Osky School District Honors Retiring Staff

OSKALOOSA — The Oskaloosa School Board held a somewhat routine meeting on Tuesday following a retirement reception for district staff members.

The most heated part of the meeting was actually centered around something very commonly discussed at meetings — the staff reports, as Carl Drost expressed his disdain for a GoMath pilot project. He brought homemade graphs to the meeting to try to convey his point to his fellow board members.
“This is not speaking highly of our math curriculum at the present time,” said Drost. “I don’t believe with these kind of results I would consider GoMath any place in the District.”

He compared 4th and 11th grade math scores with state averages, which were above the Oskaloosa High School scores on his graph.

“This is just common business and people tell me education is different. Education is our product,” he stated. He went on and explained the facilities
and staff were not to blame, but the curriculum was the culprit of the low averages.
“I will fight it every board meeting until I am elected off of this board,” he concluded. Board member Kraig VanHulzen sympathized with concerns but said that the school would need to increase math instruction time in the elementary to try to remedy the concern. No motions were made at this time, as it was only part of a staff report and not an action item.

Then came presentations on the Supplemental Education Services and High School Multi-Tier System of Support (MTSS) Scheduling. Board member Sharma Parlett expressed that she was disappointed by the gains for the price of the programs during the Supplemental Education Services presentation. A big purchase was approved by the District with the 1:1 server system for the price of $98,745.63.

Both public hearings held, one for the house students constructed and another for a 2015-16 budget amendment, went without public comment. The
area amended in the budget was in instruction, from $17,896,359 to $18,996,359, for the purchase of instructional technology. This change in estimates of expenditures will be financed from increased receipts and balances not budgeted or considered in the current budget. There will be no increase in taxes to be paid in the fiscal year ending June 2016.

A contract with Timberline Billing Service LLC. was also approved. Timberline assists school districts as a Medicaid provider in accessing Medicaid reimbursement for covered services.

Timberline will coordinate Medicaid claiming on behalf of the District, identify and notify staff of students eligible for Medicaid claiming, and more. The fee the District will be has been changed to equal 8 percent of the net Medicaid reimbursement retained by the District. This fee is calculated monthly based on paid claims for the preceding month. The contract will go into effect July 1 through June 30, 2019.

Five instructor resignations were also approved during the meeting as well as discussion and action on terminating seven staff contracts. The contract termination does not necessarily result in a staff termination, as contracts can be reconstructed to better fit the needs of the school with the same staff listed. There will be more discussion on that topic by the Board next week on May 18.

Story provided by Hailey Brown of the Oskaloosa Herald


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