Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

April 27, 2017 Featured - Kalona - Plans solidify for Mid-Prairie elementary schools
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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WELLMAN -- The Mid-Prairie Community School District is moving quickly to solidify plans for realigning the elementary schools in Kalona and Wellman.

One of the first steps will be renaming the schools.

Superintendent Mark Schneider told the school board Monday night that district administrators favor Mid-Prairie Lower Elementary School for Kalona and Mid-Prairie Upper Elementary School for the Wellman site.

Schneider said those names correspond to the grades that will attend the schools. In Kalona it will be first and second grade students; in Wellman it will be third and fourth grade students.

Both schools will have kindergarten and preschool classes.

At least one school board member was uncomfortable with the naming convention.

Jim Hussey said his initial reaction was “a negative connotation” when he heard the name Lower Elementary School for Kalona.

“The lower thing rubs me the wrong way,” Hussey said.

The board did not make a decision on the names and may not vote on the decision. School board President Jeremy Pickard said naming the schools might be an operational issue -- not a policy issue -- that the school board should leave to administrators.

Schneider quickly shot down one idea -- letting elementary students pick the name of the schools. The superintendent said he wanted fast action on the issue.

“I think the quicker we get back to normal, the better,” he said.

Schneider has pushed for new names for the schools so that the students, parents and staff at each school identify with the school district rather than with the city where the school is located.

The school board voted April 10 to realign attendance areas for students in the district. The elementary school in Kalona will house first and second graders, the Wellman school will house third and fourth graders. Fifth graders will move to the middle school. The home school program will move to the Washington Township school.

Kindergarteners and preschool students will be split between Kalona and Wellman.

Schneider said that teacher assignments have been made, and administrators are working on deciding where support staff will work.

Preschool students will stay within the school buildings. The district will have two preschool classrooms in each building.

The district will send out request for proposals to provide before and after school day care for students in the school buildings.

“Because we already have a program in Wellman, this will be for Kalona,” Schneider said.

Another big issue is transportation and shuttling students between Kalona and Wellman. One option would be having transfer spots where students can change from one bus to another. Schneider said he hopes to have transportation figured out at least 95 percent before the next board meeting.

He said that one change he anticipates is canceling school during inclement weather more often with more students riding buses to school.

Administrators have mapped out a moving schedule that will begin as soon as school is out on June 1 and be completed by July 18.

Proctor and Gamble is donating boxes for the district to use in the move, which will make packing easier with a uniformity in box sizes.

Teachers will be paid an extra day to pack their classrooms and a second extra day for unpacking.

Schneider said a big expense will be providing recess equipment at the middle school for fifth and sixth graders.

School board President Jeremy Pickard thanked administrators for their work.

“I think you guys made a lot of progress in a short amount of time,” he said.

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