New bus to depend on PPEL vote

School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     If the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) fails to pass during the special election on Feb. 7, the impact to the Monticello Community School District will be felt very quickly in its bus fleet.

     The Monticello School Board, at its regular meeting Monday, Jan. 23, voted to approve the bid of School Bus Sales Co. for the purchase of a 2018 Blue Bird All American, 84-passenger transit bus, at a cost of $93,636.

     The district tries to replace a bus every year, so as to keep the fleet current and repair costs down.

     This approval, however, comes with a catch. Board member Bud Johnson suggested that the bid be approved pending passage of the PPEL at the Feb. 7 election (see related story on p. A-1). So the district will know, before the bid expires on Feb. 13, whether it will have access to PPEL funds to purchase the bus.

     Johnson made that motion, and it was seconded by Dave Melchert before the board approved it unanimously.

MEA initial proposal

     Another financial issue took center stage at Monday’s meeting, as the Monticello Education Association (MEA) made its initial contract proposal to the district.

     The proposal, which chief negotiator Shannon Guyer said was one of the most modest in recent years, asked for a 4.5 percent total package increase, including a $1,200 increase to the base salary.

     It also covered provisions regarding safety, and extending the Memorandum of Understanding Teacher Leadership System for an additional year.

     The board met in exempt session following the meeting.

Middle school crossing guard

     During his report at the meeting, middle school principal Brent Meier said an additional crossing guard will be utilized to help those students who cross Main Street at Washington Street to get to school.

     Meier and Superintendent Brian Jaeger met with chief of police Britt Smith and others to come up with a solution, and the additional crossing guard was deemed to be the best one.

     In other action, the board:

     • approved the Transition Alliance Program (TAP) staffing request, allowing for a position to be filled. TAP provides training for youth with disabilities as they prepare to leave high school. One-half of the salary will be funded by Voc Rehab.

     • approved a consortium agreement to jointly administer an instructional program at the Hillcrest site with the Maquoketa Community School District.

     • approved the Jones Regional/Kirkwood Program of Studies Handbook and the High School Registration Handbook.

     • approved the second reading of a board policy pertaining to student directory information, and first readings of five board policies.

     • as part of the consent agenda, approved a rescheduled trip to St. Louis, Mo. for the MHS baseball team. The team will watch the St. Louis Cardinals play the Washington Nationals on July 1 or 2, and then play a high school game against Wilton High School.

     • as part of the consent agenda, approved the resignations of Deron Hakert as assistant varsity football coach and strength and conditioning coach, Melissa Gadient as sixth-grade teacher, and Cindy Lightner as special education program associate.

     • as part of the consent agenda, approved the appointments of Chance Manternach, Angie Osterkamp, Sabrina LaBarge and Shawna Giegerich as special ed child specific associates. Also approved was the transfer of Jon Swisher as special ed child specific associate from one child to another.

     • announced that a PPEL Community Forum will be Jan. 30, 5 p.m. in the MHS Auditorium.

     • announced that the next work session will be Feb. 8, and the next regular board meeting Feb. 27, both at 6 p.m.

     • announced that the Monticello School District Foundation Gala and Auction will be Saturday, March 4 at the Berndes Center.


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