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The halls and lunchrooms in the Mount Ayr Community Schools will miss several familiar faces next year as the Mount Ayr Community Schools board of directors accepted retirement requests from six long-time employees at their regular meeting Monday, January 13.
The board approved “with many, many thanks” the retirements of head football coach and activities director Delwyn Showalter (36 years of service), special education teacher and TAP program coordinator Jodie Geist (34 years), cook Cathy Swank (31 years), third grade teacher Darla Sobotka (30 years), elementary art and talented-and-gifted teacher Jane Uhlenkamp (25 years) and cook Pat Kemery (18 years).
Each is eligible for the district’s early retirement incentive program.
The retirements reflect 174 in total years of service to the Mount Ayr schools.
The board approved the purchase of a new intercom system at the middle/high school and a new school bus.
The intercom system replaces the current system that was installed when the building was built in 1980. This system had developed problems over that past several years.
The new system will be purchased from Rankin Communication Systems of Johnston at a cost of $15,186.61 with installation to take place over spring break.
The board approved a quote from Hoglund Bus Co. of Minnesota for $97,500 to purchase a 2020 International school bus. The new bus will replace a 2007 bus with 194,000 miles.
The board received updates on the superintendent search and the lighting project at the baseball and softball fields.
Board president Brandi Shay reported representatives from the Bedford and Mount Ayr boards had narrowed the field of candidates to seven semi-finalists.
Online interviews will be held with those individuals, after which the field will be further narrowed to three finalists.
Those finalists will be interviewed in person February 6.
Superintendent Joe Drake shared an updated timeline for completion of the lighting project.
Bids for the project are due February 4 with contracts to be awarded at the February 10 board meeting.
Construction is set to begin March 9 with substantial completion estimated for May 8.
The first baseball and softball games are scheduled May 25.
In other business the board:
• heard an update from Mount Ayr Raider Education Foundation president David Greene on the group’s efforts.
Greene said the foundation has funded 45 grants at the elementary and 43 at the middle/high school totaling $45,000 over the past year.
• approved a request to take students in the Ag Mechanics class to tour a John Deere training program in Milford, NE.