School forest issues highlighted the Dec. 13 meeting of the Iola-Scandinavia School Board.
“What we thought was a school forest is not a school forest,” announced district Administrator Joe Price.
It was recently determined that the school district does not own the school forest property located south of Iola along State Highway 49. Rather, the district owns a portion of the residential land and residence adjacent to the forest.
The error occurred when the property was donated to the school several decades ago. The mistake was discovered by teachers who attended a recent seminar on school forests.
The problem can be remedied with a simple exchange of property.
In other action, the school board designated the southeastern corner of the main school property as a school forest for educational purposes. This includes T-Bird Hill and the prairie project area.
The district will apply for a $6,000 planning grant and eventually for up to $30,000 in school forest grants.
“We have an enthusiastic group of teachers working on this project,” Price stated.
In other business, the board heard the first reading pertaining to a change in the open enrollment policy. Added will be a clause allowing the district to prohibit habitually truant open enrollment students from attending.
“If we don’t put it into our policy, then we can’t exercise it,” Price explained.
The board approved an adjustment to the 2010-11 adopted budget, adding $7,000 to the co-curricular budget. According to financial director Jon Novak, the amount was apparently “hidden” by the district’s software program and discovered when the budget was submitted to the state.
A contract was approved for Joe Opperman as middle school girls basketball coach.
A public hearing will be held during the board’s Jan. 10 meeting to receive public input on allowing a cell tower on school property. Element Mobile has asked permission to erect a cell tower on the northeast corner of the football field property. The company is requesting to lease a 100-foot by 100-foot space and an access road at a cost of $4,000 per year.