School board considers athletic lighting plans
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An upgrade to lighting at the athletic complex again was a main item of discussion at the regular meeting of the Mount Ayr Community Schools board of directors Monday, August 12.
At their July 8 meeting, the board heard a proposal from Musco Lighting from Oskaloosa to replace lighting at the football, baseball and softball fields at an approximate cost of $672,000.
The board tabled any action on that proposal until district superintendent Joe Drake could provide further research on the project.
At Monday night’s meeting, Drake reported that other companies specialized in athletic lighting projects, but Musco’s 25-year warranty was considered the industry leader.
As far as using the existing poles for new lighting, Drake reported that the current poles are not angled correctly for optimum efficiency, plus the use of the old poles would nullify any warranty associated with the installation of new light fixtures.
Drake also stated rebates are available through Alliant Energy to support the lighting upgrades.
Echoing his sentiments from the prior board meeting, board member Craig Winemiller balked at the price tag for the project. Stating he was not necessarily against upgrading the lighting at the complex, he explained he was reluctant to move forward with any action on the proposal until the board could consider the actual need for entirely new lighting, the cost to repair the existing lighting set-up and what alternatives other companies could suggest to upgrade lighting at the complex.
“We just need to do our homework,” he said.
Following a tour of district facilities prior to their Monday meeting, the board also discussed what other potential capital projects might take precedence over the lighting project.
At the conclusion of the discussion, the board again tabled any action on the lighting proposal. Prior to the next meeting, however, Drake will contact other lighting contractors to seek their input on the project, plus he will provide a list of potential projects, including the lighting project, for the board to prioritize.
HR director hired
The board approved Drake’s recommendation to hire Jessica Bishop as the district’s human resource director, a position that will be shared with the Diagonal district on a 60/40 basis.
In making his recommendation, Drake shared that Bishop has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management. He recommended increasing salary for the position from $30,000 to $35,000 due to Bishop’s qualifications.
Even with the increase, he added, the Mount Ayr district will still receive approximately $5,000 above Mount Ayr’s share of the salary due to the state’s sharing incentive.
In another personnel action, the board approved the continuation of an agreement to share the position of school social worker with the Diagonal district.
At the conclusion of Monday’s meeting, the board approved the recommendation from the presidents and vice presidents from both the Mount Ayr and Bedford school boards to hire the services of Grundmeyer Leader Services LLC of Ankeny to conduct the search for a new superintendent for both districts.
Current superintendent Joe Drake has announced his intention to retire following the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year.
The boards of both districts had authorized its presidents and vice presidents to work together to identify and interview potential search firms.
Grundmeyer will be paid no more than $11,925 to perform its search and return with list of qualified candidates for both boards to consider.
In other business the board:
• learned that the State of Iowa will now require the use of seat belts in all buses manufactured after October.
• approved the FFA chapter’s attendance at the upcoming Farm Progress Show in Boone at the end of this month. A chapter project is among the top three in a contest sponsored by Pioneer. The winners will be announced during the show.