Friday, January 23, 2015

Courier news

Courtesy of the 1-21-15 edition of Ida County Courier (

Ministerial Association Soup on Sunday
The Odebolt-Arthur-Kiron Ministerial (OAK) Association is sponsoring Soup on Sunday (SOS) events at Kiron and Odebolt in January, February and March. This is a free meal, and all are welcome.

On Jan. 25, from 4:30 to 6 p. m., the first Odebolt SOS will be held at the First Presbyterian Church. Everyone is invited to the Methodist Church following the supper for a movie and fellowship at 6:30 p. m.

OAK Association churches include Kiron Baptist, St. John Lutheran and Bethel Lutheran of Kiron and Faith Lutheran, First Presbyterian, St. Martin Catholic, United Methodist and Trinity Lutheran churches of Odebolt; and the Arthur Evangelical Free Church.

O-A board discusses sharing issues

The O-A School Board discussed the whole-grade sharing agreement and class size during its meeting Jan. 13, 2015.

Superintendent Nick Ouelette told the board his recommendation would be to continue whole-grade sharing with BC-IG, staying as close to the original agreement as possible. “The best plan is O-A/ BC-IG with three buildings, two in Ida Grove and one here, with sixth through eighth at Odebolt and ninth through 12 in Ida Grove,” said Ouellette.

Ouelette based his recommendation on correspondence from the Schaller-Crestland School Board and East Sac County School District.

In its letter, the Schaller-Crestland School Board stated: “We recently completed two joint, Ridge View, community meetings and completed a community survey on our relationship with Galva-Holstein. Currently, our relationship, with Galva-Holstein, is one of mutual ‘sharing,’ and we are hopeful that this relationship will continue and become stronger. As long as our relationship, with Galva-Holstein, remains one of mutual ‘sharing,’ we do not anticipate seeking alternative partners.

“The Schaller-Crestland Board of Education is interested in having a two-on-two meeting with members of your board. At this time, we are not interested in a full board, video-streamed meeting but would like to keep the communication lines with your district open. We do see many places and/ or opportunities where communities and/or school districts working together can enhance opportunities for our communities and enhance the experiences of our youth. Therefore, we would be pleased to meet with you to discuss any number of subjects to include the engagement of children and challenges faced by our communities and rural schools.”

Ouellette recommended the board not meet two on two with Schaller-Crestland School Board representatives, stating it’s not in the best interest to have meetings that aren’t open to the public.

East Sac County School District indicated they were only interested in a one-way share, where O-A students attended classes at East Sac Schools.

In the Dec. 15 East Sac County board minutes, it stated, “The board agreed last month to meet with the Odebolt-Arthur CSD Board of Education to discuss possible sharing and future plans of each district. Further communications from Odebolt-Arthur CSD inquired if East Sac County (ESC) CSD would entertain discussions regarding two-way sharing (O-A would send students to ESC and, in return, ESC would send students to O-A). The consensus of the board was that, although they are interested in sharing discussions, they are not interested in sending students to O-A at this time.”

Ouellette would like to see joint board meetings, a joint vision for both districts and the boards to start the path to reorganization, keeping sixth through eighth at Odebolt and high school at Ida Grove.

Board members Naomi Lozier and Paul Neumann said they agreed with Ouellette’s recommendation.

Joey Hoefling commented that the boards need to meet jointly to negotiate the whole-grade sharing agreement and should meet jointly to set goals for O-A/BC-IG. “The boards need to look at our facilities and develop what our facility priorities are for the next 10 years. The termination clause in the whole-grade sharing agreement needs to be addressed.”

Pat Hoefling commented that minds have been changed so many times in a year; it’s confusing for everyone.

The overall consensus of the board seemed to be to return to joint board meetings.

O-A Elementary/O-A/BCIG Middle School Principal Doug Mogensen presented information on current class sizes/sections and plans for 2015-16 class sizes/sections.

Currently, there are 11 sections for PK through fifth grade: PK/AK— five students, one section; kindergarten— 27 students, two sections; first grade—15 students, one section; second grade—27 students, two sections; third grade—27 students, two sections; fourth grade—28 students, two sections; and fifth grade—18 students, one section.

The proposal presented for next year calls for nine sections: PK—10 students, one section; AK/kindergarten—22 students, one section; first grade—27 students, two sections; second grade—15 students, one section; third grade—25 students, one section; fourth grade—31 students, two sections; and fifth grade—30 students, one section.

The proposal for fifth grade would utilize four teachers by increasing FTEs for some teachers.

Ouellette stressed it isn’t a budget issue. It’s an effort to align students and staff more efficiently and not as drastic as having a multiple-age class.

He did comment that it looks like the district will overspend its budget by $72,000 this year. He said, “We have reserves in the bank. We don’t want to deplete our savings.”

Mogensen reported the projected numbers for the middle school are similar to the current year at 70 in sixth grade, 82 in seventh grade and 86 in eighth grade. He said, “This gives our core teachers each a full load of six classes of 20-25 students, a prep and a period for TEAM.”

The Affordable Care Act resolution and the Sac County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan were approved.

Approval was granted to purchase a new bus from Hogland Bus Company. Ouellette told the board the district is eligible for a $20,000 EPA rebate to purchase a new bus. The rebate stipulates that the old bus has to be destroyed. Holes will be drilled in the engine block and pictures taken to receive the rebate.

The second reading of the 700 series board policies was approved.

The board approved the disposal of the red Chevy Lumina minivan to Schau’s Salvage for the salvage rate. The van has more than 200,000 miles on it and needs major repairs.

O-A PK/AK teacher Reeann Marra and BC-IG preschool teacher Timi Wunschel gave a curriculum presentation on the two districts’ alternate kindergarten, pre-kindergarten and KEY (Kindergarten Enrichment Year) programs.

Vicki Beckman spoke during public comments, asking the board to consider putting structures in place that would allow graduating students to obtain their associate degree at the same time they receive their high school diploma.

“Emily will graduate with 30 extra credits; it would be nice if she could graduate with an associate degree,” said Beckman. Beckman reported other districts have structures in place, allowing associate degrees for college AP classes.

The board received updates on the gym heating/cooling project, cold spots in the school, the loading dock project, allowable growth and the early start calendar situation.

New Highway 20 Book
A new book, "Along Iowa's Historic Highway 20" written by a retired university professor from Independence, Michael Till, provides an unprecedented look through the use of more than 200 vintage postcards into the development, contributions and memories associated with the Iowa sections of this thoroughfare.
View some pages of the book at google books
Available for sale at

Derelict building grant applications due Feb. 27
Small rural communities looking for assistance to help renovate or deconstruct abandoned commercial and public structures can apply for funding through the Derelict Building Grant Program.

Applications for the next round of funding are due at 4 p. m. on Feb. 27.

Instituted by state legislation to help rural communities with populations of 5,000 or less to deconstruct or renovate abandoned commercial and public structures, the Derelict Building Grant Program emphasizes reuse and recycling of building items, helps improve street appearance and commercial development and alleviates the environmental concern these buildings can pose.

Financial assistance includes asbestos removal, building deconstruction and renovation and other inspections and environmental site assessments.

Funding is awarded annually on a competitive basis. A committee from the Iowa DNR, Iowa Society of Solid Waste Operations, Iowa Recycling Association, Iowa Economic Development Authority and Keep Iowa Beautiful selects the projects for funding.

More information about the grant program, application forms and resources are available at .

Last year, 13 deconstruction/ renovation projects were completed. The cities of Buffalo, Early, Marcus, Slater and Zearing carried over from the previous grant round, while the cities of Bridgewater, Glidden, Hedrick, Imogene, Osceola, Protivin and the East Greene Consolidated School District were 2014 grantees that completed their projects.

The projects combined diverted an average of 83 percent of waste from the land ill. In total, more than 5,664 tons of construction and demolition materials (wood, brick, concrete, metal, etc.) were diverted from area land ills, providing a savings exceeding $150,000 for the projects completed in 2014.

‘Darkness to Light’ program set for Jan. 29
One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Darkness to Light Stewards of Children is a prevention training that empowers and educates adults how to prevent, recognize and react to child sexual abuse.

It is especially helpful for youth-serving organizations, churches and parents in that it offers tools to talk to your children about this important topic and teaches safety measures you can put into place in your homes, organizations and communities.

All adults are invited to attend a free community training on Thursday, Jan. 29, from 1 –3:15 p. m., at the Ida Grove Public Library, 100 E. Second St., Ida Grove. For more information or to register for the training, contact Kristi Neumann (Sexual Abuse Prevention Education Specialist from CAASA) at or 712-732-8120.

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