Knoxville Board rejoins IASB

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The Iowa Association of School Boards logo from its website.

After taking a few years away from membership of the Iowa Association of School Boards, the Knoxville School Board voted Monday night to rejoin at a cost of $5,836 for the year.

Board members weighed the pros and cons of rejoining the private organization prior to the vote. The board had withdrawn the district from membership due to some of IASB’s business practices, including salary levels and allowing specific vendors to use the organization’s name in exchange for significant amounts of money. Much of the firm’s revenue comes from taxpayers.

Overall, the board believes that membership benefits outweighed these concerns. This is especially true for them, due to new challenges and mandates from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the ongoing legislative session. The board approved membership 4-1, with President Marty Duffy voting against.

Membership in a second advocacy group, Rural School Advocates of Iowa, was renewed for $750. This organization advocates for rural schools at the State and Federal levels of government.

The board also approved an agreement with Iowa Schools Finance Information Service, or ISFIS, for $3,321.20 for the year. This group specifically offers financial advice and assistance. Business Manager Craig Mobley said he utilizes the firm often.

Prior to approving a contract with Morris Tree Service, in the amount of $9,800, the board broke into a discussion about honoring those who have made donations to the school. The discussion was sparked because Morris will remove 39 dead/dying ash trees near the baseball and softball fields, likely after the summer sports season.

Some trees have been donated, but not all of them have plaques to identify donors. Superintendent Cassi Pearson said a complete list of donors has not been located. While the board would like to create a mural or plaque recognizing the donors, Pearson would prefer this happen only if the list is complete to avoid offending anyone. The board and staff will explore this further.

Trees donated to the district, that were damaged or died, cannot be replaced using district funds.

The board’s next meeting is set for Monday, June 22, at 5:30 p.m.