M-P board names Cook negotiator, delays maintenance director contract

By News Dept.
Posted 10/14/99

By a split 3-2 vote Monday evening, October 11, the M-P board voted to again appoint Superintendent Gordon Cook as chief negotiator for contracts to certified and support staff of the …

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M-P board names Cook negotiator, delays maintenance director contract


By a split 3-2 vote Monday evening, October 11, the M-P board voted to again appoint Superintendent Gordon Cook as chief negotiator for contracts to certified and support staff of the district.

Board member Jim Hussey made a motion to appoint Cook, but Elizabeth Curl interjected that she would like the district to consider hiring an outside negotiator. She noted that Cook already has too much to do, especially if the board expects him to prepare for an Instruction Support and PPEL vote.

Perry Hess also suggested hiring an outside negotiator in order to get some new ideas into the negotiating process. Jim Hussey had suggested utilizing an incentive program.

Dillon questioned how those supporting an outside negotiator would finance the additional costs. No one knew how much. Considering the district’s shortage of funds, Dillon asked for a motion directing Cook to be the chief negotiator. Hussey who said he has had experience on both sides of the negotiation table, volunteered to assist Cook in the negotiations. Curl and Hess voted no. Hussey and Julie Miller voted for approval and Dillon voted yes to break the deadlock.

Maintenance director

On a motion by Perry Hess, the board voted to continue the maintenance director under last year’s contract until a new committee can develop a job description and criteria for a contract and pay.

Supt. Cook cautioned if the committee is a board committee, the open meetings law would have to be observed, but if it’s a superintendent’s committee, open meetings will not have to be held. The board made it a superintendent’s committee with committee members to be named later.

Curl said she could support naming another committee if it would examine the recommendations made by a previous committee.


Following the regular meeting, the board went into closed session for evaluation of the superintendent.

Earlier in the meeting the board withdrew its board policy approval on superintendent performance evaluation. Curl asked reconsideration for of the policy so that it could include “evaluation that can be measurable.” She said the proposal, as written, didn’t lend itself to measurement. Dillon said the policy would be sent back to committee.

The board did approve the second reading on a policy on Licensed Employee qualifications, recruitment and selection.

Other action

In other action, the board:

•approved application of $158,210 ($118,658 allowable growth and $39,552 local budget share) for the district’s program for at-risk students. Valli A. Kempf explained the program that helps keep students at risk of dropping out to stay in school.

She said M-P is continuing to attempt to address the problem of both the potential and dropout population through prevention as well as curative techniques.

•authorized Supt. Cook to request an early start to the 2000-2001 school year. Projected starting date would be August 23. Curl expressed concern that the early start might conflict with the Iowa State Fair. Cook assured her that a committee would thoroughly look into conflicting dates, but noted unless an early start was requested now, school would have to start after Labor Day.

•approved hiring Bill Watkinson as 7th grade girls basketball coach, a post formerly held by Tim Sauer.

•approved district-wide science curriculum guide. Middle School Principal Becky Furlong pointed out that the policy was over a year in the developing. She said the 7-year curriculum plan was excellent and she especially liked the process in developing the plan.

•approved a leave of absence for Middle School teacher Christopher Soldat to allow him to apply for another Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program appointment. If he is selected, he would change places with a teacher from another country for one school year as he did several years ago when he taught in Finland.

•reviewed report by Business Manager Doug Slabaugh on the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL). Maximum levy can be $317,890. Expenses paid in the past includes $296,939 for roof repair, $250,000 for other building improvements, $480,958 for school buses and other vehicles, $61,128 on technology, $8,710 on desks.

•named Elizabeth Curl and Tracy Anderson to be delegates to the Iowa School Board Delegate Assembly.

•agreed that Jack Dillon would attend the President Leadership Conference in Des Moines, October 16.

•noted ABEL board member orientation in Cedar Rapids Oct. 13 and Fairfield October 26.

•received a report from Cook that Kay Graber had developed a communications plan from promoting future levy votes. He noted this would be similar to the plan used to promote the high school addition vote several years ago.