South Tama schools look to boost technology by CARES Act

Fed Award is $304,000

South Tama schools share of the federal CARES Act providing funding for costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic is $303,450. School districts across the state were reported to receive a total of $71.6 million at Governor Kim Reynolds May 5 news conference. This amount was the state’s share of $13.2 billion allocated nationally by Congress, Ann Lebo, Iowa Director of Education said during the news briefing.

On Monday night, May 18, STC School Board meeting, Schools Superintendent Jared Smith outlined the some of the proposed use of the funding. discussion had been held earlier Monday among a team of local school administrators.

Their plan is to spend $130,00 to provide new computer iPads and $70,000 for additional iPad keyboard cases to ensure all students from elementary through high school have equipment enabling them to take part internet-based classes. An additional amount will allocated spent to expand internet connection “hot spots” to ensure the family homes of all students will have internet access. “We are going to collect data from our community to determine how many hot spots would need to be purchased,” Smith told The News-Chronicle.

The action will “beef up” what the district has in place, Smith said.

The expenditures will require school board approval, Smith said.

Smith and others present at the board meeting said the unknown continued COVID-19 precautions could press for added use of offering mandatory internet classes.

Shortly after South Tama schools were closed due to COVID-19 concerns a district survey reported about one-half of the students’ families served by the schools were without internet access at home. Smith put this number at an estimated 400 families Monday night.

Since Gov. Reynolds extended the school closing through the end of the current term, South Tama provided some voluntary on-line classes. Smith has praised the South Tama faculty for adapting to student and family contacts and online course offerings when preparations had to be made on very short notice.

Shauna Smith, district curriculum director, gave the board an overview of on-line learning. She also recognized the staff members have stepped up to make the program available quickly with online packets of material put together and distributed weekly.

“A packet is not a teacher,” she told the board, however.

The plan to expand the internet offerings and availability fall well within what are listed by the U.S. Congressional Research Service CARSS Act Elementary and Secondary Education Provisions.


Contracts were approved on a 5-0 voice vote Monday by the school board for Lesley Youngbear, payroll and benefits post; Katie Schuett, full time substitute; Kristen Ebel, 5th grade special education; and Nathan Doran, assistant varsity boys basketball.

Resignations were accepted from Rachel Russell, special education TIC teacher at the Partnership Center; Derek Dixon, middles school 6th grade social studies; Nathan Doran, 7th grade head boys basketball coach; Levi Klopping, assistant 7th / 8th grade girls basketball coach; and Dina Keahna, assistant girls varsity softball coach.

New Gym Floor

The South Tama High School gym will be outfitted with a new gym floor covering. Board members approved the bid of Phillips Floors, Indianola, in the amount of $125,435 upon the recommendation of Steve McAdoo, district director of maintenance.

It is described as “2 1/4 inch Better Maple flooring” and the bid includes sanding, two coats of oil-based finish, new vented cove base ar walls, new aluminum thresholds, brass volley cover plates and resting basketball hoops as well as disposal of existing flooring and removal and reinstallation of bleachers.,

The work is expected to be completed over a six to seven week period this summer McAdoo said.

The present floor which covered the original Tartan floor had deteriorated since installation in the early 2000s McAdoo said.

The Tartan-brand floor described as polyurethane was innovative when installed in the gym when it was built in 1968.

McAdoo and Matt Phillips, the flooring company representative, both recommended the underlying Tartan floor be left in place as it provides a moisture barrier over the concrete base.

Other bidders included Jwood Sports flooring $138,900, H21 Group Bio Channel $139,448 and FLR Flooring $139,680.

To Study Middle School Playground Improvement

A bid to resurface the middle school playground area and bus stop behind the building in Toledo was put on hold Monday night. Board member Ron Houghton questioned if it was necessary to spend the amount of money- $67,564 – if the district plans to pursue building an addition on the high school in Tama and abandoning the middle school property.

A March bond issue vote fell sort of the required 60% approval for the $20.8 million addition garnering 53% approval of voters. Since then, the board has been considering whether and when to put the issue on the ballot a second time.

McAdoo, director of maintenance, estimated school personnel might be able to repair large cracks in the surface at a cost of “roughly $8,000” by filling them with cement. McAdoo told the school board work was needed on the playground “due to safety issues with cracks in the asphalt.”

The school board did give the go-ahead to resurface the parking area- bus stop at the Partnership Center in Tama at cost of $20,584 by Kluesner Construction Inc., Farley, Iowa. The other bider was Manatt’s Inc., Newton, with a $31,539 bid for the Partnership Center.

Manatt’s bid was $63,564 for the middle school playground bus stop work.

Little new iinformation was presented on the middle school update topic on the board agenda. It was noted a more detailed design for the middle school addiiton is in the works or completed.

Dance Team Airline Money

Supt. Smith reported issues with some $12,000 in airline ticket refunds sought by the district has been turned over to district legal counsel. The school district negotiations with the airline is leading toward the district receiving tickets which will be valid until 2022.

With that, the shcool distrcit intends to refund the ticket price to parents and will use the tickets for another purpose.

The South Tama High School Dance Team – “South Tama Technicians” – had been scheduled to fly to Florida for an aappearance at Disney World during a period of April 8-13.

However, COVID-19 issues resulted in the scrapping of those plans.

Smith said hotel, meal and other expense has been recovered.