NEH board approves contract

BLAIRSBURG – In its regular meeting Wednesday night, the Northeast Hamilton School Board ratified the FY14 master contract, adopted a director district resolution and voted to proceed on a property purchase.

On ratifying the master contract, the board unanimously approved a 3.19 per cent staff salary increase.

“I believe this was fair to both sides,” said Superintendent Patrick Hocking.

The agreement also changes the staff’s work day hours from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This is a departure from the current 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. work schedule.

The board also approved a resolution which changes the five school board director districts to three director district seats and two at-large seats. A change in the designation has been in the works since all of the districts were unable to field viable candidates during the last school board


Last year, the NEH district reduced its representative districts from five to three. The three new districts were each represented by a director. Two at-large directors could be elected from anywhere within the district.

The resolution designates the legal office new members would hold.

In the upcoming 2013 school board election, the four seats held by Kim Schaa, Randy Greenfield, Kathy Pruismann and Roxanne Anderson will be up for a vote. Two seats will be for a two-year term and two will be for a four-year term. The current seat held by Mike Rapp for Director District #2 will expire in 2015.

“When people take out papers, they will need to specify which seat they are vying for,” said Schaa.

Hocking received Board approval to bid $25,000 for the property at 101 Royal in Blairsburg which is located east of the school. In addition to the bid sum, the district will share closing costs with the seller. The district has discussed reopening the former day care center as a school supported day care facility.

In other business, the Board approved a staff reduction to eliminate the position of part time teacher Paige Moberly due to budgetary reasons. Moberly was hired after the current school year was in progress, said Hocking. He anticipates the position will be reinstituted once the 2013-2014 school year begins.

The board approved a shared staff agreement with South Hamilton CSD. The positions shared by the two districts include Kathy Thelke, family consumer science at 75 percent and Gene Greenfield, transportation director at 50 percent to South Hamilton. Chris Hall, talented and gifted program, will serve at 20 percent with Northeast Hamilton.

The Board accepted the resignations of Kris Klaver as school secretary, Jill Bosch for fall and winter cheerleader sponsor and Jamie Griffith as yearbook sponsor. Hired was Tim Hurt as baseball coach.

Innovative Ag Services was acknowledged for a donation of $200 for the support of NEH FFA students. Also recognized were donors for After Prom contributions.

The 800 series of school board policies were approved with amendments which allowed the board to adhere to closed hearing guidelines in regards to discussions on property acquisitions, the publication for sealed bids and spending authority of the district superintendent. The Board approved of a measure that gives the district superintendent, with board knowledge, the ability to spend funds not to exceed $25,000 for improvements. Any expenditures over that amount will require a board vote.

The board were presented with the names of 15 seniors for graduation who have met the prescribed academic requirements. Schaa will present the graduates with their diplomas at the May 19

ceremony scheduled at 2 p.m. in the school gymnasium.

The board approved six open enrollment applicants to the NEH district for the 2013-2014 school year.

Textbook and school lunch program fees were discussed and will be acted upon at the June meeting. Hocking reported that the current crisis in the lunch program may force the district to consider a 30 cent increase in meal prices next year.

Hocking also reported that the district is currently developing a registration system for fees which will coincide with iPad distribution next fall.

The board directed the administration to seek bids for transportation fuel, heating fuel, milk and bread for the 2013-2014 school year.

Hocking announced that the district’s summer office hours for will be Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In recognition of Teacher Appreciation Week and School Board Appreciation Week, the district presented NEH stylist/pens to staff and board members.

“We thank them and they do a wonderful job,” said Hocking.

Hocking also thanked the current board for their commitment to the

district and its communities.

“I wish more people would do their civic duty (and volunteer to serve)”, he said.

The board approved district membership in the Iowa Association of School Boards and in the Iowa School Finance Information Service.

Hocking reported on a request by the district to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to close the Trileaf Ground Water testing sites in Blairsburg.

The testing sites included three underground fuel storage tanks which were used by the district’s transportation fleet. The tanks were removed over 20 years ago, but it was discovered they had been leaking.

Trileaf is an environmental and property consultant firm which has been monitoring the wells at the request of the DNR.

Earlier this year, the NEH School District sold the bus barn property to New Co-op of Blairsburg.

“We have asked the DNR to close the testing site,” Hocking reported to the board. The DNR has 90 days to respond to the request, he said.

“Possibly this is the final year and hopefully we can close this out,” said the superintendent.

The next regular school board meeting has been tentatively scheduled for June 14.