JEWELL - It was a very lengthy meeting for the South Hamilton school board on Wednesday evening when it met in regular session but on a different night due to a scheduling conflict.
One agenda item that required time and discussion was consideration of the school's retirement policy. In looking at the general fund, the issue was the retirement bonus that goes to all staff with at least 20 years of service in the district. In the past, the retirement bonus has been offered every year.
For professional staff, the amount is based on their place in the salary schedule, while for support staff the bonus is 40 percent of their last year's salary.
Commenting on the veteran teachers, Superintendent Tim Johnson said, "I think we are truly blessed with some great teachers here in the last part of their career. This is not about individuals at all."
Board member Marie Johnson encouraged the board to offer the bonus for retiring teachers.
"When we have people in this district who have put in this time for the district, I don't see why we would begrudge them this incentive," she said.
In the end, board members approved offering the retirement program for the 2012-2013 school year.
Rick Young of Jewell, a member of the SHHS class of 1971, was a visitor at Wednesday's meeting requesting permission from the board to move ahead with upgrading the base for the school's victory bell, which will be relocated. The bell is in honor of L. K. Ryan, an educator in both the Jewell and South Hamilton schools for 44 years. The board OK'd the project.
Young also encouraged the board to consider placing a plaque at the school in honor of Raymond Johnson, South Hamilton business manager when the South Hamilton school district was formed and for some years after.
Other visitors Wednesday were new teachers in the district, who were there to introduce themselves to the board: Tom Klaver, 9-12 Band; Jolene Schaefer, 7-12 vocal music; Tyler Schaefer, history; Leif Segan, high school science; and Kathy Thelke, 7-12 family and consumer science.
Klaver also outlined details of the high school band and choir trip to Chicago planned for April 2013. There are 106 students who plan to attend, along with 12 chaperones. The school has no financial responsibility for the trip, which is funded through fundraisers and a fee of approximately $150 to each student.
The completion of the kitchen/commons remodel and expansion project was reviewed by the board. The project is substantially completed so food can be prepared and served there, but the board is unhappy with the final completion of the entire project. Liquidated damages are accruing at $1,000 per day.
In other business, the board again looked at how to finance Fruit in the Schools now that the grant for that program has run out. The program costs about $10,000 per year, or $25 per student. They will continue to investigate other options for funding. Fruit will be supplied periodically as finances allow.
Secondary Principal Scott Dryer reviewed with the board details of a field trip to the Iowa Hall of Pride being planned for grades 7 and 8 in November. The focus is on leadership training.
Applications submitted by three high school students interested in being the new student representative to the school board were reviewed. Junior McKayla Monthei will be the new representative.
Also on Wednesday, the board approved Chris Hall and Jolene Schaefer as middle school student council advisors and approved Kris Gustafson and Kara Sloan to coach junior high girls basketball.
The board was informed that Champion Seed has committed to pay for the new concession stand window door.
Board goals for the 2012-13 school year were adopted on Wednesday.
The meeting ended in closed session for superintendent evaluation.