chooses legislative priorities, fills remaining faculty positions

Jul 18, 2017

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News


WAYLAND — It’s the “offseason” for school districts, and consequently, routine matters dominate board agendas during June school board meetings.

During its regular meeting Monday night, WACO School Board members selected legislative priorities; filled remaining personnel slots; and awarded commodity (bread, milk and fuel) bids.

Each year the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) asks school districts to select their top four priorities from a list of 20-30 priorities defined by the IASB.

Before selecting the policies, board President Tim Graber asked Superintendent Jeff Dicks if the school districts’ priorities were studied by the IASB and Dicks said he felt they were.

WACO’s four legislative priorities include the following:

• School funding policy, supports a school foundation formula that provides sufficient and timely funding to meet education goals; equalizes per pupil funding; provides a funding mechanism for transportation costs that reduces pressure on the general fund and addresses inequities between school districts; includes factors based on changes in demographics including socio-economic status, remedial programming and enrollment changes; incorporates categorical funding in the formula within three years; and includes a mix of property taxes and state aid.

• Supplemental state aid, supports supplemental state aid to be set for fiscal 2019 by Jan. 31, 2018; for the following fiscal budget years at least 14 months before the certification of the school’s district budgets; and at a rate that sufficiently supports local districts’ efforts to plan, create and sustain world-class schools; supports a formula-driven method for establishing the supplemental state aid growth rate if it is not set within the statutory requirements.

• Secure and Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) supports repeal of the Dec. 31, 2029 sunset clause on the statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure; supports preserving the integrity of the statewide penny sales tax for school infrastructure including the tax equity provisions in the following manner: no diversions or expansions of allowable uses before the current 2029 sunset date; continued growth in the per-pupil amount beyond the 2029 sunset date.

• Sharing and reorganization, supports continuation of sufficient incentives and assistance to encourage sharing or reorganization between school districts including the establishment of regional schools.

Personnel matters saw the approval of a contract for Amy Pullis, Mt. Pleasant, as high school guidance counselor. Pullis had been with the Mt. Pleasant School District for the past 24 years. “She is the right fit for us,” Dicks said. “She will be good representation for our students.”

Nathan Luitjens’ contract as head cross-country coach was approved as were para-professional contracts for Lora Bain and Brooke Carter.

Commodity bids were awarded to Bimbos for bread; Anderson-Erickson Dairy for dairy products; and Cobb Oil for fuel.

Elementary and secondary school hot-lunch prices will increase by 25 cents per meal next year. Hot-lunch price for elementary students is $1.50; and secondary students will be charged year $2.25. The price for an adult lunch will be $3.60.

“This is formula driven,” Dicks noted, relating the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is requiring WACO to average $2.40 for paid student lunches. The adult price is set at a minimum by the USDA as well. “Nobody ever wants to do this (increase prices) but we have to.”

School fees will remain the same as last year. Dicks recommended maintaining the status quo. “I like to maintain prices for two years,” he said. “We are pretty comparable to surrounding school districts. Next year will be an adjustment year.”

In his report, Dicks said the retaining wall at the Crawfordsville Elementary School was damaged. The school district is working with Egli Landscaping to repair the wall and surrounding landscape.

WACO School Board members meet again in regular session Monday, Aug. 21, at 6:30 in the media center at the secondary school.

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