Board hears report on new school year

Community invited to open houses to meet new WC?superintendent

Dr. Mandy Ross, new Webster City superintendent of schools, told the school board Monday night things are on track for the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Ross said new teachers are currently in training sessions and returning staff members will be back on Monday to prepare for the first day of school on Thursday, Aug. 23. She added that there will be two-hour early dismissals on the first two days of class for professional development sessions.

“It looks like right now that registration is pretty much on track with last year,” she said. “We don’t have exact numbers because there are still some registrations trickling in. So until we see kids in chairs, we’ll just go with it for the time being.”

She outlined some of the building changes that had taken place over the summer. The elementary schools have had lighting updates and there is new carpeting at the middle school.

“It’s amazing what new carpet does for a place,” she said. “It just looks completely different in my opinion.”

She added that an old heat pump in the southeast parking lot of the high school still needs to be replaced as the leaking pipe could cause heating problems in the winter months.

Ross explained that the district internet, website and email was down for several days as a result of the Aug. 4 storms. The severe weather knocked out the servers and power at the high school.

“Those sat unrestarted for a while and through a chain of unique events, we were down in the water,” she said. Mark Murphy, technology director, worked with HP officials to get the system back online.

“By Aug. 10, everything was back up,” she said. “We’ll be looking at ways to alleviate those issues if the need arises in the future.”

Two open house events to give the community an opportunity to meet Ross are planned for this week. On Thursday, an open house will be held at Mornin’ Glory Coffee Shop from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and a second event is planned for ACE Community Center on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend.

The board also approved a $1 million loan with First State Bank to pay for expenses until the first tax payment is received. Board Secretary Cathi Hildebrand said the action is one that has been taken for the past several years.

“It’s just a short term loan. We get it in August to get us over the hump with our last payroll of the summer,” Hildebrand said. “Then when we get the first big tax payment in October, we pay that back.”

In other business, the board approved contracts for four individuals. Melissa Lammers was hired as a fifth grade teacher and Mavis Chen was hired as a para-educator. Bill Bertran will serve as the head eighth grade football coach and Eric Dawson will serve as the assistant seventh grade football coach.