Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

December 19, 2012

Centerville School Board hopes refinancing bond could save $40,000, discuss changing volunteer policy

The board makes a company change to refinance a bond and looks at imposing new standards on volunteers

By Krystal Fowler - Lifestyle editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — The Centerville School Board met Monday, Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. for their regular monthly meeting and the first order of business was to hear from representatives of Ruan Securities  and Piper Jaffray about refinancing a bond.

Representatives of Ruan Securities proposed that the school district could save approximately $40,000 in interest payments by refinancing with the company rather than staying with Piper Jaffray. The total amount of savings would depend on the rates available when the school actually signs a contract with Ruan, so might be different than those proposed.

Piper Jaffray’s representative laid out several scenarios for the school board to consider including refinancing or paying off the debt immediately with PPEL money to gain savings by retiring the debt. By refinancing Piper Jaffray estimated approximately $30,000 in savings to the district.

The board discussed both options and decided to move forward with refinancing through Ruan Securities, contingent on the amount of savings being close to $40,000 for the district once the contracts were finally drawn up.

The board approved a first reading of a revamped student school permit policy that re-inserted language that had been removed. In previous years, the policy stated students could receive school permits to travel to their school as well as places of extracurricular activities such as Lakeview, Indian Hills Centerville campus, Appanoose Country Club or other sites. That language had been removed that last time the policy was approved, and the board is moving to put it back.

The school districts current volunteer policy was then discussed. Superintendent Tony Ryan wanted guidance from the board on whether the current policy was satisfactory, or whether the board wanted to treat volunteers more like employees, with each person getting approval from the board and/or performing background checks. According to Board Secretary Linda Henderson, each background check cost $15. Ryan also wanted the board to consider whether they wanted to focus on athletic/coaching volunteers or all volunteers. He presented a sample policy the board could adopt if they want a more detailed volunteer policy.

Board members who attended the Iowa Association of School Boards annual convention, including Board President Nick Hindley, board member Bill Matkovich and Superintendent Ryan talked about the sessions they attended. Matkovich spoke about the top issues that were discussed at the delegate convention including support for preschool funding and the importance of getting allowable growth from the legislature in the next fiscal year.

Superintendent Ryan updated the board on Cincinnati and Mystic Elementary Schools. The buildings are currently being advertised for sale and bids will be presented to the Board on Jan. 14. At the time of the meeting there had been no offers on the facilities.

The board approved the application for additional allowable growth for the at-risk, returning dropouts and dropout prevention programs. This is an annual item the board approves each year.

The board then discussed the Instructional Support Levy. Superintendent Ryan recommended setting the rate at two percent and approving it for five years. Board member Rich Roos suggested approving two percent for three years. The board approved moving forward to a public hearing with the two percent rate for three years.

Two bids for buses were accepted by the board. Randy Walker had bid $1,513 each on a 1996 International bus and a 1995 GMC bus.

The board approved the resignations of Jamie Lewellen from bus driver and food van driver and Iva Doggett from kindergarten aide at Central Elementary and the retirement of Alan Harrington from maintenance worker after 19 years of service.

The board then approved employment contracts for William Lester as cafeteria food van driver, Kayla Canny in Lakeview cafeteria, Judy Clark in Central cafeteria, Destry Walker as a special education aide specific at the preschool and Denise Howe as school nurse, part-time.

The board reviewed some preliminary budget information to begin planning the 2013-2014 budget.

The non-certified staff pay matrix was discussed with Superintendent Ryan telling the board, the school district was having some trouble in hiring due to not being competitive with the going pay rate for the community.

The board discussed that Knoxville Community Schools has officially been accepted by the South Central Conference and will enter into the SCC in the 2014-2015 school year.

The board approved the purchase of Odysseyware for $11,500. The program will be used by regular and special ed students and is a technology based support system. It includes more than 160 online courses including advanced courses and is updated with new information continuously as well as updated to conform to the Iowa Core. It is replacing the Plato system which Centerville High School principal Roger Raum told the board was outdated and hard to update.

The board tabled a proposal from Alliant Energy to update some of their service equipment at Centerville High School until the board could have some questions answered about the proposal.

The board then approved sports official’s contracts and early graduation lists for Centerville High School and Appanoose County Campus were approved.

The board then accepted reports from the administrative team and a letter from North Side Insurance informing them of their Iowa Association of School Boards Safety Group dividend of $6,367.06.

The board then approved financial reports for the month before adjourning.

The next regular board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14 at the administration building.