Tri-County starts off to positive year

Tri County has witnessed several changes over the summer with the renovations being made, staff changes as well as new administration, but superintendent Dennis Phelps said he is excited and the new staff members are a good fit.  "I am very pleased with the beginning of this school year.  The opening day Flag Raising ceremonies demonstrate the class, positive attitude, and pride in the Tri-County CSD.  I continue to marvel at the passion and perseverance from students and staff as we begin the 2016-2017 school year.  We all of the updating of the building over the summer, we are sending message that Tri-County is a great place to learn and grow.  I want to thank all the students, families, and staff for their support and dedication."

New faces include three new board members that were were sworn in during the August 31 board meeting. The board meeting started off with a work session with Harry Heiligenthal from IASB.  During this work session, members of the board were provided an outline of their rights and responsibilities as board members as well as provided a time to ask any questions about their role on the board.  Harry presented a lot of useful information and Dennis Phelps plans on having him return to do another work session in the future.

The board entered regular session at 6:30pm, with approving the minutes from the June meeting as well as the special election results. A financial report and list of bills was approved.  Wade Maxwells resignation from assistant softball and basketball coach and the hiring of Dan Meyer as head maintenance as well as Kylie Davis and Melissa Roorda as special education associate.  Sydney Davis and aaron Coghlas were both approved for coaching positions as well.  

During the superintendent report, Dennis Phelps and Dan Meyer were able to discuss the updates done to the building over the summer including the kitchen flooring, painting throughout the junior and senior high as well as update to the band room.  The board commented about how nice the building is looking.  

Principal Clay Harrold was able to report that he is looking in to options for a new program with incentives and modeling behaviors for the students of Tri-County.  He reports that there have already been several instances on the buses.  He also reported that he has been involved with a lot of networking with other schools to see what is working and not working in other districts.

The board approved a raise for bus driver physical reimbursements to cover up to $120.00.   These physicals are required every two years and the board felt that with it being so hard to fill positions as drivers, this increase in incentive would at least help in the initial costs.

In new business the elementary lunch prices will be raising five cents per meal, per state funding regulations.  The high school rate will remain the same.  Mr. Phelps will be looking in to getting quotes on the replacement of the key fob security system.  The system the school currently uses is outdated.  These quotes will be presented at a future board meeting.  

The board approved the hiring of conditional employee Jennifer Eubanks as first grade teacher.  Due to the raise in numbers, Tri County had a first grade count of thirty and the district felt that this was a large number of students to have in one classroom especially with the number of special education requirements needed as well.  Eubanks is working on receiving her special education conditional license.  The option remains open for utilizing Jennifer in the special education department as well as her current duties. This may not be an option this school year, but Tri County is exploring options to fit student learning needs along with meeting financial goals for the 2016-2017 school year. 

The board also approved the modification of June Williams contract from reading associate to part time secretary/ reading associate.  This position would include a raise from $10.18 to $10.90 and would include paid holidays as well as professional days being added to her contract.   Gina Garber asked how this change in position would change the services provided to students and Mr. Phelps explained that they are still working the kinks out to this arrangement.  The board voted that this position would have a ninety day trial period at which time the contract will be reevaluated to see if the arrangement is working and benefiting all included.

The board denied a late file open enrollment request based with the reasoning that the request was made past deadline.  The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be held on September 19.