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Approval of the school calendar for the 2020-2021 school, approval the engineering contract for the athletic complex lighting project and the resignation of the head volleyball coach were main items on the agenda at Monday, December 9 regular meeting of the Mount Ayr Community Schools board of directors.
The board approved the school calendar for the 2020-2021 school year.
The first day of classes for students will be Tuesday, August 25 with the last day set for Monday, May 24.
Graduation for the Class of 2020 will be Sunday, May 16.
Major holidays include Thanksgiving, which begins with an early dismissal on Wednesday, November 25 and continues Thanksgiving day and Friday, November 27.
Early dismissals have standing times of 1:05 p.m. at the elementary and 1:10 p.m. at the middle/high school.
Winter break begins with an early dismissal on Wednesday, December 23. Students return to class Monday, January 4.
Spring break begins with an early dismissal for parent-teacher conferences on Thursday, March 11. Student return to class Monday, March 22.
Fall parent-teacher conferences are scheduled for Tuesday, October 27 and Thursday, October 29 followed by no school on Friday, October 30.
Spring conferences are set for Tuesday, March 9 and Thursday, March 11, with no school Friday, March 12, the beginning of spring break.
The calendar includes 17 early dismissal days for staff professional development.
In all, students are in class for 180 days or 1,132 hours. Certified staff have an added six full days of professional development.
The state of Iowa recently allowed schools to count their instructional time by hours rather than days, with the minimum school year set at 1,080 hours. Because certified staff are contracted by days rather than hours, the Mount Ayr district has continued to use 180 days as its benchmark.
The board approved a $35,000 contract with Larson Engineering of West Des Moines for design and supervision of the lighting project at the athletic complex.
The board had received a second quote of $49,500 for the project.
Mike Murphy of Larson attended Monday’s meeting to share the tentative time line for the planned improvements.
The project will go out for bids January 6 for upgrades to lighting at the baseball and softball fields.
The winning bid will be accepted February 4 with construction to begin in mid-March.
Murphy said the project should be completed by May 15.
Bidding for the lighting upgrades at the football field will come later in the spring with construction to begin following the final track meet of the season.
The board accepted the resignations of long-time head volleyball coach Tori Braby and elementary Lead Team member JoAnn Gregg.
The board approved the hiring of John Larsen as assistant girls track coach for the upcoming season.
In other business the board:
• canvassed the votes from the recent school board election. Re-elected board members Brandi Shay, PJ West and Craig Winemiller were sworn in for their new terms.
Following the swearing in, Shay was re-elected as board president with Kim Lutrick elected as vice-president.
Board meetings will continue to take place on the third Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m.
• heard a report from superintendent Joe Drake about discussions with the Family Resource Center concerning the potential to move the pre-school to the elementary building.
Drake emphasized no such move will take place in the 2020-2021 school year.
Ahead of future discussions between the two groups, Drake said the school district will continue to research logistical needs at the elementary building (such as appropriate playground equipment) and the Family Resource Center will continue to research the financial impact such a move would have on its budget.
• approved the purchase of a timpani drum for the music department from Taylor Music of Aberdeen, SD for $10, 450.
A second bid of $11,399 came from Reiman Music in Creston.
To help upgrade the music department, the board has received a donation of $30,000 from local benefactors Larry and Rita Hunter.
• approved a series of fund-raiser requests from student groups.
Following those approvals, board president Brandi Shay stated her opinion that students should not be required to raise money to pay for uniforms. Instead, the school district should provide uniforms for any activity it offers.
If students want special warm-ups or other non-essential items, she said, then they could fund raise for those purchases, but basic game uniforms should be paid for within the district budget.