Activities Director Kevin Pederson Retires

School BoardBy Eduardo Zamarripa, CRI Weekly News

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Oskaloosa School Board announced Activities Director Kevin Pederson’s retirement on Tuesday night.

Pederson has held the position since the 2006-07 school year. He submitted his retirement letter to the board.

“I can’t say enough. I truly appreciate what Kevin’s done in all the years, the last four years that I’ve been here. People really don’t understand the hours involved,” said Oskaloosa Community School District Superintendent Russ Reiter. “He’s done a nice job for us and I want to thank him for all the years of service and wish him well in his retirement.”

Pederson will finish out the school year. This year, with Pederson at the helm, the Oskaloosa High School football varsity squad finished 7-4 and lost in the Second Round of Class 3A State Playoffs. Meanwhile, the OHS boys varsity team finished 1-21, and the OHS girls varsity team finished 3-19. Three varsity cross country runners also earned All-State Honors, a historic accomplishment for OHS.

The board also approved student fees and nutrition prices for next school year, but waived the parking sticker fee for OHS students.

Reiter recommended reducing the parking fee from $20 to $10. However, board member Charlie Comfort made a motion to approve the student fees and nutrition prices, and waive the parking fee.

“Historically I’ve been opposed to the parking fee. I’ve always had an issue with charging students to park in their parking lot,” Comfort said. “Again, I understand why we want to have the fee, to pay for the security cameras. They’re definitely important, but I just kind of feel it’s wrong to charge them (the students).”

Comfort’s motion passed on a four-to-one vote. Board member Nik Rule voted against Comfort’s motion. Rule then made a motion to approve the parking sticker fee as recommended by Reiter, with a cost of $10. That motion failed on a two-to-three vote.

The cost for breakfast, lunch, milk, and driver’s education will remain the same for next school year.

In addition to that, the board unanimously approved publishing the 2014-15 certified budget.

In the previous school board meeting, Board Treasurer Chad Vink said ‘headcount’ enrollment increased by 35.1 students, which is a 1.5 percent increase compared to fiscal year 2014. That’s an important figure because more students means more funding for the district.

For every student, the district will receive $6,366 in funding. That figure is up from $6,121 in FY 2014. This means the district will receive approximately $808,507 in additional allowable growth funding for next fiscal year. Allowable growth, now known as Supplemental State Aid, is the amount of funding schools receive from the state.

The board is proposing a tax levy of $14.98 per $1,000 of assessed taxable value. That’s a 32-cent decrease from FY 2014. For property owners, that means the school tax levied on properties will decrease about $17.40 for a home worth $100,000.

The board set the public hearing for the budget for Tuesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. The board has to approve the budget before April 15, which is the state deadline.

Lastly, Reiter discussed the previously approved curriculum assessment. The board approved that assessment on Jan. 28. The assessment costs $9,000, and will be conducted by the Iowa Association of School Board. It looks at the following:

  • Role of the board/school leadership
  • Indicators of student achievement
  • Establishing rigorous standards, assessments, and instruction
  • Classroom instruction (evaluate whether students are actively engaged)
  • School curriculum

Reiter said three or four members from the IASB will visit classrooms, meet with administrators, and evaluate data. The IASB representatives will evaluate the district for three days, starting on Friday, March 14.

“They’re taking just a real good look at all the things that deal with our curricular issues, financial issues,” Reiter said in an interview with CRI after the meeting.

The assessment will take six-to-eight weeks for completion.

In other agenda items, Vink presented an audit report from the previous fiscal year (2012-13), and the board received presentations from the Professional Learning Community (PLC) and the District Leadership Team. The board authorized the sale of two buses and a driver’s education car, and approved the appointment of Brett Spurgeon as high school agricultural sciences teacher. Spurgeon is replacing Mike Striegel, who recently retired.

The board also approved the resignation of high school special education teacher Brandi Crall.

The next school board meeting is on Monday, March 24 at 7 p.m. The board will decide whether that meeting will only be a work session.

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