The South Tama School Board met Monday evening for discussion of items ranging from the Governor's Task Force Report on the Iowa Juvenile home in Toledo to whether to hold a special election on the Physical Property and Equipment Levy (PPEL). Board members Mark McFate, Michelle Yuska, Jackie Dvorak and new member Alan Kline were present and member Anne Michael was absent.
The most discussed item was the Governor's Task Force Draft recommendation for Educational Services at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo. The Task Force has been working on an evaluation and recommendations for the facility in Toledo and issued their draft report on Oct. 7.
In the report were four options for the educational portion of the recommendations:
Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls in Toledo
1. Going to Area Education Agency District 7 for educational services.
3. Leave as is.
4. Having the school (South Tama) provide these services.
The No. 4 option would have South Tama providing services. It is unknown if this would be at one of South Tama's attendance centers under this plan. It was noted this would involve a sizable amount of money. Enrollment fluctuates often. The maximum number of students currently at IJH is 57.
The seclusion room was discussed. Nelson said South Tama has a quiet room (seclusion) for each building. It seems the majority of schools do have this policy for the safety of the students when they become extremely distraught.
Some of these students suffer severe emotional problems it was reported. It seems there is no place else to handle this type of student.
The Task Force prefers the school district take charge over the AEA.
State Representative Dean Fisher was present for the meeting. Fisher said funding should come from the state as this is not a group of South Tama students but State of Iowa students.
He suggested it might be possible to classify the Juvenile Home as an individual district.
Nelson again reminded the board there are many unknowns about next year. This needs to be considered in the decisions of any of the above discussions.
The next meeting decisions on most of these will be made.
The meetings are open to the public and are held in the Partnership Center in Tama.
Physical Plant Equipment Levy Re-Vote
Board members discussed the PPEL renewal which failed on the school election ballot. The PPEL question failed by one vote.
Therefore, the discussion was whether to have a special election and try to pass the issue. A special election cannot be held until early next year (2014) in February.
A special election could cost up to $9,000.
The PPEL fund can be used only for facilities It is not designed to use for education in any way. This will come up at the next meeting for a vote as to whether to try again for the fund.
Iowa Premium Beef
Superintendent Nelson told the board it is almost certain the Iowa Premium Beef plant will be opened mid-year in 2014. She said this could bring an influx of new students, the low end estimated at 100 students and the high end from 300-400 students, depending on the number of employees they hire.
TYCO Security has given a proposal for security at the South Tama buildings. The proposal states cameras are important, along with door security and prevention. The company feels it is important to start with securing outside of the buildings, then cameras.
Also recommended is to use security cards rather than codes. It is estimated the cost could be $5,000 per door.
Also discussed was ALICE training. This would include emergency response for the staff as well as having a chart for different situations.
They talked of freeze-fight-or run situations. Law enforcement has training for these situations and it was suggested principals and custodians work with local law enforcement. Tama County Law Enforcement knows their school buildings well, and have practice drills when not school is not in session.
A retirement incentive was not offered last year, so it was discussed for this year. Nelson explained a retirement incentive was not offered last year, not eliminated. Nelson says if the packing plant goes into operation and there is an influx of students, it may be necessary to hire ESL (English Second Language) teachers to handle this.
Nelson said there is much unknown about next year. A decision on the outcome of a retirement incentive will be discussed again at the next meeting.