MAY 12, 2003

The Southeast Warren Board of Education met in regular session May 12, 2003, in the media center of the Intermediate building. President Smith called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. The following board members were present: Tom Farley, John Burrell, Greg Davis and Debbie Miller. Superintendent Susan Garton, Secondary Principal Terry Gladfelter, Primary Principal Charlotte Weaklend, Intermediate Principal Cindy Butler, and Board Secretary Julie Wilson were in attendance, along with members of the community.

AGENDA: Superintendent Garton related to the Board that a parent had made a request to consider adding an agenda item for a hearing to provide bus services for her child. Motion by Farley, seconded by Miller to approve the agenda with the addition of item 9AA, “Student hearing.” Ayes: 5.

VISITORS: Brittany Stanley, Jackie Swim, and Allison Warren presented a slide show from the Southwest History Trip.

Joe Clay related to the Board that he had been selected to participate in the Youth Training Core for Character (YTC). The YTC is a project that integrates character development, youth service, youth leadership and youth empowerment. Joe will participate in the YTC training process and then participate in active service by providing training and support to other youth groups and organizations throughout Iowa.


Transportation Report:

I’m happy to report all repairs on our busses cited by the inspector are done and we have received our approval stickers. We do, however, have one bus left that needs to be inspected. This is set up for June 3rd at Pleasantville. We also received our report back on our diesel emissions test and have made vast improvements from the last report.

Due to the shortage of bus drivers and all the extra trips in April, I did have to borrow a substitute bus driver from Indianola.

Starting May 2nd, we will be transporting Lacy Carico to and from Lacona everyday. I’m glad she is doing better and I have seen improvement in just a week, but on the down side, I lost a van driver who went back to work as an aid in Lacona. So right now I’m transporting her both a.m. and p.m. I am also transporting Kenny Doss 5 days a week according to his schedule.

Just for your information, after the accident in Indianola with one of their busses, they have asked to use one of ours. So if you have someone ask you why they have seen a SEW bus around Indianola, you will know the answer.

I have purchased a CD called Help Me Street to help me put together the handbook for next year. I’m looking at restructuring some of the routes in order to save time.

I am working on a vehicle for Driver’s Education in June. There is a possibility of renting one from Holmes Chevrolet for $8.00 a day, or more than likely, use our own ’98 Ford Windstar. Whichever way we chose to go, we will have to do some brake work.

Secondary Principal’s Report:

Community Service/Spring Games – I would like to publicly congratulate Mr. Ripperger and the members of the Student Council for their organization and leadership in accomplishing this day’s events. Teachers and staff all participated with student groups to clean, polish, pick-up, paint, wash, mow and generally “spruce up” our communities. The morning started with a canned food drive, then the community service and in the afternoon the spring games. It was a positive and exciting day.

Valedictorian Recognition – Congratulations to Tyler Spoon our SEW Valedictorian. He was recently recognized at an official awards ceremony along with the other top graduates throughout the state. He had his picture taken with Governor Vilsack and will also be on television spots that honor the top graduates throughout the state.

Intermediate Principal’s Report:

At the October board meeting I shared last year’s reading scores from ITBS and reading fluency testing (how quickly they can read grade level material without errors) conducted this fall. The teachers and I examined the data, teachers received some training in reading strategies and have used different strategies. We have received this year’s ITBS results and we re-tested for reading fluency this spring. I would like to share those results with you.

ITBS Reading Comprehension

Less Than Proficient
Student Count
99-00/Grade 4
00-01/Grade 4
01-02/Grade 4
02-03/Grade 4

Less than Proficient is 40th percentile or lower
Advanced is 91st percentile or higher


Our scores remained generally the same as last year’s fourth grade.

Reading Fluency

Fall Proficient
Spring Proficient
Average Word Count
Expected Growth


Fourth graders are expected to have a larger increase in words per minute than fifth and sixth graders, which they did. All grades made better than expected growth.

Elementary Principal’s Report:


Field Trips

· Annett Nature Center 4-24
· Preschool to Des Moines Playhouse “Stone Soup” (optional) 5-16
· ECSE to mini-olympics @ Emerson School in Indianola 5-22

· Annett Nature Center 4-15
· Dykstra and Meade farms and Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines 5-16

First Grade
· Pella 5-6

Second Grade
· Pella 4-25
· Des Moines Playhouse, Botanical Center & Historical Building 5-8

Third Grade
· Civic Center and Science Center in Des Moines 4-22
· Warren County Historical Museum in Indianola 5-23

Special Assemblies/Activities

· Open House 8-27 (parent meeting included)
· Homecoming pep rally 9-23
· Preschool participation in homecoming parade 9-26
· Family Fishing Day 9-28
· Student pictures 9-30
· Fire Prevention Day 10-8
· Kindergarten Grandparents’ Week 10-21
· Red Ribbon week 10-28
· High School presentation of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” 11-6
· Veteran’s day Assembly & dedication of flagpole 11-11
· Annual Cookie Walk & Book Fair 12-7
· Elementary Christmas Program 12-16
· Kindergarten’s 100’s Day Celebration 1-27
· Elementary Carnival & Book Fair 3-7
· Participation in state-wide tornado drill 3-26
· Kindergarten round-up parent mtg. 4-10
· Spring student pictures 4-11
· Joyce Leonard – yodeler assembly 4-11
· Earth Week activities 4-16
· High School presentation of “Charlotte’s Web” 4-23
· Smart Discipline Seminars for parents & teachers 4-24
· Kindergarten Day Celebration 4-25
· Kindergarten ABC Picnic 5-9
· Family Fishing Day 5-17
· Field/Fine Arts Day 5-20
· Character Program 5-20
· 2nd and 3rd grade Spring Concert & Community Center 5-27

Legislative Report – Tom Farley reported that the legislature has adjourned without passing the Iowa Values Fund, which would provide for school infrastructure equity. A special session of the legislature will be called to complete work on an economic development plan to grow Iowa. Phase III has been discontinued but the class size initiative and teacher quality programs will still be funded.

Children First Forum – Greg Davis reported that the Children First Forum met on May 7th. Items of discussion were transition of students to different buildings and a new At-Risk program for our district called “CARE.” The next meeting of the Children First Forum will be held on Monday, June 2, at the Primary Media Center beginning at 7:00 p.m. Multi Cultural Gender Fair issues, Drug Free Schools, summer meeting schedule and Special Ed will be agenda items.

Athletic Boosters – Kevin Smith reported that the concession stands at the baseball and softball fields had been broken into again. Measures are being taken to get the problem under control.

Fine Arts Boosters & Non-Certified Negotiations – Debbie Miller reported the negotiations have been settled with the non-certified staff. After the non-certified staff has ratified the contract, the board will vote, then contracts will be issued.

The Fine Arts Boosters discussed possible fundraisers at their last meeting. Possibilities include selling SEW shirts and have a concession stand during Ragbri.

CONSENT AGENDA: The following items were on the consent agenda:

1. April 14, 2003 minutes
2. Financial reports

Motion by Miller, seconded by Davis to approve the consent agenda. Ayes: 5.


This budget report covers aspects of the food service program for the district.

On July 1, 2001, when I arrived in Southeast Warren, the food service program was in debt $49, 474. That means that expenses during the past year(s) had exceeded income. The district paid salaries and other food service expenses from the general fund, causing the food service program to owe the general fund.

In my first year as superintendent, I established some control over food service spending by joining the food coop, an organization which prepares competitive bids for food items used by coop member districts. I reduced one part time employee. The board had already decided to eliminate the position of food service director. Consequently, I have supervised the food service program last year and again this year. “Supervised” is probably not the best term, since the other hats I wear take most of my time. There has been little direct supervision provided for food service. Fortunately, the employees are experienced and work diligently without supervision.

On July 1, of 2002, the food service debt had been reduced to $26, 131. Throughout the year, I continued to monitor expenses, and required changes where necessary. During this second year, the food service department paid for its own equipment repair, kitchen repair, staff training, and software for food service accounting. In earlier years, the district had paid these expenses from the general fund.

By March 31, 2003, the food service debt was entirely retired. Salaries for March and April were paid from the general fund, but reimbursed the next month by food service. This is good news, but the debt-free status will not be sustained over the summer months, since employees are paid over 12 months, but food service has no income during the summer months. By September, 2003, the food service department will incur additional expenses for summer repair of equipment, summer training for employees, and software for food service accounting. The amount of debt by September, 2003, could be as much as $12,000.

The goal for food service is to be self-supporting. To accomplish this goal, the food service program must be operated just like a good business. The district must offer attractive meals to students and adults. The district must be efficient in all aspects of food service operations. This goal is achievable within one year. With the help of food service directors from other districts and consultants from the Department of Education, I have identified what needs to be done to turn our food service department into a fully self-supported operation.

All of the districts in our area have self-supported food service departments. In addition to paying all salaries and benefits associated with food service, the departments buy new equipment, lunch tables, ice cream machines, and other improvements for the kitchen, and still maintain a healthy cash balance for emergencies.

The Department of Education sends an annual report to the district providing the average cost per lunch and breakfast, our total food costs for the last fiscal year, and the total labor costs. According to the Department of Education Report received May 5, 2003, food purchases totaled $97,515 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002. Total salaries and benefits were $83,303 for the same period of time.

During the same fiscal year, the district served 83,223 meals. Of these, 78,309 were reimbursable lunches. All student lunches are reimbursable; adult lunches and a la carte sales are NOT reimbursable. That means the district receives no money for the sale of an adult lunch or a la carte item. For any regular student lunch, the district is reimbursed 24 cents.

The total costs per lunch are reported by the DE as follows:

Total costs per lunch: $1.7782

Current lunch prices:

Food costs


$1.40 elementary

Salaries & benefits


$1.50 secondary



$2.00 adult



The total costs per breakfast are reported by the DE as follows:

Total costs per breakfast: $1.0861

Current breakfast price:

Food costs


$1.00 everyone

Salaries & benefits








These totals show that our costs per meal exceed the amount paid by the student for both breakfast and lunch.

I recommend the board consider increasing the price per lunch to $1.50 for elementary students, $1.60 for secondary students, and $2.50 for adults.

I recommend the board consider increasing breakfast prices to $1.25 for everyone.

There was no increase in the price of meals last year.

Other changes for food service budgeting:
Beginning July 1, 2003, pay Sue Ellingson from the Food Service budget for accounting.
Beginning in August, pay an aide from the Food Service budget for serving as cashier at the high school.
Beginning in August, pay an aide for lunch room supervision and help in serving at the primary center.

The most important number in the food service budget is the number of students who qualify for free or reduced meals. This year, 26% of the students in the district qualify. This percentage is used in the calculations for all kinds of state payments to school districts and for the determination of eligibility for grants.

Recently, I prepared to write a proposal for grant funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant, a grant to provide after-school activities for students. The funding source would provide up to $250,000 a year for each of three years for districts establishing community-based enrichment programs after school. After doing some preliminary research, I learned that only districts with a free and reduced lunch count of over 35% were eligible to apply. This is the second grant this year where our district was NOT eligible to apply.

In the grants we did receive this year, the formula for determining our funding was based in part upon the free and reduced lunch count. In fact, all grants, except those under $10,000, use the free and reduced lunch count as a standardized indicator of poverty in the district.

Each August during registration, parents are encouraged to fill out the application for free and reduced lunch. Not all parents feel comfortable in doing this. No one wants to be labeled poor or disadvantaged. Not everyone is willing to give confidential information about salaries to the school. For those hesitant parents, we offer reassurance. The guidelines are liberal. Many middle-income families are eligible, even if both parents are employed outside the home. The applications are kept confidential. Only one person reviews the application. One other person maintains the record for food service. Students who receive free or reduced lunch are never identified in the lunch line, or at any other time during the school year.

The state and federal reimbursement for a free or reduced meal brings needed income into the food service department. Compare these reimbursement rates:

Purchased student lunch $ .24 Reimbursement
Reduced price lunch $1.54 Reimbursement
Free lunch $1.94 Reimbursement
Purchased breakfast $ .25 Reimbursement
Reduced breakfast $ .65 Reimbursement
Free breakfast $ .95 Reimbursement

If more families would apply for free or reduced lunches, the district would not need to increase lunch prices.

BOARD POLICIES 503.9R and 505.10: Motion by Miller, seconded by Davis to approve the second reading of Board Policy 503.9R, “Good Conduct Rule Grades 7-12” and Board Policy 505.10, “Graduation Requirements.” Discussion followed concerning the pros and cons of raising the graduation requirements.

Motion by Miller, seconded by Farley to separate the board policies and approve the second reading of Board Policy 503.9R, “Good Conduct Rule Grades 7-12.” Ayes: 5.

Motion by Miller, seconded by Davis to approve the second reading of Board Policy 505.10, “Graduation Requirements.” Ayes: Miller, Davis, Farley and Smith. Nays: Burrell. Motion passed 4:1. John Burrell asked to have the records state that open enrollment out for this year is currently at 50 students.

STUDENT HEARING: The Board went into closed session as per Iowa Code Section 21.5(1)(e) to conduct a hearing to determine whether to suspend or expel a student from bus privileges. The time was 8:48 p.m. President Smith called the hearing to a close at 9:03 p.m.

PERSONNEL CHANGES: Superintendent Garton recommended accepting the resignation of Susan Crall from her teaching position. Motion by Farley, seconded by Miller to accept the resignation of Susan Crall. Ayes: 5.

Superintendent Garton recommended accepting the resignation of Brenda Vodraska from her teaching position with regret and with appreciation for starting the Life Skills Program. Motion by Davis, seconded by Miller to accept the resignation of Brenda Vodraska. Ayes: 5.

Superintendent Garton recommended accepting the resignation of Cindy Butler from Academic Team Advisor. Motion by Miller, seconded by Davis to accept the resignation of Cindy Butler from Academic Team Advisor. Ayes: 5.

Superintendent Garton recommended hiring Brady Smith, Assistant Softball coach; Mike Donnenwerth, JH Baseball Coach; Brenton Tigner, Driver’s Ed Instructor; and Tim Cerwinske, Spanish Club Advisor. Motion by Miller, seconded by Burrell to approve the hiring of personnel as presented. Ayes: 5.

2003 GRADUATES: Motion by Davis, seconded by Miller to approve the list of graduates as presented. Ayes: 5.

NEW YORK TRIP: Motion by Miller, seconded by Farley to approve the High School Choir Trip to New York City. Ayes: 5. The trip has been planned for the week of March 21 – March 26, 2004. The cost of the trip will be approximately $625 per person. Fund raising activities will be planned to help students pay for the cost of the trip.

BOARD PUBLICATIONS: Superintendent Garton recommended publishing a brief version of the minutes in the Record-Herald instead of the full minutes. This change would save approximately $200 per month in publication costs. Motion by Farley, seconded by Davis to approve the change in publication. Ayes: 5.

LUNCH PRICES: Superintendent Garton recommended increasing lunch prices to $1.50 for elementary; $1.60 for secondary; and $2.50 for adults and increase breakfast prices to $1.25 for adults. The current lunch prices are $1.40 for elementary, $1.50 for secondary and $2.00 for adults. The current breakfast price is $1.00 for everyone. Motion by Miller, seconded by Farley to approve the increase in lunch and breakfast prices. Ayes: 5.

REGISTRATION FEES: Superintendent Garton recommended increasing student registration fees from the current fee of $22.50 to $30. Motion by Farley, seconded by Miller to approve the $30 registration fee effective August 2003. Ayes: Farley, Miller, Davis and Smith. Nays: Burrell. Motion passed 4:1.

CONFERENCE TICKETS: Superintendent Garton related that the Pride of Iowa Conference has recommended increasing ticket prices to $4 per adult and $2 per student for varsity POI events. Currently the ticket prices are $3 per adult and $2 per student. Motion by Davis, seconded by Miller to approve the POI ticket price increase to $4 per adult and $2 per student. Ayes: 5.

DISPOSITION OF OLD SCHOOLHOUSE: The Board discussed possible alternatives for the old school house. The Board requested a contractor look at the building for a recommendation on the possibility of fixing the building for use. Item tabled until the next board meeting.

SUIT AGAINST DESIGN ALLIANCE: Superintendent Garton reported that two attorneys had been contacted on the possibility of bringing suit against Design Alliance. Both attorneys had declined taking the case on a contingency basis. Design Alliance was to have provided drawings and materials to cover the foam wall in Lacona. The drawings were provided, but Design Alliance did not follow through with the payment of materials. Discussion was held by the Board.

BUILDING OR LOT FOR INDUSTRIAL ARTS PROJECT: Superintendent Garton reported that she is working of a grant to purchase land or a building for an Industrial Arts project. The project would be funded entirely by grant funds and would not come from the General Fund. Motion by Farley, seconded by Miller to approve the Superintendent to continue considering lots and buildings for a possible Industrial Arts project contingent upon receipt of grant funding and final board approval. Ayes: 5.

BOARD POLICIES: Motion by Miller, seconded by Farley to approve the review and revision of board Policy Section 401, “Certified Personnel Selection” and 407, “Non-Certified Personnel Selection.” Ayes: 5.

President Smith adjourned the meeting at 10:23 p.m.

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