The Cherokee School District Board of Education heard detailed reports of the wants and needs of various Department Heads, approved teacher/coach resignations and contracts, and raised the fees for Driver's Education during a lengthy meeting Monday night.
The Board also approved completing the paper work requesting a cooperative sharing agreement with the Storm Lake Community School District for girls golf this 2012 season, while knowing the agreement will not be accepted by Storm Lake, as just one Cherokee student has expressed an interest in commuting to Storm Lake to play golf this spring.
The problem arose after just three girls registered for the Cherokee golf team and the Cherokee District contacted the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) to explore sharing with another District. However, Storm Lake has refused the request, because the addition of the Cherokee District enrollment would move the Tornadoes into Class 4A for golf and they wish to remain in 3A. Cherokee Athletic Director Neil Phipps also reported that just one of the Cherokee girls had agreed to commute to Storm Lake if the sharing agreement was reached.
All other neighboring school districts would also jump up in class if Cherokee shared the sport, so that was not an option, according to Phipps.
Superintendent Dr. John Chalstrom also advised the Board that there have been student/parent inquiries about starting up soccer and bowling teams for prep competition. Iowa now has soccer in the spring and it competes with track and field, and also laps into the baseball and softball seasons, which creates a real conflict for all concerned, according to Chalstrom.
The Board also approved acceptance of two resignations, including Phipps as varsity football coach, and Jolene Hultgren as Science Instructor and varsity girls cross country and track and field coach. Phipps said the demands of his job as Activities Director were becoming too great for him to continue as head football coach, and Hultgren is retiring.
Among Staff Directors explaining their wants and needs for future budget matters, was Quinn Woods of Food Service, who explained the need for the District to amend its Wellness Policy to better align with the policies of the Iowa Department of Education. Woods also said the District needs a new dishwasher and deliver van to replace the current aged, "worn-out" models.
Woods said a new dishwasher would cost an estimated $25,000 plus installation, and Chalstrom reported that a upgraded used delivery van would cost an estimated $30,000, and a new one about $50,000. The current District van is a used potato chip truck converted into a food delivery vehicle.
Woods also said it was nearing time to replace the food trays which are very old and becoming brittle due to frequent washing at high temperatures, and then freezing while being transported in the winter time. She estimated the new trays to cost about $9 each and the District would require about 1,200 of them for the three school buildings served.
Reporting for Transportation Director Mike Wiederholt, Chalstrom said the District needs two new buses and two Suburbans in the future. He said new buses cost about $80,000 each and that the District is keeping an eye out for deals on used, low-mileage buses and Suburbans. Miles and increased motor breakdowns are beginning to take their toll on the present fleet, said Chalstrom.
Also reporting for Dave Moore, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, Chalstrom said that a large portion of the Washington High School roof needs replaced and would cost about $125,000.
The Superintendent also pointed out that the problems keep mounting for the WHS football field turf and eventually it needs to be removed and rebuilt through either sodding or seeding. Chalstrom said the problems have been identified as a poor dirt base with too much clay and not enough black dirt that chokes off grass root systems, and the fact there are several types of grass growing on the field that require different treatments and have varying growth and dormant cycles.
Costs and time frame were cited as the two biggest obstacles to renovating the turf. Chalstrom surmised that the work would have to be done right after track and field season and be completed late summer to accommodate the football season.
The Board also heard a report from Curriculum Director Beth Ebert concerning the DE's site visit April 10, Ebert briefed the Board on questions members might be asked by the DE officials, which makes site visits every 4-5 years to Iowa Districts to evaluate the entire operation.
In other action, the Board approved a contract for Jared Kirkeby as freshman baseball coach, and for Michael Robinson as assistant varsity softball coach.
WHS principal Larry Hunecke advised the Board that there were just 16 girls in grades 8-11 out for softball, and no seniors. However, he then said he was told some seniors might be signing up for softball in the near future. WHS will not field a freshman softball team this season due to the low numbers.
At the request of Chalstrom, the Board approved raising the Driver's Education fees from $250 to $300 per resident student (including open enrolled students), and from $250 to $300 for non-resident students (from other Districts).