Albia A

For the second time in a couple of years, the Albia Community School District will use the “co-head coach” concept to run one of their varsity sports programs. The Albia football program is led by Scott Farrington and Justin Huber as co-head coaches.

Long-time assistant girls softball coaches Jani Dorpinghaus and Darin Hill were approved Monday by the school board to lead the Lady Dee softball program, the most successful girls sports program in school history.

The softball team has won numerous conference championships since the days of Linda Hoskins in the early 1980s, was rebuilt by Coach Larry Achenbach beginning in 1999, winning multiple SCC titles from 2001-2005, with two state tournament appearances, continued to prosper under Mitch Chance and then flourished again under Coach Achenbach’s second tour of duty, winning two SCC titles and second and fourth place finishes in state.

Dorphinghaus and Hill have both served as varsity assistants, freshmen and JV coaches under Achenbach and Chance. Achenbach stepped down, with almost all of his team returning next summer, to become superintendent at Chariton.

The main part of Monday’s meeting was taken up with a discussion of an offer by Monroe County Supervisors to turn the Monroe County Sports Complex over to the school district. That story will be in Thursday’s Union-Republican, along with a presentation by Estes Construction and RDG Architecture on a facilities assessment report.

In other board business, the Class of 2018 knocked the ACT testing out of the park, scoring above the state average in English, reading, science and the composite while coming within a tenth of a point in math. Scoring in English was 22.3 compared 21.0 statewide. Scoring in reading was 23.5 compared to 22.5 statewide, scoring in science was 22.0 compared to 22.0 statewide and scoring in math was 21.1 compared to 21.2 statewide. The composite scoring was 22.3 compared to 21.8 statwide.

In the past five years, only the class of 2016 scored higher in English (20.6). Last year’s composite was 19.9 compared to a 22.3 this year. A total of 46 students took the test in 2018 compared to 53 in 2017, 48 in 2016, 49 in 2015 and 47 in 2014.

The board reviewed numbers for parents attending fall parent-teacher conferences and the trend was upward. Attendance in grades PK through fifth grades 89-98 percent with fifth grade parents attending at a 98 percent rate. Attendance dropped from there with 78 percent in sixth, 73 percent in sventh down to 47 percent in 12th, however those percentages were better than the last several years, partly because of late text reminders to parents.

The school board approved a substantial increase in substitute teacher pay and long-term substitute pay, bringing the Albia district closer to surrounding districts. Albia’s single day sub pay was $108.79, the lowest of any conference school and lower than Ottumwa, Sigourney, Cardinal, Oskaloosa and Pekin. The average of all area schools was around $120 per day and that is what the board approved on Monday.

Albia’s long-term sub pay was $151.78 for 10 consecutive assignments, also somewhat lower than the area average. The board boosted that pay to $160.

“We use the same substitute pool of teachers as every surrounding school district,” said Superintendent Kevin Crall. “This will help us remain competitive so that we can attract the best subs.”

The increase will cost the district between $20,000 and $30,000 per year.

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