School board talks about late start, middle school remodel
Fairfield Community School District superintendent Art Sathoff told the school board Monday about events occurring at the state Legislature that could affect the district.
Sathoff mentioned the tourism industry in the state is attempting to force schools to open after Labor Day.
Sathoff said teachers are not fond of that idea. He said most teachers believe the students are easier to manage in August than late into June. He said starting after Labor Day would have been a problem for the district this year since seven snow days have pushed back the final day of school to June 7. He said this is already creating a problem for teachers who have to start their own classes June 10.
“It’s a local control issue,” Sathoff said in an interview. “It’s bad for the Legislature to lay down an arbitrary start date for the 300-plus school districts in the state.”
Sathoff said officials in the Iowa State Fair are lobbying to delay the start of school so it does not overlap with the fair. Sathoff said the school can make accommodations for those students who have to attend the fair.
“We typically start the Wednesday of the last week of the fair,” he said. “If kids have to show animals at the fair, that will be an excused absence. Kids might have to miss practices. Those are things we can work out, but those conflicts are much less than the problems of keeping the kids here into June.”
Fairfield community school auxiliary services director Fred McElwee told the board the school bus involved in a collision Feb. 27 was totaled.
McElwee also told the board about a proposal to repaint and refinish the middle school gymnasium. The project is budgeted to cost $20,000. Action on the proposal might be presented to the board as early as May, and the work will not be started on it until July 1.
Two classrooms in the middle school also need new floors. The two rooms are 205 and 206. The board could take action on this proposal as early as May, and just like with the gym refinishing, the project would occur after July 1.
Sathoff said the district was aware of the problems with the floor in those rooms when it installed the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. He said it would have been too much work at once to tear out the old HVAC system and the floors at once.
“We decided to put it into our infrastructure project for the following year,” he said. “It also presented an opportunity to try that new polished concrete floor, which is a low-maintenance type of flooring.”
The school board talked about making the elementary schools in the district Blue Zones-certified. One of the requirements of Blue Zones certification for schools is the teachers could no longer give candy to students in class, such as a reward for a job well done.
The board adopted a resolution which stated the board would seek to make 25 percent of its schools Blue Zone-certified. Sathoff said the district plans to implement the Blue Zones policies in all the elementary buildings. The actual policy changes necessary to comply with the Blue Zones Pledge will be adopted throughout the remaining school year and the following school year.
The board accepted the resignation of Josh Allison from his position as the assistant coach to the seventh- and eighth-grade boys’ basketball teams.
The board accepted Washington Elementary School Principal Jeff Eeling’s request to become the high school baseball assistant coach. Eeling was the head coach of the Pekin baseball team for 19 years. Eeling will be paid $3,017.