Thursday, April 10, 2014

Courier News

Courtesy of the Ida County Courier, April 9, 2014 on-line edition -

BC-IG to seek architect drawings— 
BC-IG, O-A boards tussle over facilities, grade configurations

The Battle Creek-Ida Grove School Board held a special meeting on Monday to handle two public hearings and met in a work session with the Odebolt-Arthur School Board.

[BC-IG meeting details omitted by web editor, as not pertinent to Odebolt news.]

Following the BC-IG meeting, BCIG and O-A board members met for a two-hour work session to discuss BC-IG’s proposed facility plan and future sharing issues. No action was taken during the session, however, it was the consensus of the group to draw up a survey for the public and to seek conceptual drawings for improvements and additions at the high school and BC-IG Elementary. All board members were present for the workshop.

At the BC-IG board’s workshop last week, the board favored moving forward with a large bond issue that, if passed, would add a fine arts center and renovations onto the high school, classrooms and a new gym onto the BC-IG Elementary. The BC-IG board also favors moving the middle school back to Ida Grove and moving fourth and fifth grades and alternate high school to Odebolt.

Superintendent Nick Ouellette opened the session by stating “It is hard for either district to look at facilities without knowing long-term plans.” He added that the current BC-IG Elementary needs more classrooms if configurations stay the same. He said both districts are at a standstill short term and long term, yet they are still best staying together. The districts are currently in a whole-grade sharing arrangement and not officially reorganized.

Naomi Lozier asked if there is any interest in reorganization. She commented that the districts are like an “engaged couple” not moving forward.

Joey Hoefling said he received “many” phone calls from O-A patrons who read about the BC-IG workshop and were against moving middle school students. “More than half our facility would not be utilized then,” he said.

Jeff Rasmussen asked, “What is there to be upset about? Becoming centrally located is best for everyone in the district.”

Paul Neumann commented that currently the high school and middle schools are full, so he did not favor a change now. Eventually we will all it in one building with decreasing enrollment, but now it is working, he added. “We are sitting here representing the Odebolt community and they are not in favor of giving up their middle school.”

Tracy Bengford commented that BC-IG is “slowly taking away from us and we aren’t even consolidated.”

Brian Riessen said facility improvements are pushing BC-IG to make changes now. If the proposed bond would pass, BC-IG could do no more major projects for 20 years and would need the O-A building.

The BC-IG board recommended a survey, which would show that many patrons want the middle school back in Ida Grove. They noted that a survey would take the “emotion” out of the decision for board members.

Ouellette commented that neither district would be better alone. Both boards need to compromise and neither district will get everything they want, he said. He said he hears “both sides of the spectrum” from both districts.

Rasmussen noted the survey should offer the option of having the middle school in Ida Grove, knowing O-A may pull out of the sharing agreement if that happens.

Jill Godbersen said “it is smart” for the boards to get public feedback through a survey.

Ouellette said the more information you have up front, the smoother it will go. He added that “what it will cost should take a backseat” to what the communities want.

Rasmussen said he strongly favored getting the high school and middle school centralized and getting set up for the future. He said it will save money for everyone.

Stephanie Konradi said she wanted to see architectural drawings before doing a survey so the public can see what is proposed.

Tony Bennett said he does not want to see BC-IG become a small 1A school. “That’s what we will be without O-A.” Dropping the sharing agreement will mean a cut in offerings and opportunities for both districts, he added.

Ouellette reminded the board to not take discussions personally. “It is not personal at this table. We are representing constituents and, hopefully, doing what’s best for kids. If we can’t continue to talk about this, it goes downhill.”

After more discussion on various scenarios and class configurations, the BC-IG board agreed to move forward with getting project drawings and both boards agreed to start on a survey asking about middle school options.

The boards will meet again in regular session next Monday, April 14, 6:30 p. m., at Odebolt.

The BC-IG board met in closed session following the workshop to discuss contract negotiations strategies.

O-A/BC-IGHS students to present ‘Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon’
The Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove High School will present “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon” this Saturday, April 12, at 7 p. m., in the Bart Ogden Gymnasium in Odebolt.

The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm are turned on their heads as two narrators and several actors attempt to combine all 209 stories, ranging from classics like “Snow White,” “Cinderella and “Hansel and Gretel” to more obscure stories like “The Devil’s Grandmother” and “The Girl Without Hands.” 

Easter Egg Hunts planned
Arthur - The Arthur Easter egg hunt will be Saturday, April 19, beginning at 10 a. m. Participants can meet at the Arthur Library.

Odebolt - The O-A Richland Robins 4-H Club will host the Odebolt Easter egg hunt on Saturday, April 19, 10 a. m., at the Odebolt Nursing and Rehab Center (ONRC). Age groups will be zero-to three-year-olds, four-to six-year-olds and seven-to nine-year-olds.

ONRC is also sponsoring a coloring contest. Pages can be picked up at the nursing home, Odebolt businesses and churches.

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