Personnel items, budget work, approval of the one-to-one laptop program and building and grounds items were the focus of the Mount Ayr Community school board at its meeting Monday night.
The board also approved an early start for school, set new director districts, discussed a home schooling assistance policy and heard reports on many topics at the meeting.
A number of personnel decisions were made at the meeting Monday night.
Four teachers, one coach and a concessions director were hired, two resignations accepted and one person moved from probationary status by the board.
Four new elementary teachers were hired for the coming school year to replace teachers retiring from the district.
New teachers are Kristen Graham, first grade; Crystal Storhoff, second grade; Michael Longley, third grade, and Ranae Klinkenfus, fifth and sixth grade.
Graham and Longley will join the staff at the $26,506 first step of the salary schedule. Storhoff comes in at the first step on the BA plus 15 level at $28,386. Klinkenfus had three years of experience in Oklahoma so joins the staff at the 4-1 level salary of $29,281.
Joining the staff as the new varsity baseball coach will be Tanner Rinehart.
Athletic director Delwyn Showalter said that Rinehart had worked with the football staff this year and done a very good job. With changes in his work schedule he will have the flexibility for the baseball season, it was noted.
Showalter is working with a couple of people to share an assistant position for Rinehart, he noted.
Tawnya Jones, food service director, will add the positions of winter and summer concession director to her work. She will be paid $2,500 for the work during the year and $1,500 for the summer work in the position.
Two resignations from coaching positions were also accepted by the board.
Rodney Bastow resigned from his middle school wrestling position, noting he would still be willing to help in the future.
Courtney Adams resigned from her fall and wrestling cheerleading coaching position. She noted that she and her husband are expecting a child in May and her husband is working evenings, making it hard to do the job justice next year.
Elementary principal search
Superintendent Drake reminded the board of the process to hire a new elementary principal in another personnel item.
Screening of applicants is currently underway with some 22 applicants so far.
The group will be narrowed down to four for interviews in Mount Ayr.
The interviews will be held March 26-29. A different candidate will visit each day and will have a tour, administrative interview, meet and greet with the teachers and staff, an interview with a selection group of teachers, support staff and parents, and then a board interview.
Teachers held a brain-storming session with Drake to list some of the qualities they would like in the new elementary principal.
School budget hearing
The budget hearing for the Mount Ayr Community school district was set for Monday, April 9, at 6 p.m. at the school board room.
The budget will be published in the Mount Ayr Record-News next week.
Superintendent Drake went over several details of the budget, including the reasoning behind keeping a $425,000 cash reserve levy in the budget for another year.
The levy for the new budget would be $16.56 per $1,000 of taxable valuation, up from $16.50 in the current year, it was noted. More budget details will be reported next week.
Budget reduction plan
In another budget related item, superintendent Drake detailed how the district would be saving $246,902 that needed to be cut from the budget for next year.
All of the budget savings will be done by attrition so no teachers will have to be let go, he noted.
Savings from the difference in expenditures between four elementary school teachers who retired and their new replacements will be $87,511, he noted.
Another $48,701 will be saved by not replacing a custodian at the high school when Eugene Dillenberg retires.
Bus driver Tom Giles resigned mid-year and has been replaced with part-time backups for this year. Next year transportation director Dick Still will drive the shortest bus route as driving assignment changes are made to cover for the resignation and save $13,900.
Another $96,790 will be saved in not replacing two teachers who are leaving at the high school. Math teacher James Smith retired and social studies teacher Matt Ritchhart resigned and will not be replaced.
Don Ray will be moved from part-time teacher to full-time to add a geometry class and a language arts lab in addition of Spanish which he currently teaches. Guidance counselor John Larson will add a second math class to his schedule. Kurt Wallace will pick up a math class and the consumer math class will be dropped.
Sherry Adams will pick up psychology and sociology classes and Pam Cross will pick up some social studies classes. Delwyn Showalter will add American history while Kris Quick and principal Lynne Wallace will pick up some at- risk duties.
The industrial tech schedule for Scott Giles and Kurt Wallace will also be rearranged with basic auto and interior finishes classes being dropped and the digital electronics class possibly being offered only every other year.
This will mean that the equivalent of a half-time industrial arts position will be reassigned to other duties.
Superintendent Drake noted that no pink slips will need to be handed out for the coming year because of the changes on the various levels that will yield the savings needed.