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Tomlonovic: ‘There are seven of us here. We need to be included in this stuff’

C-M fails to approve 2.2 percent non-union employee salary increase

Published: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 8:40 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 8:46 a.m. CST
(Anthony Victor Reyes/Jasper County Tribune)
Colfax-Mingo CSD board members Doug Van Dyke, Jayme Trier-Lind and Brandie Gean listen as several members of the high school's golf team share their concerns Monday about the joint operations with Baxter CSD next school year.
(Anthony Victor Reyes/Jasper County Tribune)
Colfax-Mingo Junior High science teacher, Tim McCloud recognized Lillie McKee, Daytin Jones, Olivia Van Heukelom Monday during the scheduled school board meeting for their achievements on their science fair projects.

COLFAX – At its final scheduled meeting before the last day of school, Colfax-Mingo school board discussed and voted on several important topics Monday.

Non-Union Contracts Settlement

The meeting began with board member Mardell Tomlonovic asking the C-M board of directors to postpone the decision on the non-union contracts settlement. She said she wishes the board could discuss the decision before it is put to vote.

“We meet the first Monday of the month for workshop. These are things we need to discuss as a board. This should not be put on an action item until we have discussed,” Tomlonovic said at the meeting. “You two (C-M board of directors president Mary Poulter and vice-president Jan Myers) can’t make the decision for the board... We are a board. There are seven of us here. We need to be included in this stuff.”

Despite her concern, the contracts of the C-M CSD principals, the superintendent’s secretary, school business official, assistant to the business official and maintenance director were put to vote at the meeting.

According to school officials, the executive committee, which consists of Poulter and Myers, discussed the settlement and decided to offer a 2.20 percent overall package increase to these positions for the 2017-18 school year. This increase totaled $10,596.54.

Poulter said in the past, the superintendent typically is a part of the discussion of the contracts. Outgoing C-M superintendent Hook said he was not invited to the meeting.

“The decision was made by Mary and Jan, with the superintendent absent from that meeting,” Hook said. “Since we don’t have a finance committee, we should have gone to the full board for discussion.”

The board voted to not approve the contracts settlement. Officials said this will be discussed in June.

“It was nothing against the people. It was nothing against the raise. It was procedural,” Poulter said. “People wanted to talk about it, have a discussion and go into it.”

According to the board secretary, the board acted quickly without hesitation when voting to increase the teacher base salary for a two-year settlement in a special meeting in February. In a 5-0 vote, they approved the base salary of $30,300, an increase of $300 for 2017-18 and the base salary of $30,500, an increase of $200 for 2018-19.

Heartland Area Education Association

Also at the meeting, the board officially approved 3-2 the sharing agreement with Heartland Area Education Association for superintendent services, after the organization took formal action and named Jim Verlengia, the director of leadership support of the nonprofit education agency, as the staff member who will fulfill the district’s superintendent needs.

The board approved the contract with Heartland AEA 4-1 during April’s meeting after discussing the potential replacement options during a work session April 3. The board voted to purchase superintendent services at half-time for $92,000. This includes salary, benefits and mileage for transportation.

During April’s meeting, several community members voiced their concerns with hiring Heartland AEA and not renewing Hook’s contract which expires June 30.

In the decision of the sharing agreement at May’s scheduled meeting, board members Doug Van Dyke and Tomlonovic voted against the approval. Board member Brandie Gean abstained from voting. She is currently a member of the Heartland AEA’s professional development team.

Baxter CSD Golf Sharing Program

Four Colfax-Mingo CSD students attended the meeting to share their opinions on the potential of sharing its golf program with Baxter CSD.

In a special meeting May 1, activities director Zach Tomas shared information about the possibility of sharing the golf program. During the meeting, he shared a potential option where each school would provide one coach and pay for their own coach. The schools would be responsible for one-half of the other accumulated expenses of the program.

During Monday’s meeting, junior Wyatt Smith said the six members of the boy’s varsity golf program and several of the girl’s varsity members are against this decision.

“They are just going to come here and try to take spots from us. We are going to risk losing our friends that we have golfed with the past couple years,” Wyatt said. “We are good where we are. We don’t really need them to get any better.”

The golf team members said in the past, they have experienced some issues with team members of Baxter CSD’s golf program.

“We just don’t flat out get along with Baxter. Don’t bring their reputation all the way back to us,” sophomore Ahren Teed said. “They have nothing that will help us team wise.”

Sophomores Camilla Schlosser and Nic Duffy also attended the meeting to share their concerns with the board.

The activities director acknowledged there is a healthy rivalry between Baxter and Colfax-Mingo, like there is at every nearby school district. He said he praised the students for voicing their concerns and believes they should have input in the decision.

“I think if we get to the point of sharing, I think we can get all sides on board. Right now, it is a new concept for us. We are used to going outside of our school, but not students coming in,” Tomas said. “We send kids to PCM to play soccer and we send kids to Newton to swim. This may be another opportunity to bring kids in to play golf with us. There is still so much that needs to be worked through. This conversation needs to be had before we get too upset one way or the other.”

The sharing program will be discussed in further detail in future meetings.

Other Business

During the meeting, the board approved a few hirings and resignations. Brian Warrick and Blake Warrick were approved to be co-assistant high school baseball coaches for the summer 2017 season. According to Hook, the two will split the salary of the position. The board also approved the resignation of girls high school basketball assistance coach, Mike Underwood and elementary teacher, Shannon James.

The board also approved the bid to contract Grife IT as its technology contractor for the 2017-18 school year. They will begin July 1. The board reviewed the one bid for the position during the work session May 1.

For the 2017-18 school year, C-M school board unanimously approved to continue its partnership with PCM CSD to share a nutrition director, and its sharing agreement regarding the media director position with Baxter CSD.

Also during the meeting, the board unanimously approved the mandated, meal charge policy, a cooperative agreement with University of Northern Iowa regarding student teaching opportunities, a kinesiology and heath promotion internship program with Grand View University for the 2017-18 school year and the STRIVE 28E agreement which allows qualified students to receive vocational education.

The board also discussed the sale of the two-story house at 21 S. Walnut St. in Colfax, a paving project with the city and MidAmerican in the school’s parking lot and potential summer projects at the school.

Junior high science instructor, Tim McCloud, recognized three students for their achievements at the State Science Fair during Monday’s meeting. Lillie McKee and Daytin Jones received second place in the Transportation Energy category, while Olivia Van Heukelom received Outstanding Science Recognition Award from Keokuk Corporation.

Grant Alexander, Cole Bracewell and Shelby Purdy, who were not present at the meeting, also received honors for their science fair projects.

The board members also celebrated the work they have accomplished this school year. Korie Whiteman also presented a summer program for children GenerationOn is interested in sponsoring.

Myers and Tomas were not in attendance during Monday’s scheduled meeting.

Contact Anthony Victor Reyes at areyes@jaspercountytribune.com

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