Sharing agreement with P-C, soccer, early retirements topics for school board

The Greene County Schools board of education approved a two-year agreement with Paton-Churdan for academic and athletic sharing at its Dec. 19 regular meeting. The P-C board approved the agreement at its regular meeting Dec. 6.

The agreement does not include whole grade sharing in the second year, as Greene County had hoped for, but Paton-Churdan agreed to increase its share of costs for both academics and athletics.

The new agreement will be in place for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. Paton-Churdan will pay 95 percent of the state cost per pupil (per class attended), an increase from 90 percent but not the 100 percent Greene County asked for. P-C will pay 100 percent of the state cost per pupil for career and technical educations classes and upper level math and science classes. Greene County had asked for 125 percent.

Paton-Churdan will pay significantly more for shared athletics. P-C now pays $6,700 for its students playing on Greene County teams. That equals $143 per student per sport. The total cost paid by Greene County for athletic programs divided by participation showed $597.76 per student per sport. P-C agreed to pay the greater rate, upping its anticipated cost to about $25,000.

The two schools will continue sharing cross country, football, wrestling, golf, soccer, baseball and softball. P-C has its own volleyball, basketball and track teams. The new agreement also states that once a sport is shared, it will remain shared.

Board member Catherine Wilson voted against the agreement. During the discussion she expressed concern that Greene County students were unable to schedule academic classes because of accommodations made for P-C students.

The 2019 soccer season followed the P-C sharing agreement on the agenda.

Greene County introduced soccer last spring on a trial basis. The school paid for items that could be purchased with physical plant and equipment levy (PPEL) funds, but parents raised money for uniforms and equipment. Carl Behne and Marilyn Tasler volunteered as head coaches for boys and girls respectively, and Chad Black volunteered as assistant boys coach.

Superintendent Tim Christensen proposed paying one head coach for each team six “units” on the supplemental pay schedule. That computes to $3,419.34 each.

Chad Black and his wife Shannon both lobbied the board for pay for at least a boys assistant coach, but preferably for a girls assistant coach, too. Chad Black said he had volunteered much more time than just coaching and understood he’d be paid in the 2019 season. He said it was “outrageous” to propose he not be paid.

After discussion a decision was tabled until activities director Mitch Moore and the soccer coaches meet and propose a budget to the board. Wilson and board member Steve Fisher seemed certain money could be found for three positions. Board member Steve Karber was not as sure.

The board approved early retirement requests from three staff members with a cumulative total of 100 years of service to the Greene County Schools.

Applications came from kindergarten teacher Ann Ostendorf and elementary phys. ed. teacher Lori Danner, who have been with the district for 35 and 32 years, respectively; and from technology director Tim Buenz, who has been with the district for 33 years.
The district will pay a total of $134,325 in incentives as part of the voluntary early retirement policy. The board had approved up to $200,000 for early retirements.

Board president Mark Peters and board member John McConnell will work together to draft a policy listing circumstances that would support granting an exception to the 1-mile requirement for a minor’s permit to drive to school.

Per state code, students who live more than 1 mile from school can get a school permit; students who live closer must request and receive an exception from the superintendent. Christensen in his tenure has denied all requests for exceptions.

Peters thinks there may be circumstances that justify an exception. He and McConnell will draft a proposal for the January meeting. Christensen asked the board to consider exceptions rather than it being his responsibility going forward.

The board accepted the low bid of $154,600 from Lansing Brothers Construction of Luxemburg for demolition of the former school building in Grand Junction. The same company razed the three-story portion of the Rippey school five years ago.

Christensen reported the sale of the house built by the construction class last school year closed last week. The class is not building a house this year but is rehabbing the second floor of Prairie Lakes AEA’s building on the north side of the downtown square as housing.

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