Board split over sponsors
Closed-door debate that consumed more than half of Monday night’s meeting of the Marion-Florence school board resulted in a unexplained split vote on a slate of 68 coaches and activity sponsors for the coming school year.
No displeasure with any of the proposed assignments was voiced during the 23 minutes in which the board met in public.
However, after meeting for an extended 35 minutes behind closed doors, board members Chris Sprowls and Tim Young emerged to vote against the list of sponsors and coaches, which had been circulated in advance.
All other votes at what otherwise was a routine meeting at the start of the fiscal year were unanimous. Outgoing president Jeremiah Lange was absent.
Another of the three items that board members said they would discuss behind closed doors, all under the guise of personnel performance evaluation, was pay for lifeguards.
After the secret session, which under state law cannot be used to set overall pay scales, the board unanimously voted to raise all lifeguard salaries 25 cents an hour.
It also voted unanimously on a matter that had nothing to do with personnel — allowing students Austin and Andrew Ebaben to transfer from Centre to Marion schools for the coming year.
Before the secret session — originally intended to last just 25 minutes — Nick Kraus was selected president for the coming year. Jan Helmer will continue as vice president.
FFA president Carley Stapleford and officers Antone Vinduska, Cassie Meyer, Austin Neufeld, Devin Soyez, and Shelby Cairns successfully presented their case for attending an annual Colorado retreat. The board will reimburse sponsor Mark Meyer’s gasoline expenses.
An old bus and mower were declared surplus and will be auctioned online. An iron-working machine also was declared surplus; it will be sold to a buyer who was said to be willing to pay market price for it.
Twenty-five other routine start-of-year items were dispatched in a series of five unanimous votes.
The meeting was Aaron Homberg’s first as superintendent.
“The first week has been wonderful,” Homburg said. “You guys have a great district, and I’ve got to meet a lot of great people.”
Homburg, previously superintendent of the Paradise-Natoma-Waldo district, said it would be an adjustment “coming from a town of 350 people to a town where I have 500 kids in school” and also “coming from a district where I was the only guy.”
Pool slide in limbo
Homberg reported that school officials had paid a $50 fee to register as an amusement ride owner, then $10 “for something else,” to try to comply with a new state law regulating such things as the Sports and Aquatic Center water slide.
However, he expected no quick action getting the slide back in service.
“We have begun the process,” he said, but he noted that after paying fees, all regulated slides in the state must be inspected by one of only two inspectors, one of whom is based in Texas. “I’m sure they’re inundated with voice mails.”
Kraus asked how far the pool’s slide was over the 15-foot height limit that requires inspection.
“Is it 16 feet? We can cut foot off of that,” he joked.