Community fundraising reaches $56,000
By Jane Myhra
A progress report on the community-funded tennis court project was presented to the Iola-Scandinavia School Board at its Oct. 10 meeting.
Two years ago, the Iola-Scandinavia Tennis Association group proposed funding the construction of two tennis courts in the empty area adjacent to the high school parking lot. Rocks were removed and the area was leveled in preparation for construction.
At last month’s meeting, the school board questioned why there has been no further progress.
The project is ready to move forward, reported Keith Williams, co-chair of the I-S Tennis Association.
He said the funding was solidified when a second organization committed its support to the project at the I-S Tennis Association group’s Oct. 6 meeting.
According to Williams, the group has raised about $56,000 of the estimated construction cost of $75,000 to $80,000.
“We are confident of our ability to have the funds available for the construction (of two tennis courts) by spring,” he said.
Prior to winter, a contractor will grade and level the area.
“We want to make it look nice,” Williams said.
He said the local association also plans to raise at least $20,000 to provide a reserve fund for maintenance of the tennis courts. He said a maintenance schedule will be provided to the school district within 60 days.
Williams asked if the school district plans to construct a sidewalk on the north end of the property extending from the tennis courts to Main Street.
“Currently that is not in the budget, nor is it in our five-year plan,” said Board President Kristen Hoyord. “It needs to be very clear that the district is not paying anything for the tennis courts or for a sidewalk.”
District Administrator David Dyb said the only way the school district could help with funding a sidewalk is to work with the village of Iola in applying for a Safe Routes to School federal grant.
The board approved cleanup of the property and the posting of a sign stating the project is funded by the I-S Tennis Association.
Bus driver Betty Jones received the Star Award for her 40 years of service to the I-S School District. She was nominated for the award by Transportation Director Gary Trzebiatowski, her supervisor for the past four years.
“Betty has always been available to drive and has done her best at every turn. She has driven school bus, full- and part-time routes, taken countless sporting events and field trips, and she works as a substitute dishwasher in the school kitchens,” Trzebiatowski said. “Betty always tries to walk around with a smile on her face even when she is not having a great day.”
Jones recently announced she is semi-retiring from bus driving. She will be available as a substitute driver for the car and the suburbans, but will no longer take routes or trips in a bus.
“Betty has put on a lot of miles and she will be missed by coaches, staff and families in the community,” Trzebiatowski said.
In other business, Travis Bassett reported on the new teacher inservice held Sept. 21. He expressed appreciation to the board for supporting the collaboration between staff members.
“Mentors and the new teachers had a whole day to work,” Bassett said. “It will in the long-term have a very positive effect.”
Participating in the inservice day were 11 new teachers and their mentors – Terrell Bonnell, Chelsea Liesch, Tamela McCartney, Mark Wester, Amy Wiersma and Bassett.
Upcoming meetings include a special board meeting at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, to approve the district’s 2016-17 tax levy.
The board will also meet at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, to await election results. This will be an open meeting held in the multi-purpose room of the I-S Elementary School.