Saturday, October 18, 2014

Courier news

Courtesy of the 10-16-14 edition of Ida County Courier.  www.idacountycourier.comMembers will touch base with Schaller-Crestland, East Sac—O-A board tackles agreement concerns

The whole-grade sharing agreement was the main topic at the O-A School Board meeting Monday. Approximately 60 individuals attended the meeting.

At the conclusion of the discussion and public comments, the general consensus of the board was to send letters to each Schaller-Crestland and East Sac board member and each district’s office asking if they have any interest in discussing possible future sharing arrangements and setting a deadline for a response.

Superintendent Nick Ouellette was also directed to have the O-A and BCIG attorneys prepare a draft whole-grade sharing agreement.

Public comments

Whitney Simonson asked what the argument is about, where is BC-IG with its new building, do they or don’t they want to move the seventh/ eighth grade to Ida Grove and where does O-A stand? “Change is hard—sharing is not a problem for the kids— if changes are too dramatic, maybe the board needs to look further.”

Dorothy Evans read a prepared statement suggesting the board start at square one—start all over. She suggested looking at East Sac and Schaller-Crestland as sharing partners. She also feels G-H intimidated S-C and that BC-IG negated the whole-grade sharing agreement when they said they want their sixth graders back in Ida Grove.

Brad Lundell said he likes how sixth through eighth grade is working. “I like the middle school separate from the high school and I support a two-or three-year agreement.” He asked Ouellette for his opinion on the current arrangement.

Ouellette said, “I’ve told both boards I like the current arrangement.”

“I’m here because I want to know what’s going on. We want to stay the way we are. We have a great building here,” said Stacy Raasch. Raasch said she has a young daughter attending school at Odebolt and doesn’t want her future middle school student around high school students.

Rose Schultz had signed up to speak, but said everything she wanted to say had been said.

Todd Bengford said, “One thing I can see since the conception of the whole-grade sharing is our school board is bullied by the BCIG Board. This bothers me really bad. Certain members, past and present, sit there and take it. You haven’t stood up for us. I like the middle school here.” He suggested that from this point the board should do its best to stand up for our school, our towns and the people who live here and to explore every avenue.

Ouellette asked the board “Where do we go from here? Both boards are very close.” Neither board wants more than a two-year agreement; has no desire to change the mascot, name or colors; and agrees the termination clause should be 12 to 18 months, not the current 20 days.

“BC-IG has dropped its push to move the middle school. We can’t have threats from either side; we can’t operate like this. If it’s good, make it permanent; if not, do something else,” said Ouellette.

Board member Naomi Lozier said she is against separate board meetings and that the communities need to pull together—“differences need to be worked on and move ahead.”

“BC-IG is a good choice but we need to do some ironing out,” said board member Paul Neumann.

Bengford commented that it wasn’t “an easy decision when we did whole-grade sharing. I do want to continue to share in the same configuration.”

Joey Hoefling said why would the districts talk about reorganization when they can’t even agree on whole-grade sharing. “We wouldn’t be here if we weren’t approached in February to move the middle school. We need to look at all the options. Our goal is to provide quality education for our students. I’m not for reorganization now. I don’t have a problem with the current configuration.”

Ouellette told Hoefling he was right and suggested Joey Hoefling and Pat Hoefling go talk to the Schaller-Crestland board. “You are credible. If they say no, then we know.”

If the board meets with East Sac or Schaller-Crestland, Ouellette suggested sending them a list of questions to be answered, including: financial condition, solvency ratio, what are their plans for their buildings, will they have to close a building if they share with O-A, do they have a voter-approved PPEL, what is their current tax rate, do they carry any debt and what are they willing to share?

“I like the way things are,” said Ouellette. “The kids don’t have a stable situation. We need to fix what we have or go our separate ways.”

Ouellette also commented that unless the board fully looks at Schaller-Crestland and East Sac, it would always be out there that the board didn’t ask.

At the recommendation of Ouellette, the board approved purchasing a new engine for bus #3 and a used 2012 bus from Hogland Bus Company.

Bus #3 is a route bus with approximately 160,000 miles on it. Pat and Travis Reis told Ouellette they felt the bus was worth installing a $17,000 to $18,000 Caterpillar engine.

Cost of the used bus with 50,000 miles on its odometer is $50,000, which includes delivery, safety inspection and lettering.

Ouellette’s report included information on the recent school audit. He told the board it was a good audit and highlighted various minor issues, such as disaster recovery plan, segregation of duties and nutrition fund negative balances over $100. Ouellette said he doesn’t want to deny students a meal and the district makes a concerted effort to collect the overdue lunch balances.

Ouellette also reported the bus barn doors are installed, Hemer’s Plumbing and Heating has started on the gym HVAC system, work will start later this month on the loading dock, he’s visited 65 of the 95 classrooms, there has been positive parent feedback and it looks like the certified enrollment numbers for O-A will be down one and up four for BC-IG.

Alicia Nelson gave a math curriculum presentation for K-12. She noted this is the second year for the new curriculum and students are making good progress.

Jason Wulf was hired as a middle school wrestling coach.

O-A will hold a sale of miscellaneous equipment and furniture Saturday, Oct. 25, from 8 to 11 a. m., at the bus barn.

Smokehouse: Odebolt-Arthur Elementary students toured the Odebolt fire station Thursday during National Fire Prevention Week. Students third through fifth grade toured the Region V Fire Department smokehouse. Here, Odebolt-Arthur fifth grader Zach Hemer exits the smokehouse.

The smokehouse simulates a house filled with smoke and teaches students the proper way to exit a burning building.

The students observed unsafe situations in the kitchen and fireplace and experienced touching a warm door. (Courier photo by Deb Loger)

Driver’s license locations
Ida Grove—Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a. m. to 4 p. m., at the courthouse.
Sac City—Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:30 a. m. to 4 p. m., at the courthouse.
Storm Lake—Monday through Friday, 8:30 a. m. to 4 p. m., at courthouse.
Carroll—Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 a. m. to 5 p. m., and Saturday, 8 a. m. to 1 p. m., at 510 N. Carroll St., Ste. 1.
Cherokee—Monday Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 a. m. to 4 p. m., and Tuesday, 8:30 a. m. to 4 p. m., courthouse.

All testing needs to start no later than one hour before closing.

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