The PCM Community School District Board of Education approved several payouts Monday for the district-wide renovation project, but one had a particular modern flair.
The board approved 7-0 the purchase of new furniture for the PCM Middle School Media Center. The layout for the center’s new digs was the idea of middle school principal Blake Kielman.
The furniture reflects new methods of collaborative corporate learning with a mixture of high-top tables and chairs, verb tables with access to power ports for computer charging, and Flock Modular cloth seating with footstools for small group learning. New book shelving was also included.
The cost for the new furniture is $23,353, not including shipping, and will be put in placed after media center reconstruction is complete. District superintendent Brad Jermeland said PCM administrators worked together to reduce the price from the initial estimates of roughly $36,000.
Board member Nicole Stafford said she supports the furniture style and concept of framing the media to feel like a “corporate learning opportunity.” But current rules in the center call for a no talking zone, quite study area. She asked Jermeland to discuss changing the media center culture with Kielman if the purchase was approved.
“I like the idea, I just want to make sure we don’t spend all this money to set this environment up and then we squash what were putting all this funding toward,” Stafford said. “Because if we’re not desiring to do that then we need to set it up to look very different.”
Jermeland also gave an overall update on construction. Workers have started removal of Monroe Elementary’s boiler. Staff in Prairie City are preparing to clear out classrooms for primary construction on the PCM Middle School/Prairie City Elementary Campus this summer.
Four mobile storage PODs have arrived on site to store classroom materials. Project Management firm DCI Group reports window replacement is underway at PCE, and all forms are in place at the middle school auditorium for the tiered seating.
Footings on the south side of the “Link” building have been poured, and work continues on the new building’s foundation, which will connect the two schools with an enclosed breezeway and have more classroom space when completed next year.
The board also approved a $54,500 roof repair Monday at PCM High School. Damage over the wrestling room was caused by high winds during a severe weather event earlier this year. The district did file an insurance claim for the damage, and district business manager Tami Thomas said the cost of the repairs — minus a $500 deductible — will be reimbursed by the district’s insurance company.
The work was awarded to Academy Roofing & Sheet Metal Co. of Des Moines.
The board voted 7-0 to continue its food service sharing agreement with Colfax-Mingo Community Schools for the 2017-18 school year.
The agreement states each district will pay half of food service director Kerri Rolling’s compensation package. The districts have shared a food service director since SY 2013-14
The board approved two new sets of curricula for the district; kindergarten through fifth grade social studies material from publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the Spanish I-III curriculum “Autentico” from Pearson Publishing.
Both sets of material were approved 7-0 by the board. The eight-year Spanish text was purchased for $17,215 and the six-year social studies curriculum was approved at a cost of $30,191.
Jermeland said both curriculum satisfied Iowa Department of Education guidelines and came with textbook and online components. The curricula were examined and selected by PCM’s Spanish and k-5 teachers before a recommendation was made to the board.
During a district-wide review of the k-5 social studies material, Jermeland said it quickly became evident Monroe and Prairie City Elementary students are using different programs. The purchase will bring updated materials and continuity to both schools’ social studies programs.
Board member Greg Ingle asked about the political tone of the social studies material, voicing his personal concern about some textbook authors’ “liberal interpretations of history.”
Jermeland, board members Brenda Downey and Stafford said they reviewed the materials and found it to be a traditional k-5 curriculum, including history of the United States’ beginning to the American Civil War for fifth graders, U.S. states, regions and capitals for fourth graders.
“Occasionally on some, it’s probably an outlier, but in social studies some books come up with things that are off the wall where somebody obviously had an agenda rather than telling true history,” Ingle said.
Contact Mike Mendenhall at email@example.com