Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1032921

Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 17, 2014

‘We’re getting closer’

By Brooks Taylor | Jul 18, 2013

WAYLAND — "We’re getting closer,” WACO Superintendent of Schools Darrell Smith told the school board Monday night after three more faculty contracts were approved. “We still have a few more to hire,” he noted.

The number of openings, though, can be counted on one hand and include both secondary and elementary positions.

A Spanish teacher from Spain? What could be a better fit?

WACO will have exactly that as the board approved a contract for a new secondary Spanish instructor, Irene Lladonasa Fransi, from Alguaire, Spain.

Ironically, Fransi, who has a master’s degree, and will be paid $41,200.25, was teaching English in Spain.

She speaks five languages and last year taught English to 10-16-year-old students and adults in three schools.

Other hires included Angela Ayrit, elementary teacher, $28,000, and Kathryn (Katie) Stehn, elementary special education, $28,000.

Ayrit of Fairfield comes to WACO from the Lone Tree Community School District where she taught fifth grade. Her husband will be a junior high science instructor at WACO.

Stehn is a 2013 graduate from Loras College in Dubuque. She did her practice teaching in Dubuque.

Directors also accepted the resignation of Heather Applegate, secondary resource room instructor.

Approval was given for the purchase of 50 laptop computers for district instructors. The purchase will be from Daktech at a cost of $39,950. Money for the purchase will come from the physical plant and equipment levy (PPEL) fund.

Daktech did not have the low bid of the three vendors. The low bid was from CDWG at $38,099.55.

Smith, however, recommended Daktech’s bid because of the school’s “long and good relationship” with the company. He also said that the Daktech laptops have a better wireless connection.

The computers will have an Intel core i3 processor (2.5 Ghz) and eight gigabytes of ram. They will be loaded with Windows 7 software and include a three-year warranty and three-year accidental drop/damage warranty.

Smith said that he hopes the district can purchase Chromebooks for the launching of the 1:1 initiative at the high school early in the school year.

“We will be looking at Chromebooks as soon as we can,” he told the board. “The latest we want to do it is the start of the second semester. If we can do it at the start of the second nine weeks, we will do it.”

WACO will become the third county school to have 1:1, leaving Mt. Pleasant as the only county school district without the 1:1.

In awarding commodity bids for the 2013-14, directors learned that no bread vendor will deliver to Wayland.

“Nobody will deliver here,” Smith said. “Bimbo Bakery (formerly Sara Lee) will deliver to Washington and we would have to pick it (bread products) there.”

Smith said other smaller school districts (Highland, for example) have the same problem.

Going to the grocery store to purchase bread and buns won’t work either, he said, because grocery store bread and buns do not meet the United States Department of Agriculture requirements for the hot lunch program.

WACO will purchase its bread from Washington. Anderson-Erickson received the milk bid and Cobb Oil was the only gasoline and diesel fuel bidder.

In a related note, school hot lunch prices will be increasing. The increase ranges from a dime to a quarter.

Following are the meal prices for the 2013-14 school year: adult, $3.25; 7-12 student, $2.25; pre-k-sixth grade, $2.00; extras, $1.25; adult breakfast, $2.00; student breakfast, $1.25.

In his report, Smith said he feels the district is headed in the right direction. “I like what I see. We are going to constantly work to get better.”

He complimented the work of the 4 + 1 innovative calendar committee. “I have been very pleased with their work. There are decisions to be made. This is not carved in stone, there will have to be changes and tweaks. We are able to consider all possible scenarios.”

Smith also said the district is going to have to closely watch its finances. “We need to watch our cash position and spending authority. We are looking at procedures to track spending authority throughout the year. We also need to develop a plan to reduce fixed expenditures in relationship to revenues.”

WACO board members meet again in regular session Monday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the high school media center.

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