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School board approves sale of Wellington field to city PDF Print E-mail

Al Zuege, Beth Larson

resign teaching jobs

at end of ‘13-14 year

By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican

School board members voted 6-3 Tuesday to approve an agreement with the city, selling the entire Wellington football field it currently owns.
The action came after a 25-minute closed session and months of negotiations between the two parties on the property that could be the next home for an IVFD fire hall.
The city council has yet to vote on the agreement, but it will be before them Monday, Jan. 20, at their regular 6 p.m. meeting.
In the meantime, City Clerk/Administrator Jo Leyland said the council hopes to convene a meeting, possibly on Friday, with members of the fire department to discuss the agreement.
In other board action Tuesday, resignations from two longtime teachers, Al Zuege and Beth Larson, were approved.
Zuege, who teaches social studies and diversified occupations this year, will complete his 27th year as a CCS teacher. He coaches junior high girls’ basketball and is head girls’ coach for high school track, and was also a longtime head coach for the high school girls’ basketball program.
Larson teaches grade 7-12 Spanish and will complete her 13th year at CCS this spring. She is also a past cheerleading sponsor and class advisor.
Teachers this year have been offered a $1,000 early retirement incentive if they submit the required paperwork and letter of resignation by the Jan. 31 deadline.
Fire hall site
After months of negotiations, the school board voted to sell the entire Wellington football field, with some conditions, for $130,000 to the city.
The agreement requires that the south end of the field, basically south of where 11th St. intersects with the field, be set aside as a “grassy field to be used by the public and seller (school) as a field for conducting soccer and football events and practices,” or other youth sports
It also requires the city to install lighting at the south end for those uses within a year of the July 14 closing date.
City Clerk/Administrator Jo Leyland said if the sale is approved, city workers would be able to move the current lighting at the
Wellington field to accommodate a soccer field/practice area that will lay east to west at the field’s south end.
She believed the only additional cost beyond the purchase price would be grading and dirt work to level the field, seeding and sprinkler system installation.
Regarding the north end, the fire department is considering the possible construction of a new fire hall there, which initiated negotiations on sale of that property.
Tuesday’s vote by the school board was the first official action on the issue. They have met several months in closed session to discuss negotiations, as has the city council.
At the Jan. 6 meeting, the council hired an architect and construction manager for fire hall designs and to get cost estimates together.
The IVFD had originally planned to build its new hall on Broadway, north of the library, on the empty city-owned lot after outgrowing the hall at 637 Broadway.
But, some on the council suggested that lot be reserved for future retail expansion. While that lot would allow for a larger fire hall than present, there have been comments that it may also limit future expansion down the road years from now if needed.
Tuesday’s school board vote was not unanimous.
Voting yes to approve the agreement were Sheila Stromberger, Tom Gaschler, Karl Meeske, Dan Reeves, Jeff Olsen and Willy O’Neil.
Voting against were Dirk Haarberg, Gregg Smith and Penny Strand.

Other school board business

  • A new policy that went through first reading at Tuesday’s meeting addresses student interviews and searches conducted by both school administrators and law enforcement. At least two board members visited with Supt. Brad Schoeppey about adding such a policy, “particularly about when law enforcement comes to interview students here (school) and the notification of parents,” Schoeppey said. Board President Jeff Olsen said he asked for such a policy to be considered. He said he was concerned with police coming to the school to interview students without contacting the parents. While the school cannot interfere with what law enforcement is trying to do, board member Sheila Stromberger said “the school is an easy place to find kids,” and believes a lot of issues law enforcement has come to the school to talk to students about are not necessarily “a school issue.” The proposed policy has a section that states the school will make every reasonable attempt to notify parents or guardians if law enforcement requests to interview a student on school grounds, except if child abuse is suspected and perpetrated by a member of the student’s family. The policy was drawn up by Supt. Schoeppey, and will be on the February agenda for second reading and possible passage.
  • The board elected the same officers for 2014 who served in 2013, including Jeff Olsen, president; Gregg Smith, vice president; Tom Gaschler, secretary; and Penny Strand, treasurer.
  • An evaluation tool that principals will use to evaluate teaching staff was approved on an 8-0 vote. It will be sent into the State Department of Education for its review before being put into use at CCS.
  • A look ahead to 2014-15 enrollment, Supt. Schoeppey said from early indications, it looks like another big kindergarten class may be enrolled. He said one preschool alone in the community has 47 preschoolers who would be eligible, age-wise, to enter kindergarten this fall.
  • A resignation from custodian Allen Sargent was approved. He worked as the evening/activities custodian. His resignation was effective Jan. 9.
  • Another closed session of about an hour was held by the board to discuss teacher negotiations, with no action resulting afterwards.

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