NEH Board hears opening day report

Kruger:?‘Numbers are looking good with preschool’

BLAIRSBURG — The Northeast Hamilton School Board heard opening day reports and appointed district representatives for the 2018-2019 school year at its regular meeting on Thursday in Blairsburg.

Superintendent/Principal Mike Kruger told the board that the year is off to a good start with students gathering around the flagpole for the traditional first day ceremony.

Kruger noted that preschool students will begin classes on Wednesday, Aug. 29 and three-year-old students will begin class on Thursday, Aug. 30.

“The numbers are looking good with preschool,” said Kruger who noted several new families have petitioned to open enroll their students at NEH. Later in the meeting, the board approved the open enrollment requests for three new preschool students to attend NEH for the 2018-2019 school year.

Kruger complimented the custodial staff on the building and classroom preparation for the new year.  He also voiced his appreciation to retired NEH custodian Paul Christensen for returning for the opening day ceremony and walking new custodian/bus driver Cody Crouch through his first day duties.

The first monthly transportation report was received by board members from Webster City Community School District Director of Transportation, Ted Larson.  In addition, Kruger said that the new Bluebird bus has been ordered and is expected to be delivered in November.

Following the recommendation of Kruger, the board approved to designate Kathy Biere as board secretary and she was then sworn in by NEH School Board President Eric Patterson.  The board also approved Danielle Jess Haindfield of the law firm Ahlers & Cooney of Des Moines as the district’s legal counsel.  Named the district’s financial depositories were Iowa Joint Investment Trust for $1 million in deposits and Iowa Falls State Bank for $3 million in deposits.

The district has met with representatives of FEH Design and Peterson Construction and the target dates for the facility projects have been set, said Kruger.  The roof work on Old Main will begin in late September and is expected to take 5-8 days.  Replacement of the windows and installation of the A/C system will take between 4-5 weeks and are expected to be completed by late November.  Additionally, the new security cameras and phone system are currently being installed, reported Kruger.  The district is still in negotiations with the insurance company over the cost of the replacement fire panel which was damaged in April.

Kruger reported that the district received an additional $71,548 in SILO funding due to an accounting error by Piper Jaffray.

Board President Eric Patterson reported on the Webster City/NEH Interim Board meeting.  The interim board is awaiting the attendance survey results and will also conduct an enrollment trend study which will look at enrollment projections and utility and transportation costs.

The report by Amy Pruismann, Director of Mighty Trojan Childcare, showed seven more students have enrolled in the day care program and the infant room has reached its capacity.  Kruger told the board that more staff has been hired to accommodate the additional children.

Pruismann is also applying for a grant from the State of Iowa’s Child Care WAGE$ IOWA and the Iowa Association for Education for Young Children.  The grant would supplement the salary of childcare employees, depending on their level of formal education.  The maximum stipend offered would be $3,500 annually, reported Kruger.

In a related topic, Kruger reported that a representative of Iowa’s Child Care Resource & Referral agency has toured the Mighty Trojan Childcare facility and is impressed with the center and its expansion.  

“People from other agencies are noticing and looking to NEH as a model,” said Kruger.  

NEH also initiated an after-school program several years ago after an assessment survey indicated the need for such a program, said Kruger. As of Aug. 23, the program has 17 students enrolled. The program offers students a snack within a safe environment to do homework, play and do crafts. Kim Cavanagh is the program director and Pam Swenson is an associate.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” said Kruger.

NEH was awarded $13,391 for the Early Literacy Grant program Succession Progression for Early Readers, reported Kruger.

The dates for the informal joint board meetings for Webster City, Stratford and NEH will be Monday, October 8, Wednesday, January 16 and Thursday, April 25.  Two board members from each district will attend the meeting.

The next meeting will be held on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m.