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BC board approved review on legal counsel, hears of building progress

By JIM MAGDEFRAU

ATKINS – A policy spelling out how the school hires and works with legal counsel was approved at the Benton Community Board of Directors.

This was one of several policies approved by the board at their meeting last Wednesday night in Atkins.

The revision to the current policy is that the board president shall not exceed five hours of legal consultation (which amounts to $1,000) during a year without approval by the majority of the board.

It is also the responsibility of the board president and counsel to monitor and account for expenditures and limitations.

Dan Voss, Atkins director and new board president, suggested the revision, after getting input from several people.

Brenda Schanbacher, Newhall director and former board president, felt the limit should be more than five hours, pointing to counsel she had to deal with in a matter with the state ombudsman. “Five hours is not very much time in a fiscal year in just doing things a school board member has to do,” she said.

Voss said he felt comfortable in trying this, and if it doesn’t work out, they can change it later. He stressed this is the board’s attorney.

“What if a child is in danger and you need more than five hours?” Schanbacher asked. She stressed to Voss that she didn’t want to tie the president’s hands in having to make decisions.

Pat Stepanek, Atkins director, pointed out the school has a free resource with the Iowa Association of School Boards.

Policies were also approved on order of meeting, which dealt with how to get on an agenda. They were approved on a voice vote.

Buildings

A change order was approved for the Atkins Elementary project, allowing contractors to put in a new sewer line. This ends the contingency fund and adds $2,617 to the contract. Steve Somsky of Neumann-Monson said to expect more change orders dealing with petroleum in the soil, tile work and storm sewer work.

Once they get out of the ground and into the building, they will have a better handle on what needs to be done, Somsky said.

Part of the problem comes from things not being mapped, such as elevations and tile, on the school grounds.

Schanbacher felt a lot of expense was coming from change orders as the result of work done on the grounds in the past, such as new restrooms and concession stands. She questioned who has the authority to dig and put things in without maps of what has been done on the grounds.

Business manager Doug Embray pointed out the school allows communities to use their ball diamonds. Community groups in turn make improvements to the grounds, which makes the school’s facilities better.

Somsky said they are looking to being done by next August, and moving from the old part of the school into the new part by January.

Work will also be done by the holiday break at the Keystone center.

Other business

In other business at the board meeting last week in Atkins:

- Administrative reports were given on PTA work, professional development, fitness, transportation, activities and special education.

- Information was given on the Iowa Youth Survey.

- Kirk Manchester was approved as driver education teacher, and Katie Thomsen was approved as a volunteer girls’ basketball coach.

UPDATED October 28, 2009 10:22 AM

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