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Decisions in preparation for the 2022-2023 school year comprised the bulk of agenda items at the Monday, July 11 meeting of the Mount Ayr Community Schools board of directors.
The meeting was the first for new elementary principal Amy Bautista and secondary principal Josh Vanderflught. Board president Brandi Shay officially welcomed both to the district.
In personnel decisions, the board accepted the resignations of Jackie Schnoor as elementary secretary and Barb Gerber as secondary Family and Consumer Science teacher.
The board then approved the hiring of the following individuals:
Jane Uhlenkamp as half-time art teacher;
Sarah Schafer as elementary secretary;
Jennifer Mercer as half-day elementary associate;
Annie Main as full-time elementary associate;
Anna Kiburz as high school associate.
In a related note, superintendent Jason Shaffer informed the board of the Rural Teacher and Paraeducator Pipeline Grant Program, a new program designed to assist associates and others in becoming certified teachers. Shaffer said two or three current associates have indicated interest in joining the program.
Internal hires were approved as part of the district’s Teacher Leadership program. These included at the secondary building:
Abby Elliott – Instructional Coach
Adam Triggs – Lead Teacher
Chandra Poore – Lead Teacher
Scott Giles – Lead Teacher
Brett Ruggles – Lead Teacher
Brandi Ruggles – Lead Teacher
Melissa Shields – Lead Teacher
At the elementary the positions include:
Betsy Budach – Instructional Coach
Katie Coulson – Lead Teacher
Jess Frost – Lead Teacher
Courtney Adams – Lead Teacher
Jody Greene – Lead Teacher
Jessica Showalter – Lead Teacher
Tara Shields – Lead Teacher
Julie Shields – Mentor (two mentees)
Tracy Giles – Mentor (two mentees)
Kristen Graham – Mentor (one mentee)
(Compensation for all hires can be found in the school board minutes.)
In a final personnel decision, Brad Elliott was approved as a volunteer assistant football coach.
Other 22-23 decisions
The board approved Stephanie Newton as board secretary/business manager, and the law firm of Ahlers and Cooney to serve as district legal counsel.
Bank depositories and dollar amounts for the 22-23 school year include: maximum deposit to be $3,500,000 (General Fund) for US Bank, $2,000,000 (School House Fund) for US Bank and $1,000,000 for Wells Fargo Bank of Des Moines, $1,000,000 for First Interstate Bank of Mount Ayr, and $500,000 for Iowa Schools Joint Investment Trust.
School fees and charges, gate admission, and meal prices will remain unchanged for the coming year, with the exception of the price of adult lunches, which rose to $4.15.
The winning bid for propane, diesel fuel and gasoline went to Smith Oil.
Agreements with the Diagonal school district for the shared positions of transportation director, social worker, and curriculum director were approved for next year.
The board approved its list of legislative priorities heading into the new school year. These include
• Increasing the weighting formula for pre-school enrollment,
• Teacher recruitment and certification
• School funding
• Protecting local decision-making
• Mental health.
School districts across the state name their priorities to guide the efforts of education lobbyists at the Iowa legislature.
The board approved the district’s Talented and Gifted policy, the Career and Technical Education plan, and the Career Academic Plan.
The board approved two technology purchases:
• 18 Smartboards to be installed in all secondary classrooms. The $47,986 cost will be taken out of federal ESSER funding related to the pandemic.
• 10 MacBooks and 100 Ipads for the elementary at a total cost of $29,400, the majority of which will come from ESSER funding.