ARMSTRONG?- The Armstrong-Ringsted Board of Education Monday night approved two proposals for senior trips - one for former North Sentral Kossuth students and the other for former Armstrong-Ringsted students.
The reason for the two separate trips is that A-R students have accumulated a larger amount in their account, and rather than pooling all their resources, the class decided to have two trips. One former NSK student has chosen to make the trip with the former A-R students.
Megan Runksmeier and Jerry Clark made the proposal for the former NSK students' trip to the Wisconsin Dells May 1-5. The trip will include the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum, Wizard Quest, Tommy Bartlett's Museum, a Russian space station, a 4-D movie and other activities.
Paige Taylor, class president, laid out the proposal for the May 20-24 post-graduation trip to Florida, including 23 students and four chaperones.
The trip would include the EPCOT Center World Showcase Display, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and Universal Studios.
Both Runksmeier and Clark and Taylor noted the educational benefits of both trips.
In reviewing the senior's proposals, superintendent Matt Berninghaus noted students had worked within parameters he and assistant principal Robert Zotz had set, so he recommended approval of the trips as presented.
Jim Boyer, board president, thanked the seniors for their presentation and reminded the seniors that they would be representing not just their class but North Union High School and the community.
The board approved both trips.
In his activities report, Zotz said four North Union students were represented at the Dorian Honor Choir at Luther College in Decorah. He also noted 30 students took part in the Iowa Lakes Community College show choir competition last week.
Zotz also noted 14 students had participated in conference honor band and he also noted the success of the Pink Out Night fundraiser, with $3,635 raised to fight breast cancer. Zotz said 12 students had also qualified to go to state for large group speech competition, with Jon Larsen as coach.
Zotz also reviewed athletic events and staff professional development.
Asbestos removal begins at Ringsted building
Regarding the Ringsted building, Berninghaus said the deed had been conveyed to Mike Sjoblom last Friday and that the asbestos abatement project, started this last Monday, will cost $46,000 - far under the $70,000 to $100,000 estimate. He said the district will pay for the project with cash and try to get authority back from the physical plant and equipment levy to cover the cost of abatement.
Berninghaus also said the district had gone from taking three to two shuttle busses to Sentral, saving the district $12,000 yearly.
Regarding the annual progress report, Berninghaus noted that after reviewing data from 2009-2012 in grades three through eight and 11, there's a need to improve reading at those levels.
In an update on plans for reorganizing with Sentral, Berninghaus said 316 signatures were needed in the A-R district and 335 had been obtained, for an extra 19. He noted that Sentral had exceeded its minimum number of signatures as well. Berninghaus and Sentral superintendent Art Pixler will get together to jointly file the petitions.
Berninghaus said plans had been to file the petitions the week of Jan. 21 if there is to be a vote either June or September. When board member Jen Von Bank questioned having a special election in June and having added cost instead of going the regular time in September, board president Jim Boyer said having the election in September would require working out a new whole-grade sharing agreement with North Kossuth.
Berninghaus said he would clarify with attorney Rick Engel, who is handling the reorganization for both A-R and Sentral, about the timeline for both June and September elections.
Board secretary Erin Rogers said May 10 is the deadline for notifying the county auditor for a June vote.
In other action items, the board approved the FFA soil judging trip for five students and their advisor to Oklahoma City April 28 to May 3.
The board also approved a quote by Center Stage Manufacturing Company for replacing gym stage curtains for $29,459.50. The bid includes replacing tracking and green, silver and black curtains on the front, middle and back of the stage.
The board accepted the resignation of Mark Larsen as bus route and shuttle driver and agreed to hire Jason Radunz as route driver.
At the Feb. 25 meeting, the board will set the time for the March budget hearing and act on the 2013-14 school calendar. The meeting will start at 6 p.m.