Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 23, 2014

New bleachers for WACO gymnasium

By Brooks Taylor | Feb 20, 2014

WAYLAND — WACO sports fans will enjoy new bleachers in the high-school gymnasium for the 2014-2015 sports season.
Meeting in regular session Monday night, the WACO School Board accepted a $73,432 bid from Seating and Athletic Facility Enterprises, LLC of Ellendale, Minn. For the new bleachers.
Iowa Direct Equipment and Appraisal, L.C. also bid $79,700 for the project.
The new bleachers will seven rows high with a guard rail on one end of each section.
In another look to the next school term, directors set Aug. 19 as the start date for the 2014-2015 school term and approved an ending date of no later than May 21.
Vacation and break time as well as the end of the first semester will be decided by a committee comprised of administrators, faculty members, patrons and students, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Darrell Smith said.
Currently, the district’s first semester ends following Christmas break, but in the past, WACO also has ended its first semester prior to Christmas vacation, Smith noted.
He said with the new state law giving school districts the option to base the school year on hours instead of days (1,080 hours vs. 180 days), WACO will opt for 1,080 hours but retain Fridays as a “plus one” day with enrichment programs, internships, remediation, etc.
“We will make Fridays mandatory attendance,” he explained, adding that attendance has been at about 90 percent in the elementary school and over 80 percent in the junior/senior high school this year on Fridays.
WACO is in its first year of having an innovative calendar this year. The district has lengthened the school day on Monday-Thursday. Attendance is not required on Fridays. WACO also has professional development for the faculty on some of the Fridays.
Smith said that the new law will create a major change in the school landscape in Iowa. “A lot of school districts are going to the 1,080 hours because if they work it right, they can get that (hours requirement) in during a four-day week. Then, they will not have school on Friday as a cost-savings measure.”
School directors, however, have to make Friday attendance mandatory at WACO, Smith said and that matter will be discussed at the board’s March meeting.
“We don’t want to give up the plus one, we’re having so much fun and don’t want the format changed,” Smith said. “I know the teachers and students are having fun and it is a good thing for the students.”
WACO will be applying to the Iowa School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) for $133,222 in additional spending authority (not actual funds but the ability to spend). Districts can apply for additional spending authority for increasing enrollment, open enrollment out and LEP instruction beyond five years.
The WACO application will be for lost funding due to open enrollment out. “We are hoping to recoup some of that (spending authority),” Smith said.
In personnel matters, a motion to raise long-term substitute pay in the district died for a lack of a second. A current long-term substitute teacher requested the increase.
Board policy has the district paying $163.01 per day for long-term substitutes and the substitute requested an increase to $272.23 per day. A substitute must teach five consecutive days to become eligible for long-term substitute compensation.
Smith compiled a survey for long-term sub pay in 18 area school districts and found the average per-diem pay was $143.59 per day. The average length of service time to receive long-term pay was 11.1 days.
Resignations were accepted from Mike Massey, elementary school custodian, and Nancy Mattocks, secondary food service.
Contracts were approved for Kari Feddersen, junior high softball coach, $1,470 salary; Taylor Vonnahme, high school softball coach, $2,730 salary; and Shannon Rugg, high-school baseball coach, $3,326 salary.
In the superintendent’s report, Smith announced some of his “wish list” facility needs of the district. Included were paving the elementary school parking lot in Crawfordsville, a new weight room and a new auditorium.
Smith said if the auditorium were to be made a “safe” room, the district could receive 75 percent of the cost funded by the federal government and another 10 percent from the state, leaving just a 15 percent local match.
Board members meet again in regular session Monday, March 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the junior/senior high school media center in Wayland.

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