school board meeting

The Albia Community School Board discussed several ways to move forward with proposed building projects in the district with financial advisor Matt Gillespie from Piper Sandler during their regular Aug. 9 meeting. Board member Mark Robinson was absent.

Gillespie outlined several ways the district can raise money for proposed projects, including simply borrowing the money, borrowing against the district’s future sales tax or property tax revenue, asking the voters to approve a PPEL of up to $1.34 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation for 10 years or asking the voters to approve a bond issue.

Gillespie provided the board with information on the various scenarios for them to consider as they move forward with large construction projects in the district. The board has recently been discussing needed improvements at the Lincoln Center, a secure entrance at the high school/junior high, and updates to the district’s athletic facilities.

The district currently only has a board approved PPEL of 0.33¢ in place to raise money to be used for possible construction projects as well as other needs. The district also has the second lowest tax rate of any district in the surrounding southeast Iowa area at $12.50661. The lowest is Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont at $10.83202 and the next highest above Albia is Oskaloosa at $13.94265.

Board members decided to take the information Gillespie provided and study it more before having an in depth discussion at a board meeting in the near future.

The board also heard an update on testing results from principal Joellen Swartz as the state had released updated numbers with the state average scores for 3-11 graders in math and English. The Albia district scores were above the state average, except in three areas, math proficiency in fifth and sixth grades and English proficiency in fifth grade. In sixth grade math Albia scored 59 percent proficient versus the state average of 67 percent. In fifth grade math Albia scored 58 percent proficient versus the state average of 63 percent and in fifth grade English Albia scored 59 percent proficient versus the state average of 66 percent.

The board also heard from Hayden George about his Eagle Scout project, which was erecting a 60-foot flag at the Albia Reservoir. The project was completed earlier the summer and George wanted to thank the board and district for their support.

In other business:

• The board approved bills to be paid in the amount of $304,223.01

• The board approved the resignation of Matt Johnson as assistant soccer coach, the employment of Haley Kline as a classroom associate, Keri Workman as a one-on-one associate, and MacKenzie Griffin as a one-on-one associate and approved volunteers Tyler Boley, Michael Haluska, Matt Jones, Adam Mick, Terri Schofield and Alan Schwarte.

• The board approved the ESSR District Funding Plan discussed during the last board meeting with no changes. This money is federal money given to the district due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan lays out how the district will spend the money over the next three years.

• The board approved an agreement with the Eddyville-Blakeburg-Fremont district for a shared therapeutic classroom that will be jointly administered. The classroom will be located in the EBF district.

• The board approved revised board policies as presented.

* The board also briefly discussed what to do about a vending machine the district leased. It has not been used very much since the pandemic began and now that the district is using OPPA for their food service, the company does not want to take over stocking the machine. The board said they would revisit the situation once they had more information.