NEH approves laptop purchases

The Northeast Hamilton School Board approved the purchase of laptop computers and an intrafund loan to the school lunch program during its regular monthly meeting on Thursday.

NEH Principal Mike Kruger reported that many of the computers used by the teaching staff needed to be updated. Supt. Mike Sherwood recommended the Board approve the purchase from the PPLE fund. The Board approved the purchase of 18 laptop computers at a cost of $1,022.50 each.

Kruger also noted that while most of the computers will be used by the teaching staff, some of the iPads will be used in the school office and library.

In a related matter, the Board approved a technology proposal by Kruger to increase the bandwidth at the school. Currently, the school is using 35 megabytes but with the increased bandwidth capacity, that would double to 70.

“With our one-on-one technology, our needs keep increasing,” said Supt. Sherwood. “And it is important to have a backup service. With capacity greater, we will be able to continue if one service goes down”.

The district will contract with Woolstock Mutual Telephone at a cost of $150 per month for the increased bandwidth.

The Board also approved an intrafund transfer to the food service of $20,000 to be repaid by June 30, 2015.

“Progress is being made – the gap is getting smaller,” Supt. Sherwood told the Board of the difference between the expenses of the lunch program and the account balance.

In other business, Supt. Sherwood reported on the proposal for the monitoring well abandonment.

Since 2008, the environmental company Trileaf has been monitoring underground wells related to three district gasoline storage tanks which leaked nearly 25 years ago. The tanks had been located at the old bus barn on main street in Blairsburg.

Supt. Sherwood reported that Trileaf will seal the wells within the month and the $5,188 in costs will be paid by Cunningham and Lindsey, a global loss adjusting and claim management firm.

In a brief overview of the opening days of the school year, NEH Principal Mike Kruger told the Board that the district is off to a good start.

“We are settling into a routine, which is good thing,” reported NEH Principal Mike Kruger.

Principal Kruger reported that the Aug. 12 open house/registration was a success as was the Aug. 14 Pre-K and Kindergarten Roundup which registered a combined 26 students in the morning and afternoon sessions of Kindergarten.

Kruger reported that all NEH teachers are currently involved on the Professional Development and/or the Crisis management teams.

Supt. Sherwood reported that he, Principal Kruger and school’s business manager Cathi Hildebrand are working on the district’s budget to be completed by Sept. 15.

Sherwood also reported that work at the bus barn is nearly done with final work to be completed by mid-September.

Work still to be completed is the repair on a six inch water line and the placement of a new compressor.

In new business, Kathy Biere was sworn in the as Board Secretary. The Board also named the Iowa Schools Joint Investment Trust and Iowa Falls State Bank as the financial depositories for the district. The Board also approved the law firm of Ahlers and Cooney, PC of Des Moines as legal counsel.

In his board report, Principal Kruger reported that NEH was commended by the IHSAA for being one of only 47 schools in the state which did not have a student athlete or coach ejected during a school contest.

Kruger also reported that NEH has received IHSAA approval to coop with Webster City in cross country, golf, tennis, wrestling and soccer.

Kruger announced that NEH second grade teacher Laura Seiser has received a Silos and Smokestack grant of $350 which will be used to offset field trip costs.

The Board asked Supt. Sherwood to gather cost comparisons for a tractor/vehicle to replace the grounds and maintenance tractor. Sherwood noted that the district needs a new vehicle which would have the capacity to work as a snowblower, blade, mowing deck and a tractor equipped with a bucket.

The Board also asked Sherwood to draft a new lease for the district’s house which would include a propane gas agreement.

The next Board meeting has been set for Sept. 25 at 6 p.m.