Public hearing, board action slated for July 3 on CC/E grade realignment

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

By Kris Todd

Daily Reporter Staff

Members of the public are invited to voice their opinions and offer their insights regarding the Clay Central/Everly (CC/E) school board's vote to relocate the district's third, fourth and fifth grades from Everly to Royal this upcoming school year during a July 3 public hearing.

In a proposed decision issued last week by Administrative Law Judge Carol Greta, she ruled that the 3-2 decision made by the board on April 16 to relocate the three elementary grades be reversed. The Iowa Board of Education is scheduled to review her decision and take possible final action on the matter during its July 26 meeting.

Superintendent Monte Montgomery told board members last night that they were left with three options to consider. These include doing nothing and returning to last school year's grade alignment, appealing Greta's decision to the Iowa Board of Education, and holding a public hearing on the matter and revoting the issue.

While Montgomery reiterated he would not recommend appealing the decision, he did advocate posting the public hearing on the district's Web site, at the Royal and Everly post offices, on both town's cable systems, as well as in businesses located in both towns. The superintendent also recommended the board follow the public hearing with a special session board meeting.

"Isn't this going to seem to the public that we're trying to rush it again," asked board member Gary Klett.

A resident seated in the audience then questioned the hearing's date.

"It seems like a very odd time to have a meeting, the Fourth of July weekend. If you really want good participation, I would suggest maybe looking at a different time than that in an effort to get more public involvement."

"Point taken," replied CC/E Board President Sue Brugman. "However, we have ball games five of six nights a week and it's pretty hard to work around those. And, if we choose another night, we won't get participation because of the conflict with the athletic events."

"I would prefer that we not get too far into July with this," added Montgomery, stating time is needed to get things in place.

The board voted 4-1 to hold the public hearing and special session the same night, with Klett casting the lone nay vote.

Prior to entering a closed session Monday night to conduct a student disciplinary hearing, Brugman reminded those in attendance that the public hearing and special board session regarding the grade realignment matter would be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 3 in the Royal building's music room. If a large crowd turns out, she indicated both would be held in the Royal gymnasium. She then concluded her comments on this matter, saying the board "will take action on grade realignment" at that time.

In other action and discussion Monday, CC/E board members:

* Were told that Wednesday will mark Montgomery's last day as Laurens-Marathon's superintendent and elementary principal. Iner Joelson was hired to fill both positions in mid-May.

* Agreed to discuss a proposed athletic handbook during its next regular board meeting.

* Approved various financial reports presented during the meeting. Montgomery noted the district's general fund balance is approximately $332,000 better than one year ago. While he mentioned the goal was to "correct" by approximately $200,000 per year, he advised CC/E is "online" with making that happen.

* Were informed that work is finishing up on the district's 95-kilowatt wind turbine. Montgomery said district representatives are attempting to locate a new bowl gear for it, indicating the current one has been welded onto the turbine two or three times. The superintendent also stated software has been loaded on the turbine.

* Approved the adoption of five legislative action resolutions for the Iowa Association of School Boards to consider during the next legislative session. These include: (The IASB) "Supports extending the school infrastructure local option tax to a statewide penny sales tax distributed on a per-pupil basis, recalculated annually to adjust the statewide average revenues per student; Supports setting allowable growth at a rate (not lower than 6 percent) that encourages continuous school improvement and reflects actual cost increases experienced by school districts; Supports extension of the allowable use of physical plant and equipment levy funds; Supports the development of consistent, rigorous content standards that set high expectations for student learning at the state level, while providing flexibility and supports to local school districts in delivering on those high expectations ...; and Supports predictable and timely state funding for serving special education students at a level that reflects the actual cost, including education programming and health care costs."

* Were apprised that the seats held by board members Brugman and Klett are up for re-election. While July 9 marks the first date to file nomination papers with Board Secretary Donna Ott, Aug. 2 is the last date to file such papers. The annual school board election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 11.

* Authorized the resignations of fifth grade teacher Donna Goebel, art teacher and assistant volleyball coach Melissa Galles-Kraai and head girls' basketball coach Rick Meyer.

* Approved the hiring of Lester Tessum as head coach of the girls' basketball program, Kevin Fahnlander as the head football coach and Joshua Nessa as an assistant CC/E football coach.

* Also endorsed increasing the contract of Ardith Rustad. She will now also cover eighth grade social studies, middle school exploratory class and high school textiles.

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