School Board to vote on mansion sale

Published: Friday, May 10, 2013 11:58 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 10, 2013 12:14 p.m. CDT

A somewhat controversial move by the Newton Community School District Board of Education is back on the agenda for Monday’s 6 p.m. meeting at Thomas Jefferson Elementary.

Among numerous agenda items for what could be a long evening for the school board is a vote on the proposed sale of the former Maytag mansion. The former home at 806 S. Sixth Ave. W., which was donated to the school district by the Maytag family to serve as an administration building, is no longer used for that purpose.

The real estate website zillow.com estimates the property is worth $162,357. The board will meet in closed session to discuss details of the potential sale before the vote takes place.

The board hasn’t met for a regular meeting since April 22, and Monday’s agenda would seem to reflect that fact.

During the break in regular meetings, the board took part in the search for a new superintendent. Monday, board members will go over the minutes from those special sessions that were held April 23, 26, 29 and 30 and May 1.

Ultimately, Rogers (Texas) Independent School District Superintendent Bob Callaghan was chosen to replace outgoing Newton CSD Superintendent Steve McDermott. He will assume his new duties July 1.

McDermott will provide an update on board members’ iPads during his report. He will also provide the latest details on open enrollment in and out of the district.

Among the action items is consideration for expanding the district’s preschool program offered at Emerson Hough to low-income families. During the April 22 meeting, McDermott and Director of Elementary Education Jim Gilbert brought the topic up and mentioned how beneficial the program has become.

The district currently has 140 students enrolled in the preschool program. There is a waiting list.

Gilbert said the expansion would allow 18 more kids to join the program, which would require the hiring of a full-time director. Admission would be on a first-come, first-served basis.

He also noted the program would not affect other local preschool providers.

The board also will consider a proposal to lower school fees. At Newton Senior High School, some of the current fees include:

• $35 instrumental rental fee,

• $5 for a parking sticker,

• $45 for a student activity ticket,

• $75 for textbook rental,

• $15 for band and color guard uniform rental,

• $5 for vocal music robe rental, and

• $5 for safety glass rental

Elementary school fees are currently $35 for a student activity ticket and $60 for textbook rentals. Berg Middle School currently charges $45 for a student activity ticket and $73 for textbook rental.

The current fees at the preschool are a $25 registration fee and a $25 program monthly fee.

Other action items on the agenda include:

• setting a date for a public hearing on a 2012-13 budget amendment,

• 2013-14 salary recommendations for administrators,

• 2013-14 non-union classified staff salary recommendations,

• first reading of revisions of school board policy sections 100 (Education Philosophy) and 200 (School/Board of Directors),

• voting to continuing membership in Iowa School Finance Information Services,

• voting to continue membership in the Iowa Association of School Boards, and

• voting to continue membership in the Iowa Association for Education Purchasing.

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641)-792-3121, ext. 426, or at trushing@newtondailynews.com via email.

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