Christensen attends final Greene County school board meeting
By Rick Morain
Greene County Community School Superintendent Tim Christensen at his final Greene County School Board meeting June 15 thanked the board for the last 15 years with the district. He said he would miss the people he worked with the most. Christensen’s stint with the district will end June 30.
On behalf of the board, board member Bonnie Silbaugh expressed gratitude for Christensen’s 15 years and noted his many accomplishments, including the merger of the Jefferson-Scranton and East Greene districts and several construction projects. Board President Steve Fisher also stated his appreciation for Christensen.
The board acted on a number of staff changes, as follows:
• Hirings: Tammy Brophy as middle school leader for the multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) for struggling students, Tyler Lowmiller as an elementary special education associate, Chris Nelson as assistant varsity basketball coach (stipend for 21-22), Kevin Paulsen and Matthew Paulsen each as halftime middle school baseball coaches, Samantha Bergemann as a pre-kindergarten associate, and Jaisa Heath as a food service cook.
• Contract changes: Bryce Hoyle from shared assistant coach to head middle school wrestling coach, Chris Conner from head to shared assistant middle school wrestling coach, Heather Patrick from pre-kindergarten to elementary special education associate, and Sarah Ratliff from elementary special education to pre-kindergarten associate.
• On recommendation from Superintendent Christensen, the board approved hiring an assistant FFA sponsor. Christensen explained the need for the position and recommended a pay rate consistent with assistant coaching – eight units on the extracurricular pay scale.
Due to the current inability to hire a replacement for K-12 media specialist Jenny Fisher, the board approved entering into a sharing agreement with Prairie Lakes Area Education Association for teacher librarian services for 2022-23. Monthly Zoom meetings will be held with library staff, and quarterly onsite visits will take place. Cost of the agreement is $2,800 annually, with additional services at $450 per day. Christensen recommended approval.
School driving permits were approved for three students: Teagan Chisholm, Broc Stream, and Nathan Towers. Board member Silbaugh asked each student to explain why they need the permit, and then explained rules and laws governing the permits.
The board voted to move the district’s management fund account to Heartland Bank beginning July 1. The bank agreed to the same services provided now by Peoples Bank and Home State Bank at no cost to the district. Board business manager Brenda Muir reviewed the present bank accounts and recommended moving the management fund account to Heartland.
The board also discussed property and casualty insurance services. EMC Insurance handles the insurance with Unger Insurance as the current agent. Requests for proposal were sent out, with Mid-Iowa Insurance and Unger Insurance responding. Christensen recommended continuing the relationship with Unger as the local agent, and the board agreed.
The first reading of a revision the board’s policy on certified employee contract release was approved. The revision would strike the phrase “may be required to pay for expenses incurred to locate and hire a suitable replacement” and replace it with “will be required to pay $1,000 for employee related time/expense associated with finding a suitable replacement.”
A revision to the board’s policy for long-term substitute teachers’ B.A. base per diem pay after 10 consecutive days in the same position was approved. The policy previously increased the substitute rate after 15 consecutive days. Approval followed the second reading of the policy.
Christensen reported that a few people had expressed interest in having the student construction program build a home for them, but no one had committed to the project. Christensen said he could not recommend moving forward with a new house construction without a purchase commitment. Smaller projects were mentioned which would give students a variety of construction experience. No action was taken.
Christensen announced that the district is part of a consortium, with the Cherokee school district as fiscal agent, receiving a teacher/paraprofessional apprenticeship grant.
Members of the district’s administrative team presented their monthly reports. Technology director Brent Gerzema thanked Christensen for his support since Gerzema was hired three years ago, noting the many challenges faced during that time.
Thank you notes were received from school scholarship recipients.