H-W votes technology refresh


How-Winn - It’s time to look at new electronic devices for the students at Howard-Winneshiek Community School District. 
At the regular March 13 meeting, board members learned the four-year contract with Apple will be expiring this summer at the end of Fiscal 2017 on June 30.
Harold Jensen and Heather Klenke from the IT Dept. explained most of the staff and students like the Apple devices and products, so it makes sense to stay with them. In addition Apple will purchase the computers and iPads back for up to $300 per unit.
Board members voted to go with a five-year lease with an option to refresh the products at the end of four. 
This will allow several iPads to be available in the preschool room, and K-5 will have 1:1 iPads. Sixth through 12th grade will have laptops. 
• One of the longest discussions at the meeting was about the upcoming need for housing when RAGBRAI® (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) comes to Cresco on July 27.
Members of the campsite committee explained how much space will be needed to accommodate all the housing demands associated with the biggest ride in the world.
Ryan McCarville explained there will be at least 11,000 riders and 4,000 support individuals registered and an additional 3,000-5,000 extras. “We will need to have at least 80-85 acres of land and up to 100 acres. This will include space for 600 RVs.”
Just figuring out space, the committee has tentatively found about half the space needed. This includes approximately three acres at Evans Park, six at East Park, five at Kessel Park and 25 at the Howard County Fairgrounds. 
The school has about 10.25 acres including the high school and junior high practice fields, baseball and softball fields, the parking lot and part of the playground area. It does not include the football field.
That makes for a grand total of 49.25 acres. That leaves at least another 30 acres to find. 
Steve McCarville talked about the showers. “They are about $6.00 apiece. You can have towels or not. This is a good profit for the school.”
It was also mentioned a handicapped group would like to stay at the K-8 or high school.
“This will be great for the town. In 24 hours RAGBRAI® generates about $2-3 million,” Steve said.
Ryan added, “Our intentions is for the school property to be strictly a family-friendly campground.” There will be no alcohol or tobacco allowed per state law.
How-Winn Transportation Director Brian Swestka is also the transportation chairman for RAGBRAI®. He and Larry Trende, Facilities Director, will work with the campsite committee.
The school board voted to help with grounds and facilities for the summer event.
• The district budget for 2017-2018 was approved. Board secretary Clint Farlinger pointed out the unspent balance for Fiscal Year 2016 was $2.3 million. It went down for FY2017 to $2 million, and will drop again for FY2018 to $1.8 million. 
After the meeting, Farlinger explained the unspent balance is about perfect at $1.8 million, but he doesn’t want it to go down any further.
• The 2017-2018 school calendar was also approved. Some key dates include:
Aug. 23: Parent/Teacher Conferences
Aug. 24: First Day of Class
Dec. 25-Jan. 3: Winter Break
March 30-April 3: Easter/Spring Break & Teacher In-Service
May 22: End of School (if there are no make-up days)
The district will again go with hours of instruction rather than days of instruction. This system expects 1,080 hours of school time with an additional 24.5 hours of weather/emergency related issues built in. Any hours missed over 24.5 hours will be made up after May 22, 2018, the scheduled last day of school. 
• Farlinger pointed out the district received an unmodified opinion, which is the best kind of comment to receive from the yearly audit.
He told board members the district had three comments:
1. Segregation of duties in the business office (Every smaller district in Iowa receives this comment. Two or three additional staff would have to be hired to eliminate this comment in the future.)
2. Free/reduced application errors - while the auditors found no errors, the State Department of Education found errors when they did a complete compliance check. The district now has a second person checking math on the applications.
3. Time Card Approval - they want additional approval if an employee works more than their contracted hours.
Farlinger said two additional findings were mentioned, but insignificant.
1. Free/reduced applications: Administration was instructed by the state to verify four applications and staff verified six.
2. The district spent roughly $50 for “non-public” purposes. “We bought food from the concession stand for officials during an all-day sporting event (less than $15), and we bought treats for students after working on a fund-raiser (and actually the money we spent here was a donation for that specific purpose).”
• Principal Chris Rogne reported on a few changes to the 2017-2018 high school curriculum guide.
• Board members voted to accept the bid by Halvorson Trane for a retrofit of the heat pump loop. The work will allow the equipment to shut down when not in use, saving the district money on utilities and wear-and-tear.
• Staff members whose early retirement applications were accepted include associate Diane Schmitt (elementary 1:1) and teachers Rita Altman (junior high special education), Janel Cray (elementary Title I), Debra Day (high school English), Dorette Fravel (elementary special education), Marsha McCabe (elementary special education), Douglas Murphy (junior high English), James Obermann (high school English) and Mary Watt (elementary special education).
• The next board meeting will be Monday, April 10 at 7 p.m. at the high school.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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