Belle Plaine, Iowa
April 8, 2020
A public hearing and regular meeting of the Belle Plaine Community School District Board of Education was held on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room at Longfellow Elementary, Belle Plaine.
Members Present: Val Coffman, Rima Johnson, Ben Reineke, Alicia Jacobi, Stephen Beck
Members Absent: None
Administration Present: Chad Straight. Heather Coover and Todd Werner were present via Zoom.
Board Secretary Present: Stacey Kolars
Visitors Present: Interested Patrons-via Zoom
Press Representative: None
The meeting was called to order by President Coffman at 6:30 p.m.
Motion Reineke, second Johnson to approve the agenda. All voted, “aye.” Motion carried.
There were no delegations.
PUBLIC HEARING ON 2020-2021 BELLE PLAINE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET AND 2019-2020 BUDGET AMENDMENT
A public hearing was held on the 2020-2021 Belle Plaine CSD budget and the 2019-2020 budget amendment. There were no questions/comments from the audience via Zoom.
APPROVAL OF THE 2020-2021 BELLE PLAINE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET
There was motion by Johnson, second by Jacobi to approve the 2020-2021 school district budget. All voted, “aye.” Motion carried.
APPROVAL OF 2019-2020 BUDGET AMENDMENT
There was motion by Reineke, second by Johnson to approve the 2019-2020 school district budget amendment. All voted, “aye.” Motion carried.
CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS
The consent agenda items were considered. There was motion by Jacobi, second by Reineke to approve the consent agenda items. All voted, “aye.” Motion carried. The consent agenda items that were approved are listed below:
1. Approval of the minutes of the March 11, 2020 meeting and the March 23, 2020 special meeting.
2. Approval of bills, payroll and financial statements.
3. Personnel/Business Items:
a. Acceptance of the resignations: Colleen Blanchard, associate
PRINCIPAL REPORTS-Secondary Principal, Todd Werner and Elementary Principal, Heather Coover gave their respective reports to the board.
SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT – Superintendent Straight gave his report to the board
A letter was sent to former board member/president, Marie Stratford regarding district documents in her possession. A reply was sent from Ms. Stratford, and was shared with the board members. The matter has been turned over to the school’s attorney.
OLD BUSINESS ITEMS
Action/Discussion on Cafeteria Project- Discussion took place regarding a letter that was received from Garling Construction regarding the Coronavirus outbreak and its potential project impact regarding the school’s cafeteria remodel at the junior/senior high school.
NEW BUSINESS ITEMS
- Approval of Employment of Personnel – There was no action on this item.
- Action/Discussion on Media Center/Learning Center Staffing at the Jr/Sr High School – Discussion took place regarding the full-time staffing of the media center/learning center at the Jr/Sr high school. After discussion, there was motion by Beck, second by Johnson to approve the full-time staffing of the media center/learning center for the 2020-2021 school year at the Jr/Sr high school. All voted, “aye.” Motion carried.
- Action/Discussion on Boiler Bids – Two bids were received from two companies for a boiler at the Jr/Sr high school location. After review, there was motion by Beck, second by Reineke to approve the bid from Moose Mechanical in the amount of $34,900. All voted, “aye.” Motion carried.
- Action/Discussion on Extension of Dates on Pandemic Response and Emergency Suspension of Policy Board Resolution – At the last meeting, the board approved the Resolution-Pandemic Response and Emergency Suspension of Policy. There was motion by Reineke, second by Jacobi to approve a resolution with the end dates extending to the end of the 2019-2020 school year. The resolution is as follows:
Resolution – Pandemic Response and Emergency Suspension of Policy
WHEREAS, Iowa Code Ch. 279.8 authorizes local school boards to govern their respective districts, including adopting policies for their own governance; and
WHEREAS the Board may, by formal, action suspend or rescind board policy as deemed necessary, appropriate or in the best interests of the District; and
WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic; and
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the Unites States declared a national state of emergency and on March 15, 2020 Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds recommended closure of all public and private K-12 schools in Iowa until April 13, 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, on March 17, 2020, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds declared a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency under the authority granted through Iowa Constitution, Art. IV, §§ 1, 8 and Iowa Code §§ 29C.6(1), 135.140(6), and 135.144 and directed implementation of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Iowa Emergency Response Plan in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19); and
WHEREAS, most hourly non-exempt employees will be unable to report to work due to the District’s closure and certified contract employees may be asked to work at remote locations to help provide continuity in educational services; and
WHEREAS, it fulfills a public purpose to continue to pay District hourly non-exempt employees during this closure to prevent or contain the spread of COVID-19, to promote morale and to help retain current employees following the closure; and
WHEREAS, on March 17, 2020 the Iowa Legislature passed and the Governor signed SF 2408 granting waiver of the instructional time requirements in Iowa Code Ch. 279.10 for all public school districts closing before April 12, 2020 in order to prevent or contain the spread of COVID-19; and granting Governor Reynolds the ability to waive instructional time requirements for any public school district which closes on or after April 12, 2020 to prevent or contain the spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the Iowa Department of Education, which has the authority to establish and interpret graduation requirements, and to oversee other crucial aspects of public education is providing written guidance to Iowa school districts on issues related to COVID -19, including but not limited to student attendance, distance/online learning, high school credit, meal distribution, and other issues; and
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Belle Plaine School Board hereby suspends provisions of its board policies and/or whole policies, as identified by the District Superintendent or designee, if such suspension is necessary to implement written guidance from state or federal agencies relating to containing COVID-19 for the duration identified in the Governor’s State of Public Health Emergency declaration of March 17, 2020, or as otherwise determined by the Board.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the District Superintendent will consult with and report to the Board as feasible and appropriate regarding the emergency closure and efforts to implement written guidance from health and government agencies.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the District Superintendent is authorized to close any school facility without further action by the Board of Directors. Such closure shall continue during the emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic until such time as the Superintendent, in consultation with appropriate health and government authorities, deems it in the best interests of the District and its students to open schools.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the District Superintendent is authorized, based upon the needs of the District and guidance from health and government agencies, to direct staff assignments during District closures, including but not limited to essential employees who must report to work, employees who may be reassigned, and employees whose services are not needed.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that access to public school grounds and public school buildings of the District may be limited as directed by the Superintendent during District closures.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified, exempt employees will remain employed during the school closure and until the number of days expressed on the contract have been fulfilled, unless otherwise approved by the Board. Days that contracted employees do not report for duty onsite or from a remote location, due to closure, do not constitute a fulfilled contract day except to the extent those days are forgiven by the District.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in light of this District-wide emergency closure, the Board authorizes the Superintendent to place hourly non-exempt employees on paid administrative leave and to continue to pay them for up to four weeks during the period of school closure, and the Board shall reevaluate this authority for any school closure lasting longer than four weeks.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in the interest of public health and/or to comply with federal or state health department recommendations or guidance, the Board may limit the number of people who can physically attend Board meetings and may, instead, encourage the public to attend or listen to its open public meetings live streaming on the internet and the Board may also limit public comment to written comments.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the board reserves the right to adjust board meeting dates, times, and locations during the district-wide emergency closure in a manner consistent with the Open Meetings law, and notes that any or all board members may attend board meetings electronically as permitted by law.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that execution of this Resolution is conclusive evidence of the Board’s approval of this action and of the authority granted herein. The Board warrants that it has, and at the time of this action had, full power and lawful authority to adopt this instrument. This resolution will remain in full force and effect until it is rescinded or amended by subsequent action of the Board.
On roll call voted: Beck, “aye;” Jacobi, “aye;” Reineke, “aye;” Johnson, “aye;” Coffman, “aye.” Motion carried.
- Action/Discussion on Purchase of Biomist for Cleaning of School – Discussion took place regarding the district’s purchase of Biomist solution for cleaning of the school. Superintendent presented quotations for this purchase, and explained that FEMA could provide reimbursement to the district for an amount of to 75% of the cost for expenditures in the mitigation of COVID 19. After further discussion, there was motion by Johnson, second by Jacobi to approve the purchase of Biomist cleaning solution for the school district. All voted, “aye.” Motion carried.
- Action/Discussion on Raises for Substitutes – Superintendent Straight presented information regarding current substitute rates paid to substitute employees in the district during the 2019-2020 year. After review and discussion, there was motion by Reineke, second by Johnson to increase the daily rate of pay for substitute teachers to $122.50/day and after 30 days of substituting in the district, that rate would increase further to $130 with retroactive pay for days worked previously at the lower daily rate. Non-certified substitute pay rates were increased from $8.81 $9.00 per hour in the same motion. All voted, “aye.” Motion carried.
- Action/Discussion of School Permits and Driver’s Education – Discussion took place regarding the current one-mile radius for the school permit requirements for student drivers in the district, as well as safety issues concerning the routes to school. Discussion also took place regarding the traffic restrictions that these student drivers are limited to. There was motion by Reineke, second by Beck to rescind the requirement of one-mile from the school to acquire a school permit for students due to safety concerns. In the same motion, student school permit drivers will be required to have a school permit indicator placed in their vehicles. All voted, “aye.” Motion carried. Further discussion took place regarding whether Driver Education will be offered in the summer or the Fall. No action was taken on that item.
- Action/Discussion on Using Elementary Gym for City Emergency Area –
There was motion by Reineke, second by Johnson to approve the use of the Longfellow gym for an emergency staging area in the event that the City would need to use this space for emergency community situations. All voted, “aye.” Motion carried.
- Action/Discussion on Part-Time At-Risk Person at Elementary – Discussion took place regarding the possibility of hiring a part-time individual for At-Risk at the elementary level. Further discussion took place regarding the district’s current At-Risk funding. Superintendent Straight recommended the board wait on action for this item until next school year. After further discussion, there was motion by Jacobi, second by Reineke to table this item until a future meeting. All voted, “aye.” Motion carried.
- Action/Discussion on Voluntary or Required Assignments – Superintendent Straight recommended the district continue with voluntary assignments while school is out of session. There was motion by Reineke, second by Jacobi to continue the voluntary enrichment for students for the 2019-2020 school year. All voted, “aye.” Motion carried. There was motion by Beck, second by Reineke to adjourn the meeting at 8:10 p.m.
Val Coffman, Board President
Stacey Kolars, Board Secretary