A request for the Cherokee School District to cede property for a proposed access driveway to "The Gardens" assisted living facility now under construction in North Cherokee was discussed at length at Monday night's Cherokee School Board meeting.
According to Cherokee Schools Superintendent John Chalstrom, the district faces three basic options in the matter, including selling the land in question to The Gardens' developers, trading land as the school and The Gardens properties lie adjacent, or negotiating an easement that would allow the access.
Chalstrom told the board that school attorney J.C. Cook is currently working with the developers to hopefully hammer out an agreement that would allow for the access to be installed off the Iowa Highway 3 by-pass on the north edge of the property in question, east of the Highway 3 and U.S. Highway 59 junction.
The developers must meet Iowa Department of Transportation requirements for such access. The 38-unit assisted living facility is being constructed at 1610 Highway 3 on the east side of U.S. Highway 59 near the city water tower.
Also involved in the negotiations is the possibility of constructing a road on school property that would exit onto North Roosevelt Street on the north side of the Cherokee Youth Summer Ball Association's ball fields that would benefit both CYSBA and the school district's tennis courts. Currently, the existing road into the CYSBA fields and tennis courts is a one-way in and out access off Indian Street and is a serious bottleneck with ball game and tennis meets traffic, and for school buses at the tennis meets.
"This is not an action item tonight," said Chalstrom. "We're in the discussion stages and we need to do this the right way."
Chalstrom also cautioned the board that the district needs to "keep and eye on" the PPEL funds because there have been several unforeseen repairs required at various school buildings this year. "There have been a lot of things going wrong. As our buildings age, we have issues," explained Chalstrom.
In other action, the board heard a report from member Kirk Sampson, Chalstrom, and Washington High School Principal Larry Hunecke regarding attending last week's Iowa Association of School Board (IASB) Conference in Des Moines. All three said the conference was a good learning experience.
Hunecke also told the board that a majority of both faculty and parents approved of the recent "Arena" parent/teachers conferences. The conferences were held in the WHS gym instead of in respective classrooms as in the past. The "Arena" conferences were praised for their convenience because parents didn't have to make repeated trips back and forth to classrooms throughout the high school to meet with teachers.
Hunecke also said high school enrollment has been on the grow lately, with three new students registering in the past week.
Regarding school parent-teachers conferences, Roosevelt Elementary Principal Bard Radke praised parents for a superb 98.4 percent attendance rate at the recent conferences. "Things went well. It was a great turnout," said Radke.
Radke also lauded the progress of the Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) and its staff, adding that there are 20-30 applicants already registered for next year.
The board also affirmed multiple school policies applied to classified and licensed employees, and substitute teachers, and approved early graduation requests for WHS students Ashley Miller, and Page Anderson.
The board will next meet at 5 p.m. December 17.