The Cherokee Board of Education Monday night received an update from Superintendent Dr. John Chalstrom regarding portions of the District's insurance settlements to date in the aftermath of the July tornado that damaged school facilities and other areas of Cherokee.
The Board also approved several faculty contracts and resignations in the one-hour meeting.
Chalstrom advised the Board that negotiations are still under way with District insurance carrier EMC regarding repairing the roof of the Cherokee Ironworks weight room (former National Guard Armory), and also for the demolished "garage" facility at the George Hicks Field track that housed track and football equipment.
Chalstrom said EMC offered a $75,000 payment for the damaged lighting system at George Hicks Field and that the District appealed that payment and EMC then upped that to $85,000.
However, already in the works but not begun when the tornado hit the lighting system was a $200,000 project to replace the entire lighting system for the Braves football and track and field facility. Chalstrom said the insurance company's payments reflected a similar light system to the existing 50-year old system that was damaged in the tornado.
"How do you price a 50-year-old system on wood poles?" Chalstrom asked the Board. He said he plans to appeal the $85,000 offer and is hopeful that the District and EMC "can ultimately meet somewhere in the middle."
The District is still working with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) on possible funding for certain other damages to District facilities directly related to the summer flooding and storms that plagued Cherokee this year.
Among those items are more than 20 adult trees lost in the storms that need to be replaced. FEMA is exploring the situation using a GPS locator system and input from Chalstrom and Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Dave Moore.
EMC has already paid for total replacement of the Roosevelt Elementary School gym roof, also severely damaged in the July tornado.
The Board approved three new contracts and four resignations in further action Monday.
Contracts were approved for Olivia Watts as assistant varsity softball coach, and as 8th-grade girls basketball coach; and for Neil Phipps as 7th-grade boys basketball coach. Phipps will assist both 7th and 8th boys basketball this school year.
The Board also accepted the resignation of Jessie Van De Walle as Social Science instructor at WHS effective the end of the first semester. Van De Walle is relocating to the Des Moines area with her family.
The Board accepted the resignations of Teresa Friedrichsen and of Cory Koster as special education associates at the Cherokee Middle School. Both are leaving for new employment opportunities.
The Board also accepted the resignation of Steve Sonka as assistant varsity and junior varsity baseball coach, and accepted the resignation of Kim Miller as football and cheerleading sponsor effective at the end of the current school year, pending finding a suitable replacement.
An early graduation request was also granted to senior Alex Allbaugh, pending his successful completion of all academic requirements at the end of the current semester.
In his regular Principal's report, WHS Principal Larry Hunecke advised the Board of Cherokee varsity football players and cheerleaders earning District All-Academic honors in Class 2A. Hunecke said he wasn't yet privy to that information so he couldn't identify the students or how many there were.
The District All-Academic players and cheerleaders, and All-District players list, were released to the school and media on Monday, Nov. 8 and a story and photos of the Cherokee Braves earning District All-Academic and All-District honors were published in the Chronicle Times on Thursday, Nov. 11.