No early-out Wednesdays in 2020-21 school calendar

Greene County students will have different start dates and there won’t be weekly early dismissals in a 2020-21 calendar presented at the Feb. 19 regular school board meeting.

The calendar calls for high school students to start classes Thursday, Aug. 27, while middle school and elementary students won’t start until Tuesday, Sept. 8. High school students will have 174 attendance days; younger students will have 167 attendance days.

The staggered start dates are because of the repurposing of the current high school for use as the middle school. Although some work on the HVAC system will begin before school dismisses this spring, most will not begin until students and staff are gone for the summer. The later start date is to give enough time for the work to be completed.

School superintendent Tim Christensen explained that high school students would be short the required number of hours of contact time with teachers per credit hour (Carnegie units) if they didn’t start until after Labor Day.

Teachers will all report for work on Aug. 24, with elementary and middle school teachers spending the extra days in professional development. The calendar doesn’t include early dismissals Wednesdays for teacher professional development, although teachers will have six “data days” without students during the year.

Christensen told the board that teachers had seen the calendar and he heard comments from only a couple of them.

The board will hold a public hearing on the calendar at the regular board meeting March 11. Click here to see the calendar.

The board approved the project scope for the high school repurposing. Christensen reported estimates were higher than expected, so parts of the project will be done in phases. Bids will be due March 4 and a public hearing is slated for March 11 to accept bids.

Christensen notified the board that $140,000 from the estate of former teacher Ray Dillard that was received in 2017 and specified for the middle school library will be put to use for the “new” middle school library.

The board tabled two items of new business until the March meeting. Both items were proposed by activities director Todd Gordon. Gordon was not at the meeting, as he attended the varsity girls basketball post season game in Story City.

The first item was contracting with Home Town Ticketing Inc for ticket sales for athletic and other events. The Home Town Ticketing app would allow electronic payment, early ticket sales and reserved seating. Board members raised questions about the process and the terms of the contract. The board tabled a decision until they have more information.

The second item was purchase of a weather monitoring system that includes sirens that would sound at the school’s athletic fields when lightning came within an unsafe distance. The system would also provide apparent heat and wind chill to aid in decisions about children outdoors. Cost for purchase and installation is $4,198, with an annual fee of $3,199. The board tabled the decision until Gordon is available for further discussion.

The board approved a resolution supporting the issuance of approximately $10 million in School Infrastructure Sales and Use Tax revenue bonds. The bonds will provide funds for refinancing bonds currently held at a higher interest rate and for the repurposing project at the high school.

The sale of the bonds is scheduled for March 31. The board will hold a special meeting that day at 5:15 pm to approve the bidder.

The board approved an early retirement request from food service co-director Kay Sesker. The board also reappointed Christensen to the Bell Tower Community Foundation.

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