JEWELL - School calendar issues were on the agenda for the school board at South Hamilton when they met in regular session Monday evening.
With the legal start date for schools in Iowa set for August 26, school districts can apply for an early start date waiver. According to Superintendent Tim Johnson, some 92 to 93 percent of Iowa schools apply for a waiver and start before Aug. 26. Practices for fall sports will start Aug. 12, 2013.
There will be a public hearing on the matter at the Jan. 14 board meeting.
In another calendar issue, the board reviewed four options for the 2013-14 school calendar. The focus is on completing the first semester before the holiday break in December. The board has asked teachers to indicate which calendar they prefer of the four options available- with a start date of Aug. 15 or Aug. 22 and either a three-day or a five-day spring break - and plans to address the issue again at their next meeting.
Also under discussion at Monday's meeting were concerns about school colors, as input has been received from community members that too much black is being used with the school colors of cardinal and white. The board voted that all uniforms will be approved by the athletic director and consist of only cardinal and white, with a slight accent of black.
A visitor at Monday's meeting was Lori Kautzky of National Insurance Services, who was there to discuss with the board a retirement special pay plan her company offers. According to Kautzky, the plan would save both the district and employees FICA, at 7.65 percent for the district and 5.65 percent for the employee.
In a related matter, the board looked at a retirement program for administrators. In order to be consistent with other employees, administrators must have at least fifteen years of service at South Hamilton to qualify. The board approved placing the retiring employees' money in the special pay plan, as presented by Kautzky.
In his report to the board, elementary principal Paul Hemphill said that a book order for $10,000 for library books has been placed. The books are funded through a $97,000 bequest from long-time South Hamilton middle school teacher Deb Witte, who passed away a year ago. In her will she left $97,000 to the elementary for classroom and library books. Another $97,000 went to the high school to be used for scholarships. The interest from that gift will fund one college scholarship annually for a South Hamilton graduate who plans to become a teacher.
Following up on an issue first taken up at their November meeting, the board approved a bid of $13,400 from Classic Design of Jewell for new trophy cases. Work will proceed on the project. Pioneer will donate $5,000 for the trophy cases.
Personnel matters on the agenda were approving Mindy Gray as assistant speech coach. Volunteer coaches approved are Doug Hatch and Sam Groves, wrestling, and Tyler Schafer, girls basketball.
After adjourning the meeting Monday evening, the board and the superintendent went on a walking tour of the high school building to assess needs there.