BC School board – July 15, 2020

BENTON COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT 

IN THE COUNTIES OF TAMA, BENTON, AND IOWA, STATE OF IOWA 

BENTON REGULAR BOARD MEETING, WEDNESDAY, JULY 15, 7:45 PM 

BENTON COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY 

Board Meeting Opened: 7:45 P.M. Meeting was held at the MS/HS Library. 

1. Call to Order: 

Present: Directors Becker (on ZOOM), Ludeking, Nolte, Stepanek, Thompson, Upah and Werning. (All directors Present unless noted otherwise.) A Quorum was declared present. 

Also Present: Dr. Ewell, Doug Embray, Dr. Bieschke, Jason West, Anna Upah, Rob Arnold, Phil Eastman, Laurie Donald and Todd Donald. 

2. Action Item #1 – Delegations, Communications, Considerations of Additional Items for the Agenda 

Motion by Nolte, second by Becker to add the following items to the agenda: 

a. Add to agenda – Kristi Wright – Seasonal Maintenance 

b. Add – Tim Lyons- Seat belt addition to Transportation Handbook (See booklet) 

c. Change – Preschool Playgrounds – Need more time to work on this. This could be a Q & A time and more detail and recommendation at next meeting. 

d. June 9, 2020 Work Session Minutes 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

3. Open Forum 

No public Comment 

4. Action #2 – Approval of Agenda 

Motion by Thompson, second by Upah to approve the Agenda. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

5. Action #3 – Business Services 

Executive Summary: Reports provided would be the June fiscal close. We are currently working on the Fiscal year End Close FY’20 (i.e., 13th month). Items yet to be posted and recorded for the fiscal year end would be the accrued payroll, tuition special education, final 28E agreements (Vinton/Shellsburg shared counselor, shared human resources), home school assistance, and any items of service that were completed by June 30th. With payroll accruals already posted our year end General Fund current is $16,953,975.00. Reminder that FY’20 was going to be an excess fiscal as we allocated $122,000.00 of new money in budgeting and after filing the budget settled with all employee groups at $333,000.00. We are currently monitoring information provided by the Department of Education on how they intend to solicit responses on ‘savings’ for FY’20 due to COVID 19. Some items to keep in mind with regard to any ‘savings’ would be that the district committed based on federal guidance to pay its budgeted payroll and benefits. The district also purchased significant equipment, and PPE in reaction to the COVID 19 closure that for FY’20 will approach around 95K. Do we have savings in operational costs? 

BENTON REGULAR BOARD MEETING 

Page 2– July 15, 2020 

There are some savings with regard to Transportation, utilities, and some services components as it relates to classroom supply. As for any significant amounts, will know more as we post the 13th month. A developing concern with regard to the General Fund, Special Education, would be the lack of revenue recognized via Medicaid. The district did not recognize its typical logging of service for special needs students and reimbursement via Medicaid insurance filings. This will create a new negative balance in our Special Education program for FY’20. Not sure it is dramatic yet in that the district is allowed to levy the negative balance back into the FY’22 budget for cash and authority. 

Noting the All Funds report, I am satisfied with three other funds of concern currently closing for FY’20. Fund 21, 61, and 62 are all closing with a positive balance for FY’20. Concern is that these funds are all revenue based on participation, and fundraising. If the district would experience closures in the FY’21 fiscal, our nutrition and 3-year-old program would struggle. Dependent on how the district views fund raising, i.e. generally a September approval, the activity fund could struggle. 

Central Office business staff will be meeting with our GWAEA consultants and closing out our restricted fund balances in the next week. We plan to address all remaining FY 20 accounts payable and receivable in the next 30 days. I will highlight for the board the GAAP warrant list, and the July warrant list noting the differences in fiscal year. I will also comment on the close process for FY 20 and the details to that process. We have four edit errors to correct on our CAR for the DOE and a few warning messages. Once these are complete we will then be able to file our SES in August and be prepared for our final review with our Audit team in September for FY 20. 

One final comment on FY 20 would be that miscellaneous income is trending in comparison to FY 19 about the same or slightly higher. This can be contributed to additional Title revenue from FY 19, and higher transportation equity. This really will be a positive for our current authority position for FY 20. 

I will provide more information on the ‘formula’ the DOE provides that will be due in November 2020 on the calculation matrix for addressing ‘savings’ for COVID 19. I am somewhat sarcastic to the opinion that this is being ‘played’ politically with public institutions when all guidance ‘directed’ that all budgeted amounts in payroll and benefits should be paid as they have already been planned for collection. I don’t think that if we have future closures that guidance will be the same moving forward. I am being very conservative with my opinion on this ‘savings theme’. 

WARRANTS 

i. PRELIMINARY WARRANTS 

1. GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) 

2. FY21 

ii. ADDITIONAL WARRANTS 

1. GAAP 

2. FY21 

BENTON REGULAR BOARD MEETING 

Page 3– July 15, 2020 

2. 

3. 

i. SUMMARY OF PAID WARRANTS 

1. GAAP 

2. FY21 

b. FINANCIAL REPORTS 

i. GENERAL FUND REPORT 

ii. ALL FUNDS REPORT 

iii. CASH CLOSE FY20 

Motion by Nolte, second by Werning to approve the Business Services warrants and reports as approved. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

6. Action #4 – Membership Dues 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: I recommend that we join Rural Schools of Iowa. Margaret Buckton is the legislative advocate for rural schools and this organization has been extremely impactful in Iowa. Their recent work led to the legislature approving Transportation Equity. 

Motion by Nolte, second by Ludeking to approve the membership for Rural Schools of Iowa. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

7. Preschool Playgrounds 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Our Preschool Playgrounds are in need of updates and additions. The state of Iowa requires that schools operating under the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Programs (SWVPP) maintain and upkeep playgrounds that are specifically designed for 4-year-old children. Our playgrounds are also used by our 3-year old preschoolers. 

GameTime/Cunningham Recreation and their playground designer worked with us on 2 separate dates to assess our current playground situation. We now have a plan for upgrades and improvements and I would like to move forward with this in August before it gets cold and the snow flies. I will be recommending the following (Preschool budget which we have ample carryover dollars to do these improvements): 

BENTON REGULAR BOARD MEETING 

Page 4– July 15, 2020 

Atkins Preschool Playground 

● replace shredded fiber under current playground unit 

● add a new unit/area for play due to #’s of children needing this play area (to the west) 

● Add a new play unit to the area west of the building 

● Add rubber tiles under the new playground unit/area 

● add accessible & Inclusive play items for children with disabilities 

Keystone Preschool Playground 

● remove all material under current play units/areas 

● replace with rubber tiles (requires a concrete sub-base) under main play unit and shredded fiber under areas 

● add accessible & inclusive play items for children with disabilities 

● keep tricycle area 

● consider future Phase II if student enrollment increases upcoming years 

Central Lutheran – Preschool Playground area 

● remove mulch under Preschool portion of the playground 

● replace with shredded fiber or rubber tiles 

State bid rate/quote from GameTime – Approx. $200,000 includes install 

● New play unit for Atkins Elem. 

● Renderings – Atkins, Keystone, Central Lutheran 

● Quote for new play unit – – $39,391.68 

● Additional play items, inclusive play, fiber mulch, rubber tiles – all Preschool Playgrounds = $120,424 or more (likely $200,000) if we do rubber tiles under current play unit at CL 

Estimate timeline – Aug. – Sept. 

Includes state grant of approx. $21,000 

NO ACTION 

8. Action #5 – Facilities Assessment – Architectural Company – RFP 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: If the Board believes they are ready and have all the information and data needed, we are at a good juncture to move forward with hiring an architectural company and begin our facility study/assessment process. If it can begin in late August/mid-September with the members of a committee (SIAC with additional community members/stakeholders, students, staff) the timelines parallel well with the school year. It is anticipated the Facilities Study and Master Planning Process will take 10 months to a year. At this time, and with the data and information we have gathered, I would recommend the Board consider OPN as our architectural company. 

BENTON REGULAR BOARD MEETING 

Page 5 – July 15, 2020 

Motion by Nolte, second by Upah to approve the Request for Proposal and estimate from OPN for our Facilities and Infrastructure Assessment, study, and master plan during the upcoming school year. Direct the superintendent to lead this work with the architectural company and community/staff and student committee including SIAC members. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

9. School Building Roof 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Doug requested Garling Construction Inc. to survey and analyze our roof issues at Keystone Elementary. Doug will provide a report for the board. No action item at this time. However, I do feel (given the compromised roof causing leaking and potential air quality/possible toxic mildew and mold), we need to address this issue yet this year. Garling quoted $110,000 for a TPO roof covering. Any quote over $125,000 requires an engineer and architect. Over $55,000 requires competitive quotes. 

No action taken on this agenda item. 

10. Action #6– 5Cast/5Share/5Maps – Financial and Demographic Software 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Quote for our use of 5Cast, 5Sight and 5Maps software – $25,321.25 (PPEL funds). Doug, Jamie, and I engaged in a learning session with IASB and Forecast5 Analytics. The former SBO of Waukee (Lora Appenzeller, you might remember her…she does quite a few webinars and presentations at state convention) & Patti Shroeder (former SBO of DM and IASB financial advisor) work with Forecast5 Analytics to assist schools to use these tools. I’ve used 5Cast and 5Share for 6 years while conducting financial forecasting, budget forecasting, projection modeling, etc. These are extremely high-level tools and produce quality data and reports. 5Maps is new to me and this is the module that schools and some architectural/contracting companies are using for demographic work. Lora, Drew, & Patti will work with us to conduct the demographic study. 

Demographic work – alongside our Facilities Assessment/Study 

5Cast, 5Share, 5Maps 

Motion by Thompson, second by Ludeking to approve Forecast 5 Analytics software tools for financial reporting, district financial projection modeling, and demographic study. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

11. Action Item #7 – Return to Learn Plan Update 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The administration team has been working on our Hybrid options. I will present our Tier I Hybrid model which will allow students who elect not to attend school in person (due to health, compromised health, or parent request (they need to apply monthly to do this), to remain as Benton Community students and participate in school online – a hybrid of online (synchronous and some asynchronous) with their teacher(s). Tier I Hybrid might also include printed packets of school materials for the student. I will also discuss Tier 2 and Tier 3 which will only be used if necessary. 

BENTON REGULAR BOARD MEETING 

Page 6 – July 15, 2020 

Motion by Becker, second by Upah to approve the Return to Learn Hybrid Tier models. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

12. Action #8 – Agents of Record for 2929-21 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Board considered the agents of record for the 2020-21 school year. You have approved these particular agents at the July Meeting. The other board assigned agents typically come at the Annual Meeting. 

Insurance: EMC and Keystone Insurance – Carlene Silhanek 

Legal Services: Lynch Dallas 

Collective Bargaining & Personnel Management: Gary Ray & Associates 

Motion by Nolte, second by Thompson to approve the Agents of Record as shown. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

13. Action #9 –2020-2021 Calendar Adjustment 

a. The administration team has been working tirelessly on the specifics to our Return to Learn Plan. We would like to propose noon or 1:00 early dismissal on each Wed. so that teachers and staff can engage in online/digital teaching and assessments with students who may not be in attendance and requesting the Hybrid Tier I model. We will need this time as an early dismissal to work with parents/students, online instruction, learning strategies for online instruction, assessing student work, feedback to students and parents, professional learning, and PD. I do believe this approach is necessary given the current conditions of education in our state and community. After Semester 1, if we find that we can move back to full on-site with most, if not all of our students, we would go back to our regular calendar. 

b. If you want to use tonight to discuss and hold a short stand-up board meeting next week to make a final decision, I am fine with that. I am bringing this to you on rather short notice. 

Motion by Nolte, second by Werning to approve the Calendar adjustments. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

14. Action #10 – Handbooks 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: About half of the Handbooks are on the July agenda and the other half will come to you in August. I will ask each administrator to highlight any revisions for the Board. 

a. Benton Elementary Curriculum Manual 

b. Benton Secondary Curriculum Manual 

c. 2020-2021 Activity Handbook – Changes, Activity Handbook 

d. Transportation Handbook 

BENTON REGULAR BOARD MEETING 

Page 7 – July 15, 2020 

Motion by Nolte, second by Upah to approve the Handbooks as presented. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

15. Action #11 – SCHEDULE OF REGULAR SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS 2020-2021 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: I scheduled the Regular meetings for the year and included typical/time-sensitive deadlines for monthly agendas. 

Motion by Thompson, second by Nolte to approve the 2020-2021 Regular Board meeting schedule. 

Motion by Ludeking, second by Werning to approve policies as reviewed and revised. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

16. Action Item #12 – Foreign Exchange Student 

Recommendation from Principal Rob Arnold 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Motion by Upah, second by Ludeking to approve the 2020-2021 Foreign Exchange Student to attend Benton Community. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

17. Administration Reports 

A. July 2020 – Admin. team 

B. School Improvement / Student Achievement Reports for 2020-2021 Admin. Team & Directors 

C. Protocols and procedures – FFCVA – return to work – Superintendent 

18. Action Item #13 – Policy Review 

Executive summary: Outdated policies are in progress for review. 

Text in RED would be language revised and added, text with strikethrough would be removed. 

Reviewed and revised Policies 

1. Policy 414.3 – Classified Employee Bereavement Leave 

2. Policy 219 – Annual Notice of Nondiscrimination 

Motion by Nolte, second by Thompson to approve the following policies as reviewed and revised. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

BENTON REGULAR BOARD MEETING 

Page 8 – June 17, 2020 

19. Action Item #14 – Consent Agenda 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: 

● Note: we approved Hudson Johnston at the last meeting. He needed to be released from his contract at Muscatine. This is now complete. We are glad to have Hudson join us! He is already working with our football players. Hudson will teach MS Special Education and Secondary Interventionist. 

● Follett is our software for the library/media centers. Annual subscription is due plus several updates. 

A. OPEN ENROLLMENT 

i. Belle Werner – Eric and Michele Werner 

B. PERSONNEL – all hires are contingent on an approved background check/fingerprinting and appropriate degree and licensure. 

i. Hires 

1. Mike Arnold – Bus Driver – Recommendation 

2. Hudson Johnston – Asst. Varsity Football Coach – Recommendation 

ii. Resignations 

1. Megan Rinderknecht – Atkins Associate – Resignation 

C. CONTRACTS 

Follett Amendment 

D. MEETING MINUTES 

June 17, 2020 

Motion by Upah, second by Werning to approve the Consent Agenda as presented. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

20. Superintendent 

Report and Updates: 

● Roof – elementary school 

● Survey – deployed to parents July 1, RTL planning 

● Survey to staff – coming out soon 

● Communication process 

● SIAC as Facilities Study/Assessment Committee – adding more from community, staff, and study body 

21. Action Item# 15 – Adjournment 

Motion by Nolte, second by Thompson to adjourn meet at 10:23 p.m. 

MOTION CARRIED 

ALL MEMBERS PRESENT VOTING AYE 

 TO: BENTON COMMUNITY BOARD OF EDUCATION 

FROM: DR. PAM EWELL, SUPERINTENDENT 

RE: WORK SESSION 

TIME: 5:30 P.M., JULY 15, 2020 

PLACE: HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY 

600 1ST STREET, VAN HORNE, IA 52346 

5:30 P.M. – Work Session 

Present: Directors Stepanek, Ludeking, Thompson, E. Upah, Werning, Becker (on Zoom), and Nolte. 

Also Present: Dr. Ewell, Dr. Bieschke, Doug Embray, Harry Heiligenthal from IASB, Rob Arnold, Jason West, Phil Eastman and Anna Upah. 

5:30 P.M. – WORK SESSION OPEN 

Discussed Role of School Board in Superintendent in the evaluation process and her work aligned with Board goals. Elements around the role of Superintendent in process, pace of actionable steps, clarity of process, and context for timelines. Harry Heiligenthal, representing IASB, facilitated the work session on goal setting. Focus on work session was to ‘unpack’ goals for #4 Infrastructure and Facilities and for #5 Marketing and Customer Satisfaction. 

Opened discussion of how COVID 19 may impact current goals, look to future on how actions of goals may be influenced by COVID 19 in coming months. 

Focusing on goal #4, Harry Heiligenthal asked the board to highlight the ability to communicate this goal to school community. Where is goal headed? Can board members speak to the worth or value of this goal in interactions with the community? How accountable is the board with this goal? Board shared big ideas, short and long-term plans for facilities, study and demographics of the school district, all of our facilities are aging and how we deal with the pressures of maintenance and repair, what is a 21st century learning environment, unbalanced growth in our communities and impacts on school facilities, and reflection back and forward message of visionary facilities. 

With goal #4 where do we need to be by next April 2021? The Superintendent shared the time frame and time line of goal #4 and all the aspects of work to date. Development of facilities study and baseline data on demography were highlighted. 

Harry Heiligenthal highlighted for the board strategies on breaking down information into shorter segments combined with regular updates, on the potential for quarterly reviews enhancing board members with a better understanding of the goal, and communicating progress to school patrons. Typical road blocks with process of goal management include assessing needs, supports, and necessary adjustments to the goal path. 

What would a monthly and or quarterly review progress update look like and how would the board process this information for influence in goal documentation? 

Does COVID 19 impact this process? Yes, could reframe the timeline, the study, and the actionable final reports of the process. 

Board and Harry Heiligenthal moved to Goal # 5, Marketing and Customer Satisfaction. Board members shared what is our best foot forward on articulating our facilities discussion and plan? There are challenges with eight communities and communicating intent, manage division, and work to be one community with a school focus. How do we communicate for work to the school community? How do you handle the Nay Sayers? How do we support the school community that wants to progress and improve? We need to be able to sell our school to promote enrollment and stability? Benton has a good story but we struggle to sell that message to all elements of our community? The superintendent reviewed the progress update for this goal. Various forms of communication are used and highlighted, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, print/paper, article submission with the local Paper, and website statistics (11k followers). 

5:30 P.M. – Work Session 

July 15, 2020 

Page 2 

The Board shared that this goal has been impacted by the COVID 19 closure. How can we can communicate and market our district against open enrollment for online learning in the future due to COVID 19 enrollment allowances provided by the State of Iowa and Department of Education? The Superintendent shared that we might ramp this goal area up and work this goal more aggressively. New forms of communication may be encountered that enhance enrollment options. Could be a very negative impact on our district finances due to COVID-19. Valuable to tell our good rural story and great aspects of Benton life styles. Leverage the moment of risk and challenges. Board members need to be able to speak clearly and accurately on this topic. If we have the courage we can bring COVID 19 to a positive level for Benton CSD. Good opportunity to tie goal #4 and #5 into one goal? Where do we want to be in April and what resources do we have or need to be making progress on this goal? 

Summary focus on monthly and quarterly reviews of these two goals. What is anticipated? What has been unanticipated? What resources are needed? What adjustments are necessary to maintain movement forward? 

Harry and Board Members ranked standards to priorities, and the expectation for work is to progress with updates on a regular basis in a bi-annual context. 

The Superintendent, Board, and Harry H. prioritized performance standards and order of board preference. 

Harry H. asked the board to provide feedback electronically on the work session. 

Work Session Ended 7:34 P.M. 

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