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Board hears initial contract proposals

Hearing set on issuance of tax revenue bonds

The Webster City school board heard the initial contract proposals from the two school unions Monday night. The board met in person at the school administration building and the public was able to join the meeting via Zoom.

Trish Bahrenfuss, representing the Webster City Education Association, read a statement on behalf of the teachers union before offering the proposal to the board.

“I want to take a moment to acknowledge the challenges we have faced this school year,” she said. “The past months have been unlike anything any of us have ever expected. We realize that our proposal cannot take us back to life before the pandemic, just as we realize that granting this will not immediately remove the challenges we will continue to face with COVID-19.”

Bahrenfuss said the teaching staff said the contract request would serve as a means to acknowledge “the hard and impressive work” union members have put in during the pandemic to provide the best education possible for area students.

“To our association this process is much more than just salary and benefits. It is ensuring we have the best and brightest educators working for our students. It is ensuring that our students have the best possible environment to reach their highest potential.

“It is ensuring all of us as professionals are treated as such,” she said.

Bahrenfuss said working together through the pandemic has helped everyone deal with those issues and the uncertainties.

“It is our hope that we continue to work in that same manner to reach an agreement that acknowledges the work our members have done and continue to do on behalf of their students and the community,” she said.

The teachers’ proposal called for a 5.11 percent total package increase, including a base increase of $1,200. The proposal also suggested a one-year contract term.

The board also reviewed the initial proposal by the Webster City Educational Services Association. The proposal called for a $.75 wage increase on base for food services, secretaries, para-educators and custodial workers, with a $75 increase for bus drivers. The proposal also calls for all staff to advance a step for the 2021-2022 school year.

Dr. Mandy Ross, superintendent, said the board would respond to the initial proposals during the March 9 board meeting.

A public hearing will be held March 8 at 6 p.m. concerning the issuance of sales, service and use tax revenue bonds in the amount of $1,920,000 for the school infrastructure project that would remodel, repair and improve Pleasant View and Sunset Heights Elementary Schools, including HVAC improvements.

Though the hearing will be held via Zoom, Ross said the chat option will be monitored in case any member of the public would like to comment during the hearing.

“This really pertains to taking a loan against our one cent sales tax bond, to put it into laymans terms,” Ross said.

The board set the hearing date and also approved a letter of agreement with Piper Sandler, the firm that will serve as the placement agent or underwriter for the bonds. A letter of agreement was also approved with Ahlers Cooney Law Firm who will oversee that the legalities of the bond process are followed.

Elementary Principals Mindy Mossman, Kelli Reis and Jessica Hector gave a report on elementary enrollment plans for next school year.

“We want to be sure we’re using our additional learning center. We were fortunate to add Northeast Hamilton in 2019 so as we plan ahead, we’re looking at how we can get the word out that we have classes at Northeast Hamilton also,” said Mossman, principal at Pleasant View Elementary.

The principals said they would like to see balanced enrollment across all three centers – Pleasant View, Sunset Heights and Northeast Hamilton.

The proposal included planning for five sections of kindergarten at Pleasant View and two sections at Northeast Hamilton; five sections of first grade at Pleasant View and two sections of first grade at NEH; and five sections of second grade at Sunset Heights and two sections of second grade at NEH.

“That’s how we could balance everything out and take advantage of our space and use each building to its maximum potential,” Mossman said.

The principals said they would be sending out information on the three learning centers and hope to gain insights from families about which center they would like their children to attend.

“This is not registration, it’s only indicating preference,” said Kelli Reis, principal at Sunset Heights.

The district will provide a Google form for parents to fill out on their computer or there’s a QR code on the parent information that will allow them to fill out the form on a smart phone.

“During the 267 game, I had a gut feeling that it would be a good game,” Hanson said. “I opened my first frame, but after that i just stopped paying attention to the screens showing the score and at one point one of my teammates was like “wow Lexi all strikes that’s crazy” and I hear that and I didn’t even know what frame we were on, but i had to shake it off to continue doing what i was doing.

“My legs felt like jello on the last frame because I knew I had quite a few strikes in a row.

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