Albia A

The Albia Community School Board on Monday approved it instructional coaches for next year. Todd Ratliff, currently a sixth grade math and science teacher, will join the trio of instructional coaches in the district.

He replaces Joe Judge. Also receiving contracts were Jessica Hemann and Amber Reed. They have served as instructional coaches since the program began.

The resignation of para-educator Taylor Schertz was accepted. A number of employees have completed their 90-day probationary period and received permanent contracts including: Julie Etcher, Terry Eastlick, kitchen assistants; Deven DeTar, Kacie Schatner, Glenda Archer, Alyssa Harris, Beth Brown, Katie Lang and Jayden Barlow, special education aides.

Superintendent Kevin Crall also announced to the board that Justin Huber will become the head coach of Albia football following the resignation of Scott Farrington as co-head coach. Huber, a Central College graduate, was an all-district running back and linebacker for Albia, graduating in 2007. He played for Central until a severe knee injury ended his playing career. He returned to Albia to teach and coach, serving under Coach Jerry Staton in the junior high program before moving up to the high school level as an assistant. When Staton retired, he joined Farrington, a long-time assistant with Coaches Gary Gravert and Staton as co-head coach and served in that capacity for three years.

Food service proposal

With the Albia Community School District running up deficits in its school hot lunch and food service program, the board is considering the option of contracting with a private food service company to provide its breakfast and lunch program.

Bruce Chrz, Business Development Associate for OPAA Food Service Management, and an associate, Joyce Fisher, discussed with the board what his firm could do for the district.

Chrz is a retired superintendent from Oklahoma and Fisher a former public school food service manager. OPAA is a private company based in Missouri serving mostly school districts with 500 or more students (Albia has about 1,100 students). It serves 131 districs in Missouri, 49 in Oklahoma, 56 in Kansas, 20 in Arkansas, 7 in Nebraska, 15 in Illinois and now three in Iowa, including Sigourney school district.

The company extolls its homestyle cooking and baking.

Chrz said the company would bring purchasing power, quality and choice of meals and a diverse menu to the district. It offers broad breakfast and lunch menus, an online meal ordering system used by parents, fresh fruit and vegetable bars and the ability to give students healthy options of what they like to eat. It also works with local food vendors (farmer’s markets, the Beef Industry Council, local FFA groups, etc.) to provide high quality, fresh foods.

Albia loses about $80,000 a year in its food servive and Chrz, while not able to provide exact numbers to the school board, said he felt confident their program could greatly curtail those losses by better food purchasing and more efficiencies in providing meals.

Under the OPAA system, the local district would continue to set meal prices, control policies and revenue streams and hire staff (if they so choose). Superintendent Kevin Crall said in his conversations with OPAA and other potential vendors, he felt the district would maintain its employees.

Crall also told the board he has been in contact with another private food service vendor, Lunchtime Solutions, that former ACHS Principal Al Leber, works for.

Albia part of pilot project

High school principal Richard Montgomery was the guest principal at Monday’s meeting and told the board that ACHS was part of a pilot project with the Iowa Department of Education using a software program called “Panorama,” which pulls school data (including behavior, attendance, test scores, etc.) and daily presents it to administration and teaching staff.

Albia is the first of nine selected Iowa schools to fully commit to the pilot project. Montgomery said the high school already collects the data but pulling it together to make it useful on a daily basis has been out of the school’s grasp.

Montgomery also announced that the high school’s new welding program, taught by Tony Gibson in the Career Academy, was starting on Tuesday.

The school board acted on several items related to future building projects. It approved a number of items related to the financing of the work on the fine arts and HVAC projects approved at the December meeting. It also approved a contract with RDG Architects for the design of the fine arts renovation and HVAC at the junior/senior high school.

The school board approved the process to begin the bidding for the 7-12 B Gym and cafeteria roof projects that will take place this summer.

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