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STC School Board is updated on new middle school Boosters

August 25, 2011
By Joyce Wiese, News Correspondent
TAMA NEWS-HERALD- The South Tama School Board learned details of the new Middle School Boosters group at the board’s regular meeting on Aug. 15. School board members Michelle Yuska, Anne Michael, Jackie Dvorak, Mark McFate and Ron Hala were present.

The Boosters board members of the newly-formed group said the high school and the elementary school each have Booster organizations, however, the middle school had none. A group of interested people started a mission in September, 2010, to support the students by providing resources and opportunities for student and parental involvement above what is provided by the school district.

Their board is made up of four members, Jill Bacon, president, Alice Koch, vice president, Lesa Haughey, treasurer and Karla Hala, secretary. Three at-large members are to be added.

This group will meet the first Wednesday of every month, usually at the middle school conference room.

This past year they have sold middle school t-shirts, had a “Rube’s Night” in which part of the proceeds were given to the organization and had a middle school dance to raise money for the organization.

They have provided monetary donations and volunteered time to the Kids in the Kitchen program, Girls Middle School Science Club and Teacher Appreciation Week.

They also have provided funding for additional school supplies that were identified as a need for some students by the middle school faculty. There request for the board was approval of their by-laws which their group had approved at their Aug. 1, meeting.


Contracts were approved for Marlys Upah and Jeri Ellenbecker to share supervisory duties for middle school concessions for $1,656 each; Emily Stringer, strength training, $1,458; and Deb McLeod, website coordinator, $3,960.

School Board Policy 202.50 addresses conflict of interest, relating it shall be a conflict of interest for spouses of board members to be hired except on a volunteer basis as school district personnel by the board. The hiring of any other family member shall be within the discretion of the board.

Due to the late resignation of a high school staff member, it has provided the district a limited amount of time to find a quality replacement. Because of this circumstance, the board voted to use Policy 203.14, a waiver of policy as applied to 202.50. Board member Mark McFate abstained from this vote.

Superintendent’s Annual Report

Superintendent Kerri Nelson gave her annual report for the 2010-2011 school year showing the enrollment increased by 26 which she felt was a good sign.

Nelson said the 2010-2011 school year marked the second year of turbulent finance from the state, when it announced a plan to eliminate all preschool funding and to freeze any allowable growth for schools for a two year period of time.

The issue was unresolved until well into the summer months. In response, the district reduced ten support staff positions, one pre-school position and did not fill two vacated teaching positions. Additionally the Math coach and Literacy Coach positions were nut funded.

The cost of health insurance was projected to be a 28.8 percent increase for the 2011-12 enrollment period. The district was able to work with Jake Jacobson of Independent Insurance to provide comparable coverage at a more reasonable rate by changing to a Wellmark plan. Changing plans and providers reduced the premium rate increase from 28.8 percent to 8 percent increase.

The Board reviewed an undated board policy on wellness in September. Joanne Hofer says the school is making many changes to comply with a Wellness Plan although there are several complaints.

Students in grades 6-12 are to participate in 120 minutes per week of physical activity The high school receive at least 120 minutes per week activity in physical education classes or athletics, or they sign a contract to reach that level by other means at home.

Not always accomplished at the middle school, two grades do get the 120 minutes per week but some as low as 75 minutes per week. Students in grades K-5 are to participate in 30 minutes per day of physical activity.

Students are required to complete a course that leads to certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation by the end of grade 12.

The Healthy Kids Act is very prescriptive about what foods can and can’t be sold to students “from bell to bell” during the school day. Absolutely no soda, vending machine items must meet Healthy Kids Act requirements, regarding salt, fat, calories, sugar fiber.

Baked desserts (cakes, cookies) will continue to be served only once per week. Upcoming nutrition program regulations will mandate two fruits and two vegetables per day, aat least one meat and one fruit requireed for breakfast, and fewer starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn and peas.

In other business the school board:

•approved high school, middle school and elementary school handbooks with little or no changes noted.

•acceted the sole bid of Anderson Erickson Dairy for milk for the school year and Sara Lee for bread.

•renewed contracts with Mental Health Clinic of Tama County and Tama County Public Health and Home Care.

•renewed a contract with Ellsworth / Marshalltown Community College Unit located at Iowa Falls and Marshalltown .

•voted to advertise for elementary parking lot bids. The elementary parking lot is reported to become congested during the time school is released when parents come to pick uup their children, and whenever there is any event at the elementary building. Buses also have a problem with the parking lot, it was reported.

•The Department of Education responded to requests by community colleges and school districts regarding proficiency requirements for students who wanted to access college course work. The Department of Educaton set proficiency requirement for all students accessing the post secondary educational opportunities programing as the 41 percentile for reading comprehension, math and science. The South Tama High School’s current policy states that study must have a score of 41 percentile on the ITED tests to participate.

Article Photos

Kerri Nelson
South Tama Superintendent



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