Foresee possible delay in second South Tama middle school bond vote

It appears the South Tama School Board may look to next spring if a second middle school bond issue vote is brought before district voters. Brad Leeper, an architect with the Invision firm which developed plans for the March bond proposal, reviewed options for the board during a two and one-half hour long “Google Hangout” electronic meeting Monday night, May 4. The meeting was conducted with COVID-19 guidelines in place with an option for attendance in person at the South Tama Partnership Center.

Superintendent Jared Smith said the board and he had heard a call for more details on what was planned for a middle school addition to the high school following March 4 vote. The bond issue was approved by a majority, 53%- 47%, but bond issue votes require a 60% approval for passage.

He suggested the COVID-19 circumstances may not be favorable to being the issue back before voters in September, the next allowable voting date.

A vote is actually called by district voters who petition for an election. The procedure is usually carried out through a process supported by a school board and school officials.

Leeper presented two options ranging from a cost of $20,000 – $30,000 and $50,000- $80,000 depending upon how in-depth the plans would be. He said either cost would be included as part of the overall cost if his firm were chosen for final plans and not be an additional charge.

Board members said they would continue discussion of the expanded plans at an upcoming board meeting with a possible decision then.

Later in the meeting it was revealed Toledo Mayor Brian Sokol is leading a city effort to have the school board again consider the closed Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls campus as a new middle school site. Smith said he had met with Sokol and board member Ron Houghton also said he had met with state officials and Sokol concerning the proposal.

Both Smith and Houghton said the direction being advanced is to not use any or only a portion of the new building on the campus and demolition of all others.

Houghton said Sokol is seeking a joint meeting with the school board and city council for further discussion.

Smith also said Sokol believes such a plan would be much more favorable to Toledo voters than the previous bond vote.

Board members Penny Tyynismaa and Mandy Lekin said they were would be willing to listen.


In staff matters Monday the board- approved the hiring of Kelsea Anderson, 4th grade teacher; accepted the resignations of Betty Anne Lacina, elementary ELL para-educator and Jaylee Neave high school para-educator; and the contract termination of Joe Tafta, assistant 9th grade baseball coach.

Athletic Facility Improvements

Board members approved requesting engineer site analysis for the current high school tennis courts and possible new sites for the courts at the STC Elementary School or in a parking area adjacent to the high school baseball field. Maintenance Supervisor Steve McAdoo said he favored rebuilding the present location. At the April 20 board meeting, McAdoo estimated the replacement cost at $700,000 – $800,000.

The board approved replacement of the high school track surface at a cost of $123,900. Other bidders were FT Fisher Tracks $128,350 and MAC McCollell & Associates $135,468. All carry a five-year warranty. McAdoo said the present track surface had reached its 20-year life expectancy. The underlying asphalt has bene found in good condition with the one=half inch rubber surface to be replaced, he said.

McAdoo also recommended the board consider replacement of the high school gymnasium floor and repair work on the asphalt playground surface at the middle school and a north parking area at the Partnership Center.

In other business Monday the school board:

approved vehicle purchases upon the recommendation of Steve Chyma, transportation director including three new propane school buses at a cost of $113,636 each from School Bus Sales- Blue Bird. Despite the bid being slightly higher, Chyma recommended Blue Bird because of what he said were better motors and fuel systems, least mechanical problems and interchangeable parts with other Blue Bird buses in the South Tama fleet. The new buses will replace two 20-year old buses and a 19-year-old bus. Three other bidders were Hogland Bus- $113,129 each and Thomas Bus $111,268 each. Also approved was the purchase of two used 12-passenger vans from Thys Auto at a cost of $27,600 each and one from Ames Ford at a cost of $27,900 for use on athletic and other club trips; and the purchase of a inter-school mail vehicle replacement from Thys Auto at a cost of $22,786 to replace a vehicle with mileage exceeding 200,000.

approved the purchase of a new mower ast a cost of $12,580 from Z-Line upon the recommendation of Steve McAdoo, maintenance director. Other bids were John Deere- $13,800 , Tama Timber and Lawn $11,400 and a second mower from Z-Line, $1,976.

approved paying para-educations $250 each to pay for the cost of teacher substitute authorization class.

discussed “Here Comes the Bus” software system for location of students riding school buses. Steve Chyma, transportation director, said thousands of schools are receive from parents looking for their children. The phone app will aid in telling where student is he said.

heard a report on realignment of teacher leadership roles.

learned the annual FFA flower sale will be conducted through a no contact method.