Clay Central-Everly school board members were about approving and checking out "checks and balances" this week to assure the district moves forward correctly in the future.
In information gleaned from preliminary audit discussions with state investigators, board members learned more checks and balances are needed in bills, checks and deposits coming into the district. As Superintendent Robert Raymer suggested office staff be trained and new procedures be followed in this area, district representatives were then advised to hold off on implementing such actions until audit results are finalized.
Raymer also told those attending the Tuesday night meeting in Royal that more information was recently requested for the ongoing state audit.
"This isn't going to be cleared up in two months," Raymer said.
In regard to future hiring practices, Raymer recommended the district's superintendent, principal and athletic director be involved in the coach-interviewing process. This would be a change from what currently occurs.
"It shouldn't be the superintendent's responsibility. You have a principal in that building and you have an athletic director in that building. Why are you bypassing (them and having) the superintendent do the hiring," Raymer asked.
CC-E's superintendent also advocated for one of the three district representatives being responsible for checking to make sure potential CC-E coaches are appropriately certified.
In approving a new list of duties and responsibilities for the district's athletic director, the board unanimously agreed it will also be his or her responsibility to check coaching credentials.
Whether CC-E should continue with its current 11-man football team or transition to an eight-man team in 2012 was another matter considered by board members.
On behalf of Athletic Director Paul Wick, who did not attend the meeting, Principal Curt Busch presented numbers gleaned from a survey taken by students in September for the sake of discussion. (See chart below) He mentioned the 21 eighth-through-11th-grade students who anticipate signing up to play football next year.
"The question for the board is: Are we in a position to continue 11-man or do we go to eight-man," Busch asked. "One school in the area we do know next year is committed to eight-man is Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn."
As Busch added he has heard support for CC-E's football players moving to an eight-person team next fall from community members, a CC-E sophomore backed up this sentiment.
"Eight-man would have to be the future for us," Andrew Quail told board members. "I'm not saying we'd have a better chance, but we'd have more people to fill in. ... Eight-man would be better for all of us."
With a final decision needing to be made by Dec. 1, the board is expected to vote on the matter during its Nov. 21 meeting in Everly. Until then, board members are asking for community input on the issue.
"As you scroll down our activity list there, our numbers are pretty solid in our other sports, including softball and baseball. The numbers for boys track also seem solid," Busch said. "The question is in girls track. When the survey went out, there were 12 signed up, with three question marks. I think a year ago we had eight or nine."
Busch mentioned he'd recently spoken with Mark Petersen, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn's principal and athletic director.
"They're very interested in our track program," he told the board. "They don't have a boys coach; we do have a boys coach. We also have a girls coach. You could combine the two if you were interested in sharing. Again, I don't know if that's the direction you'd want to go, but he is very open to wanting us to consider this."
At the latest, a girls track coach and sports-sharing decision would need to be made by February 2012, Raymer said.
In other discussion Tuesday night, Paul Kruse, financial services marketing director for the Iowa Association of School Boards, introduced board members to the PaySchools online payment processing system. The online program allows parents, alumni, community members and other interested parties to use credit cards or eChecks for online purchases.
Adding such a program into the district's repertoire would not cost the district, Kruse assured. Instead, its cost would be based upon its usage, which would total 3.5 percent of whatever is collected online.
The IASB's 3.5 percent charge for usage of the system could be built into the cost of each item as a "convenience fee." Districts which do this, though, do not have as high of usage, Kruse added.
Area schools currently utilizing the PaySchools system include Harris-Lake Park, Estherville Lincoln Central, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn and Spencer. Of the over 200 Iowa school districts currently using the system, Kruse said almost all of them are using PaySchools for their lunch program. He suggested CC-E might consider using it for FFA fruit sales as well as for the payment of FFA dues, lunch and registration fees.
"I think it's too premature given the mess we're in. We need to get that state audit back," Raymer said as the board's PaySchools discussion concluded. "I'd suggest we get the district's books clear and then take a look at this."
* CC-E FFA Chapter members are inviting the public to a noon lunch Wednesday, Oct. 26 and to a speaking event featuring Iowa State University agriculture dignitaries. A complimentary roast beef dinner will be served in the school's ag room in Everly, with speakers Dr. Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Dr. Maynard Hogberg, professor and chairman of the ISU Animal Science Department, and B.J. Brugman, a senior ISU student majoring in Ag Business and a 2012 Veisha co-chairperson, scheduled to speak at 12:45 p.m. in the new gym. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP to Betsy Schoelerman by Monday, Oct. 24 by calling 712-834-2227 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Raymer mentioned CC-E borrowed $835,001 from the Iowa School Cash Anticipation Program between July 6 and Sept. 13. Because the district's warrant amount was set at $1.387 million, it still has a balance of $551,999 it can borrow. Board members will consider approving another ISCAP application during their Nov. 21 meeting.
* CC-E's certified enrollment numbers for fiscal year 2013 include 385 students, which compares to 382 from the prior year. The district's "kids in seats," or attendance numbers, decreased by five students from last year, or from 360 to 355 pupils. Raymer deemed the numbers "fairly steady."
* Raymer reported a building study group and an architect will spend Tuesday, Oct. 25 in the district.
* Shirley Cain reported CC-E received a $26,503 Small, Rural School Achievement Program grant award. The money will be designated for educational technology, she said.
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