NEH votes to share Jr. High sports

The Northeast Hamilton School Board hired an associate superintendent, voted to share junior high sports with Webster City and approved the 2014-2015 school calendar at its regular meeting on May 8.

The Board voted unanimously to hire Mike Kruger as associate superintendent at $94,000 with a 220 day contract. Kruger is currently serving as the PreK-4th grade principal at Eagle Grove CSD.

The Board also voted unanimously to enter into a junior high sports sharing agreement with Webster City CSD.

Leading up to the vote, Supt. Larry Frakes noted that the Board had been grappling with the question since November, but it was time to make a decision.

Board member Bruce Mark reminded the board that he had asked that the question be delayed from the April meeting in order for parents to contact board members in order to voice their opinions.

“I had hoped to hear from parents,” reported Mark, who did not hear from any patrons regarding the matter.

Assistant Administrator Dennis Bahr asked to address the Board before its vote. He highlighted his observations regarding sharing junior high sports with Webster City:

Webster City will welcome the NEH junior high school athletes to summer camps, including weight lifting

Middle/junior high provides the perfect timing for student athletes to learn the systems which will be implemented for the Webster City High School program

Regardless of how parents feel about the situation, students make friends easier than adults so their ability to adapt will make for an easier transition into the Webster City program

The NEH coach would transport the students to Webster City at 3 p.m. and return them to Blairsburg at 6 p.m.

Webster City Middle School coaches of the A and B teams strive to give every student the opportunity to play

While it would be a nice gesture to allow students to play their last year at NEH, the district will save money by sending athletes over to Webster City.

Finally, Bahr praised the Board for trying to satisfy the district patrons while arriving at this decision.

Mark made the motion which was seconded by Eric Patterson and approved by the entire Board.

The Board approved the 2014-2015 school calendar which addressed the concerns of the teaching staff. The first day of school will be Aug. 19 and graduation day will be May 17. The last day of the school year will be May 27.

Prior to the regular meeting, the Board held a public hearing concerning the topic of whole grade sharing of middle and high school students with Webster City. As no one wished to speak, the meeting closed without comment.

The Board approved a $0.50/hr. pay increase for associates and secretaries and a 2.5 percent increase for salaried custodial staff, the transportation director and paraprofessionals. The raises will total $15,673.

The Board also approved a $830 pay increase for the lunch program director and associate. Board member Mike Rapp abstained.

Supt. Frakes asked the Board to clarify contract language regarding longevity pay by striking the phrase “less longevity payment” from future employee contracts.

The Board approved the Budget Guarantee Resolution. Supt. Frakes reported that the Iowa School Board Association recommended that all school boards statewide adopt the resolution because the Iowa legislature had not passed the state’s annual budget. The measure insures that NEH’s regular spending authority will not be less in the future than it is currently.

Supt. Frakes reported that the district’s building lease with Prairie Lakes AEA expires on June 30. The Board directed Frakes to ascertain if Prairie Lakes would be interested in an annual contract instead of a three-year lease agreement.

Pending completion of all requirements, the Board approved the list of graduating seniors.

In contract recommendations, the Board hired Joan Gelder for part time Family Consumer Science instructor.

The Board also accepted the resignations of Kathy Thelke and Karla Issacson and extended its gratitude for their many years of dedication and service to NEH.

Upon the recommendation of Supt. Frakes, the Board voted to terminate the probationary period for At Risk/Special Ed instructor Paige Moberly as part of a Reduction in Force process. Frakes noted the Moberly will have priority recall rights if a position she is qualified for becomes available.

Before adjournment, Board member Mike Rapp raised the question of hiring an assistant baseball coach. With 16 possible players, the number does not reach the Board’s threshold for hiring an assistant coach at a cost of $2,000. But several Board members expressed there is a need for additional supervision.

“Unfortunately, when we played, things were different,” said Supt. Frakes. “If a person is hit, an assistant coach’s salary is far less than what we are going pay”.

Because the action item was not on the agenda, the Board will schedule a special meeting as soon as possible to address the issue.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for June 12 at 7 p.m. in the NEH Elementary Media Center.