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Oskaloosa High School Gym Remodel Project Set To Begin

The Oskaloosa Community School Board met on Monday, August 28 to discussion to new gym remodel. The initial board meeting was to approve the plans and specifications of the gym remodel. Carl Drost spoke of the details that the project manager has put in to the notes and plans of the remodel as he requested to read the plans prior to the meeting. All on the board felt as though the manager and the company would be working with the school’s and children’s best interest in mind.

In the specifications it noted that someone, like an architect, would go to construction meetings and do walk-throughs of the property during construction. Drost had a different idea in mind.

“I would love to do it, if I’m still on the board that is,” Drost continued. “Someone needs to be there everyday.”

Even School Superintendent, Russ Reiter, agreed that it would be helpful to have a faculty walk through and encouraged members of the board to view the changes being made occasionally.

“We would encourage any and all board members to walk through whenever they want as long as they have their hard hat and show your presence.”

The tentative schedule for the remodel has many of the outside structural changes scheduled for this fall while the smaller, more cosmetic like alterations — such as painting or patching — will be completed in the spring. An estimated completion date was noted on or around the 15th of April.

The Mahaska County School Candidates Have Been Released

Running for Board Director in District #2 is Shelly Herr, who is currently incumbent and District #4 is Arvin DeBeof, also incumbent. For District #5, the candidate is Margaret A. Ratcliff.

Two candidates for School Board Director District #5 is  Tom Richardson, incumbent, and Lynette Stream.

At-Large candidates include Carl Drost, incumbent, and Kym Life.

The Indian Hills Community College Director District #1 is Beth A Danowsky, incumbent.

All positions will be filled after the School Election scheduled for September 12, 2017 and each will have a term ending in the year 2021.



Oskaloosa School Board Passes Technology Proposal

Oskaloosa School Board members listened and asked numerous questions of school technology director Shari Barnhart Tuesday night. Following about 70 minutes of questions and answers, the board approved a proposal for the 1 to 1 technology project.

The scope of the project includes replacement of 775 Macbooks at the high school and the purchase of 815 Dell 11-inch Chromebooks for the elementary. Also including in the project is the replacing of 230 teacher Macbooks with a 13-inch MacBook Air.

In her presentation, Barnhart explained that the pricing of the Dell Chromebooks at $199.38 and its ability to utilize the apps currently in use as a factor. Barnhart did say one application, Logger Probe, would have to be used using a “Citrex Solution” as well as some of the more robust apps. The Logger Probe is used in some deep thinking analyzation applications.

Board member Erik Edgren asked several questions about assurances the Citrex Solutions would work for those students when they are at home. He was also concerned about the strength of Internet connections to operate, especially those in the rural areas. Edgren lives southeast of Oskaloosa and sometimes rural connections are much more difficult. He is also concerned if the applications cannot be used offline.

Board member Carl Drost asked superintendent Russ Reiter if this purchase was moving the district forward to student achievement. Reiter said he was confident that it was putting the students in a position to be successful. Board member Kraig Van Hulzen agreed since the elementary students have not had computers for each student available in the third through fifth grades.

Following the discussion the board agreed to use no more than $615,000 and awarding the contract to HSI, Incorporated and related vendors for the project. Reiter and business manager Chad Vink said the funds for the project would come from the current 1-cent tax and the PPEL Fund.

The measure passed on a 5-1 vote with Edgren voting against.



Report from RD Keep

School Board Meeting 3-7-16

The Oskaloosa School Board of Directors worked through a busy agenda Monday night handling a number of routine items.

The board approved a public hearing on Tuesday, April 12 for the 2016-17 school budget. Superintendent Russ Reiter recommended a budget with zero percent growth and an estimated levy of $15.4981 per $1,000 valuation. Reiter said the actual levy may be less, but until the Iowa Legislature sets an amount, this was the best way to go. Reiter said he felt it would ultimately be around $15, but recommended approving the higher rate.

“You can go lower if you wish after its published, but the levy can go no higher,” said Reiter.

The board also approved student fees for the next academic year with those fees remaining the same as 2015-16. Lunch fees were set at a previous meeting.

The board approved the purchase of new bleachers for the high school gymnasium and the smaller gym generally used for freshman athletics. This purchase completes the replacement of the competition gym and will allow for three rows of seating on the east side of the small gym. Seating and Athletic Facilities Enterprises, LLC received the bid not to exceed $53,210.

Thomas Bus Sales received the bid to install cameras in 25 busses. Transportation director Bill Almond and Reiter said the cameras would go into the 22 busses, which cover the routes in the district as well as three activity busses. Thomas put in a bid for the units and installation for $54,735.63.

The board also extended the timeframe for certified staff to apply for early retirement. Reiter said during the budget reduction meetings there was indication that there may still be some staff interested. The board voted to allow until March 31 for staff to notify the administration office. The same requirements for application and payouts are available to staff who have not previously chosen the option.

In other business:

  • Approved a solar power grant project at the middle school
  • Approved going out for bids for two 77-passenger busses
  • Authorized the sale of the used fluorescent lights currently being replaced by LED lighting
  • Set March 22 at 7:30 p.m. as the time for another board meeting


Story provided by RD Keep


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