MCSD summer reading program to continue

School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     The Iowa State Legislature voted to discontinue funding for the summer reading initiative at its recently-completed session.

     In Monticello, it will continue anyway.

     The Monticello School Board heard a report from elementary principal Denny Folken, during the board’s regular meeting April 24, that because the Monticello Community School District has enjoyed success with the program, and because there are state funds left over, the program will continue this summer.

     Folken said last year’s program cost about $16,000 to run, and that about $47,000 of the district’s allocation for the program remains.

     “We’re planning to proceed, and we’ve communicated that with our parents,” Folken said. “I’d like to continue with our plans, and when we get to fall we can re-evaluate. If we wanted to do it for multiple years, we would have the budget to do that.”

     Board president Angie Beitz and Folken, later in the meeting, both said the program has seen success in Monticello.

     “The State of Iowa didn’t find as much success as it wanted to, but we’re finding success in what we’re doing here in the summer with our students,” Beitz said.

     Folken agreed: “The data show that it kept kids where they left off in May.”

     In another development, the board approved the three-year Strategic Operating Plan that was the focus of the April 12 work session.

     The plan, which has involved committees including people from all facets of the Monticello citizenry, works to address the district’s priorities of focus over the next three years. It is divided into the categories of Facilities, Communication, Technology, and Teaching/Learning.

     Superintendent Brian Jaeger said plans are to post the complete plan onto the school district website.

     A consent agenda item that included multiple personnel changes was brought out for discussion by board member Bud Johnson. He expressed concerns that people who have applied for coaching positions haven’t always heard back when they are not being considered for an interview.

     Jaeger said the district is working to address that, adding, “We want to hire the right way.”

Among those personnel items, the board:

     • appointed, as part of the consent agenda, Morgan Murray and Heather Hansen as summer technology associates, Dale Sperfslage as assistant baseball coach, Doug Ries as assistant varsity softball coach, Cindy Savage, Jenny Wolfe, Stacy Campbell, Amanda Stoll, Tricia Lambert, Abby Green, Rachel Brindle, Angie Fairley and Andrea Janssen as summer reading teachers; Jean Kehoe and Stacy Campbell as summer reading co-coordinators; Pat Kelly as summer food service director; and Linda Kelly, Ginger Eilers, Gwen Guilford, Leann Payne, Diane James and Marsha Kraus as summer food service employees.

     • approved the resignation of Dana Merfeld as kindergarten teacher, preK-6 math curricular lead and elementary AIW coach.

     • approved the transfer of Angela Kurt-Sconsa from seventh-grade language arts teacher to high school Level I special education teacher/Transition Alliance program specialist.

In other action, the board:

     • approved the E-rate infrastructure bids of three different companies: ITS, RTI and Lightedge. The board approved the lowest rate for each of several categories in order to get the lowest overall rate. The total cost would then be $71,905.90; had the board gone only with the company that bid lowest across the board, ITS, the cost would have been $94,485.90.

     • approved the E-rate Internet bid of Mediacom, at a cost of $850 per month.


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