Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 18, 2014

Meal hikes and head lice at Mid-Prairie

By Mary Zielinski | Nov 14, 2012

WELLMAN — Concerns bout incidents of head lice, and the school policy regarding the same, led to a detailed presentation at the Mid-Prairie Board of Education meeting Monday.
School nurse Lori Minor and Jenna Grout explained about head lice infestation, as well as steps for treatment and prevention, using information from the National Association of School Nurses, the Iowa Department of Public Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The written district policies of the district health services follow the recommendations of th Iowa Department fo Public Health.  However, routine classroom screenings for head lice will not occur, nor will students be excluded from school if found with them.  During the session it was noted that while head lice is nuisance, reserach shows they do not spread disease or illness.
Board members indicated that it is an education and communication issue.
Another concern was raised during the Public Forum regarding the presence of illegal drugs in the district’s schools, especially regarding notifying police. Reportedly, there have been issues about aciton (or lack of) taken following reports of witnessed drug use.
The district’s nutrition program (meals) currently has a $25,000 deficit and since by state law the program must be self-supporting, board members Mondy agreed to a 25 cent raise in the price of meals. The hike goes into effect after the Thanksgiving break, starting Nov. 27.
Business Manager Cindy Steege explained that the major reason for the defict is higher food costs associated with fulfilling the new nutrition standards schools must meet this year,resulting in a 48 percent increase in costs for Mid-Prairie.  There also will be steps taken in purchasing food and staples for the program.
In other business, the board:
• held a public hearing regarding bus specifications for two new buses, each at an estimated cost of $70,000. There were no comments or objections from the public;
• received a brief presentation from the two World Link foreign exchange students;
• discussed the district’s early retirement incentive, recommended by both the business manager and Superintendent Mark Schneider. The latter noted it may be the last year such an incentive could be offered.  Following some discussion of how many staff it could involve, the board approved the program, setting a limit of eight licensed employees who apply with the option of receiving a benefit stipend of $505 per month (up to age 65) or a one-time $5,000 payment.  The vote was 6-1 with Board President Jack Dillon opposed;
• learned that certified enrollment for the district is 1,222  an increase of 47 students from last year;
• approved a third full-time custodian at the high school;
• received information regarding a facilities improvement timeline geared to seeking a bond issue in February 2014.  Included in the plan will be a new central office as well as possible additions to the high school and middle school. Details and specifictions are expected to be ready by September 2013, said Schneider;
•learned that the district could lo ck in future fuel costs (at a lower figure than currently) between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day; and
• held a work sesison for discussion of board policies and preparation for the joint meeting with the Keota Board of Education Nov. 26.

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