Plan, election for PPEL are approved

School Board
By: 
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     Three measures pertaining to the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) – including a special election – were approved by the Monticello School Board at its regular meeting Monday, Nov. 28.

     The PPEL, which this school year provides more than $367,000 to the district, expires on June 30, 2018, so the district has until then to get a new PPEL passed.

     The levy provides funding for school improvements such as infrastructure, computer needs and transportations. It is currently funded at a rate of $1.00 per $1,000 valuation, which includes 33 cents mandated by the state and 67 cents levied by the school district.

     If a new PPEL isn’t passed before the current one expires, the district, based on this year’s funding, would lose about $240,000 for the aforementioned needs, and would have to rely on about $120,000 mandated by the state.

     With that in mind, the board passed a resolution calling for a special election on Feb. 7, 2016 to renew the PPEL fund. The resolution called for it to be levied at the same 67-cent rate that currently exists, and for a period of 10 years beginning July 1, 2018.

     Also on Monday, the board passed a resolution of participation in the Instructional Support Program Levy, which provides additional funding for the district, and can be levied at a rate not to exceed 10 percent of the total regular program.

     A public hearing was held to open the meeting, and no public comments were made.

     Both levies have the option of using a combination of property tax and income surtax, with percentages of each to be determined later.

     In other action, the board:

     • heard a report from middle school principal Brent Meier about the progress made as a result of its Lunch Learning Lab, for students who are carrying at least two failing grades; and the behavior advisor position, which sends students to an “ER” (education room) when behavior issues disrupt class.

     Meier noted that since February 2016, when middle school students had a total of 168 “F” grades involving 72 students, those numbers have dropped to 48 “F” grades among 42 students as of mid-November.

     • approved the consent agenda, including personnel items. Among them were the resignations of Steve Holmes as assistant varsity baseball coach, and Sharon Cornelius as middle school cook; the appointments of Terri Keeney and Kelsie Wennekamp as volunteer girls basketball coaches, Jordan Richardson as volunteer wrestling coach, and Kendall Yousse as special education child specific associate at Shannon; and the transfers of Laura St. John from special education associate to preschool program associate at Shannon, and Stephanie Leytem, adding 1.75 hours per day for food service at the middle school.

     • heard a report from three staff members of the Grant Wood Area Education Agency (AEA), including regional administrators Bart Mason and Pamela Jacobs, and programs/services administrator Kristine Donnelly.

     The AEA members revisited their mission, which Mason said is “to assist and support your efforts with our expertise and materials,” calling the Monticello district “a great partner.”

     • approved the second reading of nine board policies, deleting one because it was covered in another policy. These ranged from students use of motor vehicles to anti-bullying and harassment, and included a code of ethics, which the district didn’t have previously.

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