WACO school board gets ready for new year

By Gretchen Teske, The JOURNAL


WAYLAND ? Chris Armstrong officially took the helm of the WACO School District this month and, along with the school board members Monday night, got down to business preparing for the upcoming school year.

Among the items the board tackled were discussing hiring a part-time special education teacher and finalizing bids for milk and bread.

The full-time special education position was recently reduced to a part-time position as the district does not have enough students to require a full-time staff member. However, before the board moves forward and hires the new staff member, Armstrong would like to see the data that proves the need for the new-hire. The perspective employee is not special-education teacher certified and would also have to earn their certificate before teaching. The teacher would also act as the drama instructor for the after-school drama club. The conversation was tabled until next meeting, pending further research on the necessity of the position.

Milk and bread bids were approved as well. Milk will be provided by Anderson Erickson Dairy, of Des Moines, and bread by Bimbo Bakery of Cedar Rapids. Board secretary Carrie Coble said finding a bread vendor has ?really become a problem? as there aren?t many in the area. Bimbo Bakery is the closest and does deliver to Washington, forcing the district to pick up their order.

In other business, the board discussed updates to the student handbook. The board also decided to add that if damage is done to school computers, the offender loses technology privileges. ?I do believe, if it?s the end of the year and they?re a senior, you might be able to hold the diploma,? said Armstrong. The motion was approved.

In preparation for the new school year, the board looked at the agreement between the district at Southeastern Community College. ?It?s something that?s done every year,? said Armstrong about the dual enrollment. ?One of the most important aspects is if our students are enrolled here in dual enrollment classes, they will accept them at SCC.? All classes are accepted and the motion was approved.

School safety is a number one concern this year as the district has installed all new key cards to replace metal keys. The equipment is installed but not programmed and is expected to be done by the time school starts. Additionally, security cameras were added to the inside of the school where before they only had them on the outside.

Armstrong announced his schedule for the year would consist of being in the district on Mondays and potentially on Wednesday afternoons as needed. ?It just seemed like it was really good for me to be in-district four times a month,? he said. He also encouraged the board to have staff attend meetings, which is not already a regular practice of the school board. ?I would encourage it for the principal especially,? he said. ?Once the school year starts I believe it?s important for them to be here just to hear what?s going on and to understand.?

The next meeting of the WACO school board will be Monday, August 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the school library.