The Webster City CSD and Northeast Hamilton CSD met in a joint meeting Tuesday night to preview the proposed sharing contract for the 2012-2013 school year.
On March 8, the Northeast Hamilton School Board voted to rescind its sharing partnership agreement with South Hamilton schools and then voted to enter into negotiations with the Webster City district.
On Tuesday night, the boards of the newly proposed sharing partners met at the Webster City Public School administration building to preview the proposed contract, school calendar, presentation of classes and extra curriculum programs.
It was only an informational meeting and no action was taken by either board. The Northeast Hamilton School Board will review and vote on the contract at its April 12 meeting while Webster City will consider the contract at its April 23 meeting.
Webster City School Board President Pam Hayes opened the meeting with a welcome to the public and the NEH School Board. The floor was then opened for public comment, but no attending patrons wished to address the boards.
Hayes asked NEH Superintendent Andrew Woiwood to review the shared 2012-2013 school calendar.
Woiwood reported that both school calendars were easily coordinated. Both schools will begin on Aug. 21 and end on May 29, 2013.
The schools will share professional development days and spring break from March 18-22, said Woiwood. NEH Parent/Teacher conferences will
work around the Webster City schedule on Nov. 1 and 2.
Superintendent Mike Sherwood said that Webster City schools altered its spring break
to coordinate with NEH and also align with Iowa Central Community College and other Iowa regent universities.
Before reviewing the contract, Sherwood reported that the agreement went through three revisions before the negotiating teams from both schools agreed to the contract.
"I think what we have is a fine product," said Sherwood, who noted that both districts share the same law firm of Ahlers and Cooney, which helped negotiate the contract.
The contract will initially be for a two-year period with a one year term for each subsequent year, reported Woiwood. The contract can be terminated anytime by mutual agreement with a six-month notice.
The contract pertains to students in grades 9-12. It excludes NEH students who are open enrolling out of the district but includes students who are open enrolling into the Northeast Hamilton district.
The students in grades 9-10 will participate in three classes periods per day while juniors and seniors will take four classes daily.
Calculating the funding for eight class periods daily and based on the state cost per pupil of $6,001, the tuition rate for NEH students for the 2012-13 school year will be $375 per pupil for each class period. This is an agreement base of $3,000.50 or 50 percent of per pupil cost. The rate will increase to 60 percent for the 2013-14 school year with state cost per pupil and Allowable Growth funding available.
Although additional staff is not needed at the present time, any additional staffing costs for this partnership would be assumed by NEH.
Sherwood assured the boards that current staffing for the sharing partnership was adequate.
Northeast Hamilton assumes the responsibility for transporting students to and from the Webster City campus. The exception will be that in the case of field trips and extracurricular or academic programs associated with the school day. Then all costs and responsibilities will be carried by Webster City.
Each school will carry a $1 million liability insurance policy. The contract also included an indemnity/hold harmless clause for each district. Another contract clause addressed the issue of discipline. NEH students will follow the rules outlined in the Webster City student handbook. Any potential disciplinary hearings will be conducted by the Northeast Hamilton school board using the Webster City disciplinary policies and rules.
Three joint board meetings between Webster City, Northeast Hamilton and Stratford will be held each year with a rotating host site. Two board members and one administrator from each district is expected to be present.
The contract also calls for a standing committee consisting of two school board representatives from each school district to take part in arbitration, if needed.
Webster City High School Principal John Elkin and Northeast Hamilton Principal Patrick Hocking presented the class offerings.
625 students total
With a combined total of 625 students, 500 received their first choice in class offerings, according to Elkin.
He said that the biggest conflict in class scheduling was classes which shared the same room.
Band will be offered first and fifth period to accommodate all students, said Elkin. This will alleviate schedule conflicts for students taking Iowa Central Community College courses, also, he said.
"This is not a novel idea," said Elkin, as the concept had been explored previously before by the two schools. He thanked the staff for being flexible while the schedule was developed.
Engineering classes are also being "tweaked" to accommodate students, he said.
Hocking said that scheduling for ag courses is also being fine tuned.
Hocking said all NEH parents will be receiving a letter which outlines the scheduling process for grades 9-12.
He noted that in the first semester, 32 college level courses are being offered to NEH students in addition to having French I and Spanish I available to the students.
Hocking also reported that in order to coordinate with Webster City's daily schedule, the NEH school day will be adjusted. The district is considering that busses arrive at the Blairsburg school by 7:50 a.m. and depart for Webster City at 7:55 a.m.
"Our hats are off to the guidance department and staff from both districts," said Hocking on the consolidated effort.
Extracurricular programs will remain separate with the possible exception of wrestling, said Woiwood. If any NEH students express an interest in soccer, the boards will revisit that possibility in the future, he said.
Hocking suggested that the two schools may consider combining their FFA programs.
Sherwood proposed that the schools host an open house to be scheduled near the opening of the school year, possibility in early August, so that parents could tour the campus and meet with the staff.
Each school district must approve the contract and agreement. Both schools are expected to consider the sharing partnership documents at the regularly scheduled April meetings.