NEH board votes to extend coach contracts

The Northeast Hamilton School Board approved the 2014-2015 budget, reviewed drafts for whole grade sharing and for superintendent sharing in addition to setting athletic sharing policy.

The Board approved the $6.07 million budget with a levy of 11.56 percent in a unanimous vote.

Supt. Larry Frakes noted that the levy was higher than last year’s because the Board voted to pay off the elementary school bonds a decade earlier.

The Board also reviewed the draft of the whole grade sharing agreement with Webster City CSD. The draft is only a blueprint for the process and allows that either school can terminate the agreement at anytime. But due to a typographical error, the NEH Board asked that the time frame stated in the agreement be changed from ten years to three years.

Board member Marlin Pruismann added that a public hearing for community members will be held in both Webster City and NEH districts prior to the adoption of whole grade sharing.

In a related matter, the Board voted to accept a draft of superintendent sharing with Webster City CSD and Supt. Mike Sherwood. The draft calls for NEH to reimburse Sherwood at 20 percent of his salary with a two year term and a one year termination opt-out.

It was noted by Board member Bruce Mark that the agreement allows NEH an extra six students in its enrollment head count beginning in FY16.

After the Board voted to approve the draft, a patron questioned a rule of order on the legitimacy of the action not advertised before the vote. On Friday, NEH legal counsel ruled the action was legitimate.

Regarding the issue of athletic programs at NEH, the Board voted to add a 28E agreement for girls softball for 2014 upon the recommendation of NEH Activities Director Jeff Meyer. With only seven girls interested in the summer sport, the NEH Board chose to align the team with the Webster City High School team.

Meyer also recommended high school golf be included in the 28E agreement.

“The numbers just aren’t where they need to be,” said Supt. Frakes, who noted that the addition of NEH athletes to the WCHS program will not have an impact on Webster City’s conference affiliation.

The Board also determined that the contracted softball coach will drive and attend practices with NEH students in Webster City. The WC team begins season practice on May 12.

In a related matter, the Board voted 3-2 to extend coaching contracts for the 2014 fall sports of high school football, volleyball, girls basketball and boys basketball to teacher/coaches with the stipulation that if not enough students turn out for any one of those sports, there will be a Reduction In Force (RIF) for the coach.

Voting for the measure were Pruismann, Rapp and Patterson. Anderson and Mark voted nay.

Supt. Frakes noted that by state law, teacher/coaches are to be contracted by April 30 while other coaches serve as at-will employees.

Pruismann stated his preference was to keep sports at NEH as long as possible, to which Board members Eric Patterson and Mike Rapp agreed.

Board President Roxanne Anderson noted that district participation numbers continue to decline. She felt that the district may continue to lose students through open enrollment, or students change their minds about participating in sports or a family moves out of the district.

“It is not fair to the kids who want to put something into a sport,” she said.

Activities Director Meyer made the recommendation that the Board consider sharing junior high football and track with Webster City.

Junior High volleyball coach Joni Smith volunteered to accept a pink slip if there aren’t enough students to field a team for next fall.

Mike Rapp agreed that transitioning junior high athletes now would give students time to acclimate themselves into the Webster City programs before they enter high school there in 2015.

The total cost of high school fall coaching contracts is $11,000 and Pruismann offered to pay those coaching costs if NEH cannot field those teams. But Bruce Mark countered that is not legal.

Before the final vote, drama sponsor Kim Schimp asked if the sharing agreement would affect NEH plays and drama, to which Supt. Frakes noted those activities have high participation numbers so they are not affected.

The final motion stated that football, volleyball, girls basketball and boys basketball coaches would be given contracts and 2015 at-will spring sport coaches would be extended contracts if possible. Junior High coaches are at-will employees and contracts can be terminated if a team isn’t formed.

In a personnel matter, the Board voted to pay a full eight-hour day for paraprofessionals with Mike Rapp abstaining.

On the issue of a pay hike for non-certified and salaried staff which was recommended by Supt. Frakes, the issue died from a lack of a second.

Supt. Frakes asked the Board what it intended to do about a pay raise for those employees and Pruismann asked the issue be added to the May board meeting agenda.

Food Service Director Sherri Olson addressed the Board concerning the lunch fund account and potential pay increases for lunchroom staff.

Olson noted that currently, the lunch fund has a surplus of $837 and that last year’s $20,000 in-house loan will be paid off and bills will be paid through the summer.

In contracts, the Board approved Kacey Pruismann for Junior High Track coach.

The Board approved of a student teaching agreement with Buena Vista College for next fall.

In Good News Sharing, teacher Tammy Massman reported on NEH students participating in the One to One conference in Des Moines on April 10 and also on the spring break tour to Washington, DC. At both events, NEH students were complimented on their behavior, involvement and participation, she said.

“Good things are going on here,” she concluded.

The Board voted to allow Dave Pruismann to remove excess dirt from the bus barn site after filling in areas around the school campus.

The Board accepted the low bid from Nolte, Cornman and Johnson, PC of Newton to conduct the district’s 2014-2016 annual audits.

Yearbook sponsor Amy Pruismann reported on the development of a yearbook scholarship for participating students. The scholarship for up to $2,000 would be awarded on merit of participation and GPA.

In other business, the Board approved the 2014-2015 school calendar with four paid teacher holidays. The first day of school will be Aug. 19, 2014 and the last day of school will be May 27, 2015.