The newly elected members of the Union Community Schools Board of Directors were given the oath of office as they officially began their duties with an organizational meeting on September 25. The School district’s voters elected incumbents Kevin Sash and Darrell DeWinter, along with newcomers Kristi Martin and Brandon Paine on September 12.

Following a regular meeting where Superintendent Travis Fleshner thanked outgoing board members Joe Connolly and Brian Weber for their service to the district, Sash, DeWinter and Paine were sworn-in by Board Secretary Kathy Krug. Martin, who was absent, had already taken the oath of office on September 22.

The first meeting of the school board following an election is filled with many organizational tasks- the election of officers being one of them- as the Board chose Kevin Sash to serve as President and Corey Lorenzen as Vice President. As part of their duties, school board members serve on a variety of other boards and councils. Last week’s organizational meeting doled out the assignments for which board members will serve on each of the school’s site councils,  the District Leadership Team, the Benton, Black Hawk and Tama County Conference Boards, the district’s Negotiations Team, the IASB Delegate Assembly, the Dysart Community Foundation and the ELL Committee. 

Superintendent Fleshner reported to the Board that after meeting with the architect and mechanical engineer, some revisions will be made to the capital project plan that will be brought to the Board at a later date. Facility updates include the completion of the resurfacing of the tennis courts and basketball court at the high school. The lighting project for these areas is also now complete. The repaving of the parking area at Union Middle School has also been completed. Work continues on the installation of LED lighting in select portions of Union High School. The switch to LED lighting offers the benefits of  improved  environmental lighting and lower ongoing operational costs, as the new lights use a fraction of the energy needed to power those being replaced. In the area of technology, he also reported that Chromebooks for each student are now in grades 4th-12th.

In other business, the Board discussed possible changes to its Early Retirement Policy that could add an insurance option for retirees. The option, if approved by IPERS, would allow retiring employees to leave their retirement benefit  with the school to be used to pay for their health insurance coverage through the school, rather than having it divided into two payments and having taxes taken out. The current early retirement policy is in its final year, as written. The board consensus was to make the additional option available this year, if possible.