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Sibley-Ocheyedan School Board manages donation funding

SIBLEY, Iowa -- The Sibley-Ocheyedan School Board discussed financial contributions offered to the district during its Monday meeting. The first contribution pertained to the new agricultural education teacher position being funded through privat...

SIBLEY, Iowa - The Sibley-Ocheyedan School Board discussed financial contributions offered to the district during its Monday meeting.

The first contribution pertained to the new agricultural education teacher position being funded through private contributions. The second came in the form of a donation to the music department, and while both reside in the same bowl, the board viewed them as two different fruits.
Fundraising efforts are nearly complete for the hiring of a second agriculture education teacher for Sibley-Ocheyedan High School. Brian Kemp, chairman of the fundraising committee, and Karl Bormann gave the board an update on fundraising.
Bormann reported the group has received pledges of more than 90 percent of the group’s $380,000 goal. The funds will be used to pay the salary and insurance costs related to the new instructor for a five-year period.
Kemp shared that the group has set up a GoFundMe site ( www.gofundme.com/oq8iow ) to solicit more donations. Bormann made a plea for the remaining pledges to complete the fundraiser.
“We do have a little bit of a ways to go yet, and it’s ever so important,” Bormann said. “Anyone that’s out there that’s heard about this, that’s thinking about it, no matter what your contribution might be: it is extremely important.
“We will get there; I can promise you we’ll get there,” he added. “Because the group of us involved in it, we just simply will not quit until we get there. That’s part of the message that we do want the FFA chapter to learn from. In life, you set goals and then you achieve them. It doesn’t matter at times how difficult it might be; you achieve those goals, and that’s what we intend to model to them in this particular project.”
Superintendent Bill Boer noted that the district has had individuals interested in the position. Of five applicants from one source, four had taken other positions. The remaining applicant was interviewed last week. Boer added the district intends to keep looking through other avenues.
Music department contribution
As part of budget cuts last year, the school board approved a number of position and salary reductions. Of those reductions, the music department agreed to a lower salary in order to retain its supplemental pay for activities outside of the normal school day.
At the February school board meeting, Gary Vipond approached the board about donating funds to supplement the loss of income the music staff has received compared to previous years’ salaries. Boer reported Monday - after speaking with the district’s attorney, Steve Avery - that if the board were to approve the request, it would have to modify the contracts of the staff and would have to be reported as part of the employees’ income.
“I have reservations on doing that,” Boer said. “There were a lot of positions last year that were reduced. I just don’t know that I feel it is very equitable to be willing to accept that for two teachers.
“It almost feels to me like it might be a popularity in positions kind of thing. I don’t know if you want to start that. If you start that, where does it stop?”
Boer recommended the board decline the offer. He said that when he looked at school board policies regarding gifts to individual teachers and to the district, he was unsure a income supplement would qualify.
Vice-chairperson Tracy Van Diepen noted that the situation was similar to wanting to compensate ag teacher Brian Gottlob for working through his planning period. The board was unable to do so because it was not part of his contract.
Board member Kyle Grimes differentiated between the supplemental scenario versus the ag teacher position. The latter is 100 percent funded and will be part of the contract from the get-go.
Boer concurred that the ag teacher position seemed to fall under board policy 704.4 regarding the receipt of gifts as it will benefit the entire district, not one or two teachers.
School board policy 704.4 states:
“The board believes gifts, grants, and bequests to the school district may be accepted when they will further the interests of the school district. The board will have sole authority to determine whether the gift furthers the interests of the school district.
“Gifts, grants, and bequests are approved by the board. Once it has been approved by the board, a board member or the superintendent may accept the gift on behalf of the school district.
“Gifts, grants, and bequests once accepted on behalf of the school district shall become the property of the school district. Gifts, grants, and bequests are administered in accordance with terms, if any, agreed to by the board.”
“I don’t want anyone to be confused as far as (the ag position),” Van Diepen said. “Like you said, that’s more district and that’s dealing with a brand new contract. This is different. It’s not an apple and an apple. It’s two fruits, but not the same kind. I don’t want to be confusing or contradictory or look like we are doing favorites.”
The board agreed not to accept Vipond’s offer.
Activity funds
Kindra Reiter, board secretary and business manager, delivered a report on the status of the district activity fund. Reiter said the account is negative in spite of limited spending. There has been discussion of a golf tournament in June to raise money for this fiscal year. Additionally, Reiter said the school also intends to meet with the booster clubs for potential help.
Reiter noted that while the account is not meant to be lucrative, it does need to break even in order to be sustainable.
Boer said REW should tentatively begin asbestos removal in the Ocheyedan building at the end of the month or first part of April.

Related Topics: SCHOOL BOARD
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