District seeks savings through rebates
Planning continues to move forward for renovations at Fairfield High School as the architect has met with administrators, while engineers looked at the structure to determine best practices for air handling recently.
Director of Auxiliary Services Fred McElwee updated the school board Monday about the project, which is anticipated to begin in the spring.
Construction management team Carl A. Nelson & Company met with the state fire marshal Tuesday in Des Moines to verify building sprinkler and egress plans would be up to code.
“Carl Nelson, StruXtures [architect hired by the school district] and Alliant Energy are working on bundling for different rebates,” said McElwee. “The focus will be on window glazing, lighting controls, pumps for the HVAC system and the hot water system.”
Superintendent Art Sathoff said Alliant Energy offers three levels of rebates based on materials and systems selected.
“Level 1 is using the minimum-grade materials and offers the lowest amount of rebate,” said Sathoff. “Level 2 is using better materials and systems and has a bigger rebate. And Level 3 is the highest-end with the largest rebates.
“Our project budget fits with Level 2, and that’s the approach we’ll take,” he said.
McElwee said he should have further information in two to three weeks about the rebate programs.
A high school project planned for this fall is an additional parking lot west of the current parking lot on the west side of the building.
“French-Reneker is working on the documents and hopes to have those 95 percent complete by the end of this week,” said McElwee.
He also reported Monday about completed summer projects.
“The middle school roof is finished, and the middle school gym floor looks totally different,” he said. “We’ve gone 10 years using an oil-based finish. The floor was sanded down, and we used a water-based finish and it looks 100 percent different, lighter. The contractor did a good job and had good communication throughout the project.”
A few areas in the middle school were painted, and new carpet was installed in the prekindergarten at Washington Elementary School.
The district inaugurated a summer lunch program for a month, July 8 to Aug. 9, serving free lunch to anyone 18 years old and younger at Pence Elementary School.
“Overall, it was successful,” said McElwee. “The first week had low attendance, but once summer school began the second week, students walked from the middle school, and we had about 100 students per day. I heard we had some younger students who hadn’t begun school yet attend the lunches to get familiarized with how the lunch line works.”
McElwee said RAGBRAI went smoothly for the school district. Camping on school grounds, showers, toilets and shuttle buses were provided during the July 26 overnight stop.
“I can’t say enough about RAGBRAI riders and how well everyone cleaned up after themselves, and our city crews and volunteers did an excellent job,” he said.
“We had little glitches with bus routes a few times, but I heard positive comments from the bus drivers.”
The Fairfield RAGBRAI Committee reimbursed the district its expenses for the shuttle buses, and the district, as a nonprofit, is eligible to apply for reimbursement grants from the RAGBRAI Committee.
Profits made from the July 26 event will be shared with nonprofits
Any Fairfield nonprofit may apply for the funds. Priority will be given to those nonprofits that helped or contributed in some way during RAGBRAI’s visit.
Grant application forms and instructions can be found online at www.travelfairfield.com. Grant applications are due by Sept 10.
Award recipients will be announced on Sept. 21 during Live on the Square.
Completed applications are to be sent to Fairfield RAGBRAI committee, 200 N. Main St., Fairfield 52556.
In other news, high school freshmen will be mentored this year by upper classmen to help freshmen students feel welcome and make connections with older students.
FHS administrators and counselors will make home visits with families of students identified as at-risk.
“We will have a heavy focus on in-coming freshmen. We feel that creating a relationship with the students and parents of at-risk students early on could ease the transition from middle school to high school,” FHS Principal Aaron Becker wrote in his report to the school board.
“We hope these home visits can increase home to school communication and parent involvement in the education process. We plan to stay in continual contact with these identified at-risk students during the school year.”
Becker’s report included a summer school report. FHS had 23 students, grades 9-12, take credit recovery courses through e2020, an online program. Subjects offered online were English, biology, geometry, U.S. history, American literature, community health, western civilization and economics.
Becker said 16 students recovered one credit; six students recovered two credits; and one student recovered three credits.
• Accepted the resignation of Pence Elementary School special education teacher Patricia Rhinehart.
• Accepted the resignations of assistant softball coaches Lisa Greenig and Becky Granneman.
• Approved hiring Heather Buch as special education teacher at Pence Elementary School. She is a graduate of University of Northern Iowa and holds endorsements in science, reading, English/language arts and elementary classroom. She is taking courses for special education. She will be on Step 1 of BA salary schedule.
• Approved Jennifer Christensen as a Year One mentoring teacher.
• Approved volunteer coaches for the 2013-14 seasons — Brent Blakely, Steve Miller and Brad Snowgren, high school football; Brandon Dimmitt and Aaron Countryman, middle school football; Jane McMahon, high school girls swimming; Steve Burnett, high school volleyball; Bryan Marlay, high school bowling; Clint Stephenson, high school tennis; Samantha Freeman, cross country; and Art Sathoff, basketball.
• Approved individual coaching contracts for summer coaches — Joshua Allison, head baseball; Bob Bradfield, head softball; Jeff Eeling and Brad Snowgren, assistant baseball; Tony Vandegriff, assistant softball; Matt Schenck, and Snowgren, summer strength coaches.
School board members Bob Waugh and Rich Metcalf voted no.
• Approved the FCSD Laptop Use Agreement for teachers. The agreement includes new insurance coverage theft and accidental damages.
• Approved the 2013-14 Book Reconsideration Committee, with community members Jim Rubis, LeAnne Edgeton and Darien Sloat; teachers, Fred Hucke, Cara Perkins and Billy Strickler; media specialists, Dee Ann Lantz and Jolene Bullis; central office, Marci Dunlap; students, Shea Malloy and Kristen Daugherty. One school board member will be appointed after the September board reorganization meeting.
• Authorized McElwee to set up and maintain bus routes in accordance with state guidelines for the 2013-14 school year.
• Approved revisions to the Classified Employee Handbook for 2013-14 school year. Changes include language to match: 1) Legal requirements for employee background checks. During the 2013-14 school year, all district employees, including current employees, have to have a background check conducted. Background checks will be repeated every five years. 2) Legal requirements for physical exams for preschool employees. 3) Letters of employment instead of contracts. 4) Compensation guidance for weather-related late starts and early dismissals.
A new work rule was added to the handbook: Should an employee be charged with criminal offense, including theft, abuse, and simple misdemeanor, the employee is required to report such charges to the superintendent immediately.
• Approved the Fairfield Middle School teacher handbook, with no changes and the FMS student handbook, with no changes.
• Approved the elementary school handbook.
• Approved the preschool handbook, a new publication.