STC Middle School on track for 2021-22 school year

STC Middle School Principal, Ben Adams, shares updates on 5th-8th grade plans for the 2021-22 school year with the board at a meeting Monday evening. Also pictured is school board member Ron Houghton (right) and Anne Kuhter (left).Allison Graham/News Chronicle

As things stand now, the South Tama Middle School will be up and running for the 2021-22 school year. The building had sustained roof damage and water intrusion due to the derecho.

The school board heard constructions updates and the plan for 5th – 8th grade from Steve McAdoo and Middle School Principal Ben Adams at a regular board meeting Monday evening.

Middle School Construction Update

McAdoo, the district Maintenance Supervisor, gave a broken down timeline to what is happening over the next weeks and months.

The school is looking at a two week time period of framing the under middle section of the roof.

The main part of the building repairs are expected to be done May 1.

Repairs to the South wing began April 2 and are expected to be complete by May 1.

Repairs to the gym roof are starting April 12 and are expected to take a week.

Inside building work

Servepro has been working to clean out the first and second floor classrooms.

Work is planned to begin on the first floor and move up the building.

May 27 a company will be testing for mold.

June 1 will be the start of moving departments back to their original locations.

The schools IT department had moved earlier this school year from the Partnership Center to the Middle School to accommodate space for students.

IT will move back to partnership center.

The next move will be the 5th grade classrooms from the elementary back to the middle school. Then preschool will move from St. Pat’s church back to their pod at the elementary.

McAdoo anticipates everyone will be moved back by June 24.

Middle school teachers will be allowed back in the middle school building July 1.

The district received $1 million in insurance money and that is what is covering all of the repairs at the middle school building. However the board anticipates contract costs will be more than what they ended up being more than what was quoted.

Plans for 5th-8th grade for


Adams gave an update on plans for 5th-8th grade for the 2021-22 school year.

According to Adams what staff learned from moving from the middle school to the Partnership Center is that they like to keep their grad levels in pods.

Administration and staff have a plan to create grade level pods for next year at the middle school.

Adams feels student flow will be improved with these new classroom assignments.

Of course there are still concerns with the middle school building. Space is limited, hallways are tight and it is not easily handicap accessible.

The Partnership center while suitable for the year also has concerns including daily battles with heating issues during the winter, it is not handicap accessible, limited outside space for students and parking concerns to name a few.

Adams said one question that has been raised is why not use both the middle school and partnership center for next year. His answer was simply they do not have staff to serve two different buildings at once.

Allocation of CARES Money

The school is going to be getting $1.32 million in CARES/Emergency Relief (ESSER) money.

Smith gave the board a breakdown of how the district would like to spend the money.

The breakdown of where money is going includes: $230,000 for curriculum and instruction, $160,000 for custodial and maintenance, $350,000 fore reimbursed purchases, $120,000 for two new teachers for 2021-22 School Year only, $340,000 for technology, $120,000 for transportation.

How many students are learning virtually at South Tama?

According to Smith about 40 students would look at open enrolling if the school doesn’t offer a virtual learning option.

As of now Smith intends to hire an elementary teacher for virtual learning for the 2021-22 school year.

Smith anticipates possibly one more round of federal funding. If that comes to fruition he would like to offer a two year contract for two new teachers including the virtual learning teacher.

School budget for 2021-22

The board held a public hearing for the 2021-22 school budget. No public comments were voiced or received by writing. The budget was approved unanimously for $32,985,469 with a tax rate of $15.09 per $1,000.

School Calendar

The school board heard finalized details for the 2021-22 school calendar.

The first day of school for students will be Monday, August 23 The last day of school for students will be Thursday, May 26. Staff contracts will run from August 17 through May 30 with May 31 through June 3 available for professional development days if needed.

Superintendent Jared Smith said the school will be trying something a bit different this year to allow for a more traditional spring break. Students will be off school Thursday, April 14 through Monday, April 18. April 14 will be a professional development day.

A request was made at a previous meeting to move the day before Christmas break from a half day to a full day to allow for a.m. and p.m. preschool to occur. December 21 will be a full day of learning for all students and staff.


Labor Day, September 6

Thanksgiving, November 25

Christmas, December 25

New Years, Day January 1

Presidents Day, February 21

Easter, April 17

Memorial Day, May 30



New Hires

Debora Kern was hired as an Elementary Cook

Nicole Krafta was hired as a High School Paraprofessional.

Bailey Chyma was hired as a 5th grade teacher and Assistant middle school baseball coach.

Makalya Backen was hired as an assistant middle school softball coach.

Kiodi Hillman was hired as a middle school PE teacher.


Donnie Gitautis transferred to a middle school night custodian

Discontinuing contracts

*these positions were created for COVID-19 purposes

Tiffany Bridgewater, assistant girls basketball and assistant middle school volleyball

Matt Beatty, assistant middle school boys basketball


Stacie Holmes resigned as the high school/middle school special education teacher

Jessica Bohnstengel resigned as a 5th grade teacher

John Kohagen resigned as the 8th grade literacy teacher

Becky Thiessen resigned as a paraprofessional at the elementary

Emily Chyma resigned as the high school student council advisor


Middle School Shelter House

The board heard concerns about the Middle School Shelter House.

The building which was built in the 1930’s is getting bad on south side.

Cost for repairs would be roughly $2,500 for materials and $3,000 for labor. However McAdoo is struggling to find someone to do the repairs as they are all busy still with derecho cleanup.

There is also concern about activities that occur in the shelter house outside of school hours.

Due to this Adams said the students aren’t allowed to use the shelter house.

To tear down the building it would coast around $7,500.

The building was built by the Lions Club which no longer exists in the area.

Board President Penny Tyynismaa would like to hear feedback from the community before any decisions are made.

Facility repairs for baseball and softball in-field

Due to the derecho tens of thousands of dollars worth of dirt was lost at the baseball and softball field.

STC High School Activities Director Anthony Jar recommended moving to allow four spectators per athlete. Jar doesn’t want to go unlimited because the school couldn’t insure social distancing in smaller spaces such as the middle school.

Masks are not required at events but are strongly encouraged as is social distancing.

Jar also informed the board the school is looking at replacing the score boards in the school gym. Replacement parts can no longer be purchased for the boards. Jar plans to come back to the board in two weeks with more information.

In other board business

A resolution to authorize the redemption of general obligation school refunding bonds, series 2012 dated May 1 and levying a tax for fiscal year 2021-22 for the redemption of general obligation school refunding bonds, series 2012, dated May 1, 2012.

Approved AEA purchasing cooperative program agreement for 2021-22

Approved summer college credit program with Iowa Valley Community College for Summer 2021.

Approved extension for Halverson Photography school contract for one year.

During public comment time Nikki Kemper requested the board look at the current rental policy for outside sporting events such as Archery and AAU. Kemper would like the board to lift the ban on spectators for those events.

The board could not act on the request Monday evening as it was not on the board agenda.

Following the board meeting a work session was held with members of Envision. The board will be looking at the possibility of another bond vote in March of 2022. Stay tuned for more information coming soon.