NEH to purchase new school bus

Surveys mailed to district patons to seek preferences for attendance centers

The Northeast Hamilton School Board approved the purchase of a new 72-passenger bus at its regular meeting Thursday night in Blairsburg.

The board received two bids for consideration, reported Superintendent Mike Kruger. The new bus will replace two older vehicles in the district’s fleet. The winning bid was awarded to School Bus Sales for the purchase of the Bluebird bus totaling $101,924. Prior to the bid, Kruger outlined items on the school’s wish list and noted that after the bus purchase, the district would still have an account balance of $375,450.

The meeting was the first as superintendent for NEH Principal Mike Kruger who is now also serving as the superintendent of both the NEH and Stratford Community schools. Directors present were Eric Patterson, Marlin Pruismann, Sara Zorn and Tyler Burton. Director Sally Greenfield was absent.

NEH School Board President Eric Patterson reported on the interim board meeting on which he serves as a representative of the the NEH district. The board was established after Webster City Community School District and NEH district patrons voted to reorganize last year.

Patterson told the board that he anticipates that the NEH campus will be utilized by the Webster City district, possibly as soon as the 2019-2020 school year. Kruger reported that a survey has been emailed to district patrons which asks the preference of site attendance.

“We don’t want people to think we are not concerned about where their kids go,” said Kruger, who noted the combined districts are looking at projected numbers several years in the future. “We’d like NEH to be an option.”

Regarding another interim board topic, Patterson said that Webster City Superintendent Dr. Mandy Ross has been briefed on the success of the Mighty Trojan Day Care and NEH’s desire to continue to offer the service at the Blairsburg campus.

Kruger reported on the summer facility projects and noted that electrical work and flooring will be done before the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. The air conditioning, window and roof for Old Main has been approved and the district is waiting for FEH Design to proceed with the projects, said Kruger. The greenhouse will soon be completed and it is hoped that it will be available for viewing during the open house on Aug. 16.

In administrative reports, Kruger said that a lightening strike has disrupted the school’s HVAC system and the controls will need to be replaced.

Kruger also announced the dates for important events leading up to the beginning of the new school year. Registration will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 14 from noon – 6 p.m. in the main hallway. On Thursday, Aug. 16, the school will host an Open House from 4 to 6 p.m. Teachers will also have a full day of service on Aug. 16.

The first day of school will be Thursday, Aug. 23 with the traditional flag raising ceremony at approximately 8:15 a.m. There are two early-out days scheduled on Aug. 23 and 24, Kruger said.

The board approved the Teacher Leader and Compensation contracts for Kim Schimp and Tammy Massman for Instructional Coaches and for Janelle Oakland for a Model Teacher.

A $50,000 interfund loan at the rate of 1.45 percent for the school food service was also approved. Traditionally, the district loans the funds to the food service account every year and it is paid back at the end of the fiscal school year. This loan will be repaid by June 30, 2019.

The board approved a contract with Iowa School Finance Information Services at the cost of $2,000 for the 2018-2019 school year. The service provides budget and financial guidance to school districts throughout Iowa.

The board approved the North Central Consortium contact for the upcoming school year. The consortium includes 21 schools and offers services to both boys and girls in grades 3-12. The cost of the contract is $28,000. If the NEH district does not use the services, the fee will be refunded minus the $5,000 lease fee.

The board established its legislative priorities for the 2018-2019 school year as requested by the Iowa School Board Association. Those priorities include preschool funding, early literacy, mental health and supplemental state aid.

In introducing the new student handbook, Kruger told the board the only changes include coordinating school calendars and schedules with Webster City CSD and adjusting the staff evaluation cycle to every three years.

Work session topics were determined for the upcoming year and will include goal setting and student achievement. Additional ideas will be discussed at the August board meeting.

In his report, Kruger said that the school custodians are on schedule for completing tasks for the upcoming year. NEH custodian/bus driver Cody Crouch has also received both his CDL and heating systems maintenance certification.

The next meeting will be held on Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. in the NEH Elementary Media Center.