School board hears morale concerns
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An unexpectedly large crowd was in attendance at the regular meeting of the Mount Ayr Community Schools Board of Directors Monday, November 14.
On the heels of receiving the prestigious National Blue Ribbon for Academic Excellence, the MAC board learned of potential dissension among district staff.
In his opening remarks, director Russell Schuitema reported a number of teachers had reached out to him to express concerns with low morale and what he termed “unrest” among the faculty. He said the board needs to be aware of the situation or otherwise the district could lose some teachers at the conclusion of the current school year.
Related to Schuitema’s remarks, approximately a dozen elementary teachers attended Monday’s board meeting, standing along the walls of the board room, in the doorways, and into the secretary’s office space. The teachers remained in attendance throughout the 90-minute board meeting, but none spoke to the concerns referenced by Schuitema.
Former MAC Elementary principal Chris Elwood attended Monday’s meeting to thank the board and superintendent Jason Shaffer for inviting him to attend this month’s presentation of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award in Washington, D.C. (For more details, see story above.)
The board approved the contract with Cassie Still to serve as a sixth-grade teacher for the remainder of the current school year. To this point, Still has been serving as a long-term substitute teacher in that classroom.
Coaching decisions were also approved at Monday’s meeting. They include:
• Jensen Stewart as assistant girls basketball coach;
• Debbie Reed as a volunteer coach in bowling, pending completion of her coaching certification;
• Eric Dolecheck as a volunteer coach in bowling;
• Jim Murphy as a volunteer coach in boys basketball.
• The board also accepted the resignation of Anthony Maldonado as varsity baseball coach.
In other business the board:
• reviewed a proposed redistricting map for the Mount Ayr Community School director districts as presented by superintendent Shaffer. He explained every 10 years school districts are required to adjust district boundaries based on new census data. The new map retains the current school board arrangement of a director seat from each of four districts plus one at large director seat.
• approved the low bid of $23,669 from Ed Robert to replace a heat pump in the elementary building
• approved requests from seven seniors to graduate at the end of the fall semester.
• approved the application for $65,508 in additional state aid to compensate the district for students not included in the official headcount from the 2021-2022 school year.
• Approved an agreement with the RSVP program through Graceland University to allow volunteers to serve in district buildings.