The Clarion-Goldfield School Board voted at its Feb. 10 meeting to become a member of the newly-formed Rural Student Advocates of Iowa, which held its first organizational meeting Jan. 18. Dr. Robert Olson, district superintendent, is chair of the group and representative for northwestern Iowa. According to Olson, the group was formed to advocate for “issues that are specific to rural schools” not addressed by the state’s general advocacy organization, the Iowa Association of School Boards. “There is another group that represents large schools, the Urban Education Network,” he noted.
According to Olson, districts with enrollment of 1,250 students or less are eligible to join. Following the merger, the Clarion-Goldfield-Dows district will have an estimated 935 students. It will be the seventh-largest district in the state geographically, covering 350 square miles. Among the issues Olson cited as being specific to rural schools included per student transport costs, related to another issue which has challenged the district lately: a school bus driver shortage.
“We’re looking for everyone who wants to drive a bus,” said Clint Middleton, school board president.
“Coaches, teachers, support staff, farmers, business owners, folks coming in before or after their shifts…” elaborated Dr. Olson.
To encourage a larger driver pool, Clarion-Goldfield and Eagle Grove districts will pay for classes through Iowa Central Community College to help drivers seeking licensure pass the written and driving tests for an Iowa Commercial Driver’s License with endorsements for school busses and passengers.
The School Board also:
- Passed a measure to allow outgoing seniors an option to purchase the MacBook Air laptops they were issued last fall as part of the district’s one laptop per student plan. The computers have a market value of around $800 each. The Board will proceed to assessing the value and licenses of software that may be included.
For the complete story, see the Feb 13 issue of the Wright County Monitor.