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ELC board discusses wind turbine  

With a five-figure bill for monthly utilities, would a wind turbine make sense for the Estherville Lincoln Community School District?

Board member Karen Butler thinks so.

Butler broached the subject of the district investing in a wind turbine during the regular school board meeting Monday.

“I think it’s mandatory anymore because of our five figures every month,” Butler said, noting that both Iowa Lakes Community College and the Spirit Lake Community School District have turbines to offset their utility costs. Iowa Lakes sells excess energy to the City of Estherville.

Butler said the district had the advantage of having the Iowa Lakes wind turbine program on its doorstep.

“Here we sit in the hub of the instruction,” Butler said. “We could have a nice deal, I think. I’m willing to go to work to find a grant. I’m all for going after that.”

The board agreed to allow Butler to pursue any funding possibilities for a turbine for the district.

In other business Monday, during a public hearing the board rejected bids for the remaining four lots at the Lincoln site in lieu of considering a proposal by Excel! Estherville that the property be used for a city park. Superintendent Dick Magnuson said another concern for the district was that there was no other location for a bus stop in the area. While the former Lincoln School has been razed, the property has continued to be a pickup point for students for the school bus.

“The fact is that we need a bus stop in the area,” Magnuson said. He suggested that the district could collaborate with Excel! Estherville to have both a park and bus stop. “I think the board needs to strongly consider using the property for a park and a bus stop,” Magnuson said.

The board agreed to reject the bids and continue discussions on use of the property with Excel! Estherville.

The board also rejected bids for houses the district owns. The board had received bids for properties on 1515 Third Ave. S. and 1421 Third Ave. S.

Magnuson recommended the bids be rejected and that the board set a minimum bid that would help cover basement demolition costs once the houses were removed, and the board approved.

The board approved a bid of $97,487.80 from Cohrs Construction of Spirit Lake for construction of the practice football fields south of Seventh Avenue South.

“This is something that’s needed not only by the community but the school,” Magnuson said. He said money for the project could come from the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy and sales tax. “This helps the board realize their vision of having the fields,” Magnuson said.

The project completion date is slated for Sept. 30. However, the fields would not be used until August 2009 to allow time for turf grass to develop.

The board also approved changes to student handbooks. Principals were on hand to explain the changes.

Project manager Roger Gilbert reviewed progress on the school construction project. Gilbert said during a July 10 walk-through “most everything was in pretty good shape.”

The board agreed to adopt new math textbooks for grades 3-12 at a cost of $67,748.

Magnuson said high diesel costs could be making a significant impact on the district. He noted a sharp rise from the 2006-07 school year to last year when diesel averaged $3.54 a gallon. Those costs rose from $43,000 in 2006-07 to $58,200 last year.

“That’s something we have to pay close attention to because of fuel cost,” Magnuson said. He said the district may have to curtail travel as much as possible.

The board approved a resolution for PPEL capital loan notes. Magnuson said there was a chance the money could be used to pay for geothermal wells at the new school. To consider that concept would require the resolution, he said.

The board approved a memorandum of agreement between the district and the ELC Education Association to follow the state plan for the 402B annuity program.

The board approved purchase of a school bus from School Bus Sales of Waterloo for $68,453.

Also approved was a free and reduced price policy statement to participate in the Federal Nutrition Program.

The board also approved the following legislative priorities:

n Six percent allowable growth rate.

n Finance-funding formula that adequately funds changes in demographics.

n Full funding of the Iowa Professional Development Model.

n Rigorous content standards development.

n Collective bargaining changes based on local consideration and ability to pay.

Approved the following board appointments:

n Kate Woods as board secretary and treasurer.

n Fitzgibbons law firm as legal counsel.

n Karla Lester, Sandy Fandel and Eric Milburn as level 1 and 2 investigators.

n Depositories and limits as set by Woods.

n The Estherville Daily News as the district official newspaper.

The board approved a permanent utility easement to the City of Estherville for providing water service to the new practice football field.

Magnuson touched on future maintenance issues including updating and improving high school locker rooms, tuckpointing at the high school, repair of the Demoney roof and deciding what to do with the McKinley building. Magnuson clarified that previous comments he made to the Estherville Rotary last Thursday that the McKinley building could be used as a preschool/daycare referred to any private preschool/daycare that might be interested in the building, not the Estherville Preschool and Daycare.

Board member Mike Karels asked about the possibility of changing the mascot name from the Midgets. Board member Nancy Anderson said the issue had come up a few years ago and all parties including students, staff and parents elected to keep the Midgets as their mascot.

Magnuson suggested that the issue could be referred to the high school booster club for its opinion.

Plans for next month’s meeting include policy review, the 403b state plan agreement and a student achievement update.

By Michael Tidemann – Staff Writer

Estherville Daily News

15 July 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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