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Enrollment jumps at South Tama Elementary - may add teacher

August 29, 2019
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

A projected hike of 15 or more students at the South Tama Elementary School level has administrators and the school board looking at adding an additional classroom for the 2019-20 school year which begins today.

Supt. Jared Smith told the school board at their regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 19, a recommendation would be available in two weeks after school begins. The board then decided to reschedule their regular Sept. 9 meeting to Sept. 3 if necessary to accommodate adding the teacher.

More than 20 students have been registered for each of the five 1st and the five 3rd grade classrooms.

Mary Mixdorf, Information Technology coordinator for the district on Thursday said the count was 638 students compared to the certified enrollment last year totaling 623 for the 2018-19 school year. She cautioned however, "The numbers for this year are very rough as our population is fluid with new enrollments and notification of summer transfers."

Smith told the board a rule of thumb" for elementary school class size at this level is 20 students. He also noted there are usually shifts up and down in student numbers in the initial period after school starts.

Smith said space exists in the elementary building in Tama for an additional classroom.


A proposal to determine some change in collecting on past due student meal accounts is in the works, Smith reported. He said Sandra Jantzen, Food Service director, is examining various methods used to collect on unpaid accounts which total $3,000 for the 2018-19 school year.

Just over 59% of South Tama students qualified for free or reduced price meals last year according to Jantzen.

Smith said school officials had explored providing free lunches for all students. The cost is estimated at an additional $5,000 monthly to the existing food service cost which would likely make it prohibitive.


Contracts or letters of assignment were approved for Valeria Nunez, middle school full time paraeducator; Derek Dixon, assistant high school girls varsity basketball coach; Jerrod Bridgewater, assistant 9th grade football coach; Steve Chyma, assistant 8th grade football coach; and Ruth Ann Jackson, music and drama department costumer for fall and spring.

Transfers were approved for: Jordan Van Dee from part-time to full time middle school paraeducator; and Brenda Young from high school paraeducator to partnership center paraeducator.

Resignations were accepted from: Derek Dixon, 7th grade boys basketball coach; Heidi Purk, middle school paraeducator; Julie Herman, elementary school cook; and Jerrod Bridgewater, assistant 8th grade football coach.

Work Session

Following the regular session the board adjourned to conduct a work session to be updated on the last facilities committee meeting. Supt. Smith said the possible PPEL vote may also be discussed. He said no date has been set for the next facilties meeting which is studying recommendations of an evaluation of school district buildings conducted in February by Estes Construction.

Approved Monday by the school board was the final reading of Board Policy 500 which sets district policies; classified employees handbook with the only change in employee leave time; and Trauma Informed Care Unit Handbook.



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